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Cheese Up Your Life The Winning Recipes


Clodagh McKenna

Derval O’Rourke

Vanessa Greenwood

Cheese Up Your Life The Winning Recipes The National Dairy Council invited food enthusiasts and culinary students to enter a unique cheese recipe competition to celebrate one of the most natural, delicious and versatile ingredients – European cheese. We are delighted to present, in this booklet, the recipes from the six successful finalists which were selected by our judging team; Irish chef and author Clodagh McKenna, Irish Olympian and food author Derval O’Rourke and Vanessa Greenwood of Cooks Academy, Dublin. The six finalists took part in a Cook Off in Dublin where the two winners, Róisín Gallagher, Dublin and Hanna Mathe, Waterford, were announced. We hope you enjoy cooking and tasting these recipes as much as our judges did.

Happy Cooking from the NDC!

Cheesy Fish Smokies Created by Gráinne and Shauna Moggan, Dublin


Röstis of potato, fish, carrot, celery and Comté served with roasted vine tomatoes and dill crème fraîche.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.

Prep Time: 15 mins Total Time: 60 mins Servings: 6


2. Grate the potatoes, carrots and celery. 3. Place the mixture between two clean tea towels and roll to squeeze out the moisture. Then transfer mix to a bowl.

500g fish pie mix (salmon, white fish and smoked fish)

4. Grate the cheese and roughly chop all of the fish. Add both to the vegetable mix.

4 sticks celery

5. Season well with salt and pepper.

4 medium carrots

6. Add 4 tbsps of olive oil and shape the mix into flat patties, about 6 inches in diameter. You should have approx 12 patties in total.

4 medium potatoes 150g Comté cheese 150g crème fraîche punnet of vine tomatoes (vine still attached) handful of fresh dill salt and pepper (to taste)

7. Place patties on lined baking trays and pop into oven for 45 mins or until golden and crispy around the edges. 8. Add the vine tomatoes to the tray for the last 15 mins. 9. Stack two röstis on a plate with a side of tomatoes and top with crème fraîche and a sprinkle of fresh dill.

Cauliflower, Cheddar & Walnut Tart Created by Elke O’Mahony, Cork A light cauliflower tart with walnut pastry and delicious mature Hegarty cheddar. Perfect as a starter. Prep Time: 20 mins (not including chilling time for pastry)

Total Time: 50 mins Servings: 4

Ingredients: 250g plain flour 50g ground walnuts 150g butter 2 eggs 1–3 tsps water 300g cauliflower (divided into small florets) 100g mature Hegarty cheddar (grated) 100ml cream 1-2 tsps Dijon mustard salt 1 tbsp of roasted walnuts (roughly chopped) to garnish

Method: 1. For the pastry, tip the flour and ground walnuts into a large bowl and add a pinch of the salt. Crumble the butter into the flour and rub in until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add one lightly beaten egg and 1 tsp water. With a knife, cut through the mix to incorporate the egg and water until the mixture comes together. If it looks too dry add a bit more water (but be careful not to add too much). Bring the mix together with your hands until smooth. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 mins. 2. Preheat the oven to 160˚C / gas mark 3. 3. Steam the cauliflower until just tender. Set aside. 4. Line four individual tartlet moulds with the pastry. Divide the grated cheese between the tarts (add the cheese according to taste and leave some for the topping). Arrange the florets of cauliflower on top of the cheese. 5. In a small jug, mix together the cream with the second egg and mustard. Add a pinch of salt. Pour over the cauliflower, making sure not to overflow. 6. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar over the tarts and place in the oven. Bake for about 25-30 mins until the cheese has melted and the pastry is cooked through. 7. Sprinkle the chopped roasted walnuts over the top and serve.

Cheesy Bean Lasagne

2 tbsps fresh coriander juice ½ lime salt and pepper

Created by Róisín Gallagher, Dublin


Extremely tasty and filling dish, perfect for a mid-week meal. Prep Time: 30 mins Total Time: 60 mins Servings: 6-8

Ingredients: For the tomato sauce 1 tbsp rapeseed oil 1 red onion, finely diced 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped 2 red chillies, finely chopped (including seeds) 3 tbsps fresh coriander including stalks, finely chopped 1 tbsp tomato purée 2 (400g) tins chopped tomatoes 1 tsp sugar 100g baby spinach 250ml water freshly ground pepper For the filling 1 (400g) tin red kidney beans, drained 1 (400g) tin butter beans, drained 2 (250g) tins sweetcorn kernels, drained 200g mature Irish cheddar cheese, grated 3 large soft tortilla wraps, cut into quarters For the tomato salsa small punnet of cherry tomatoes, quartered 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tbsp olive oil juice of ½ lime 2 tbsps fresh coriander salt and pepper For the guacamole 2 ripe avocados, mashed 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 red onion, finely chopped

Garnish 50g feta cheese, crumbled fresh coriander pomegranate seeds


Preheat the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6.


To make the tomato sauce, heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic cloves, red onion, pepper and chilli.


Cook gently for 15 mins until soft; then add the chopped coriander stalks and season with black pepper.


Add the tinned tomatoes and baby spinach; allow to simmer gently until the sauce thickens. If the sauce becomes too dry loosen it out with some water.


To make the filling, mix the drained beans and sweetcorn in a bowl. Add most of the grated cheese, reserving some to sprinkle on the top at the end, and mix together.


Start to assemble the lasagne by spreading about a 3rd of the tomato sauce and a 3rd of the bean/cheese mix at the bottom of your ovenproof dish. Then layer on 6 tortilla quarters so that they cover the mixture and overlap slightly.


Add another 3rd of the tomato sauce; a 3rd of the bean/cheese mix and another layer of 6 tortilla quarters.


To finish, add the remaining tomato sauce and bean/cheese mix. Cover with the remaining grated cheese.


Cook in the oven for 30 mins, and let it rest for 10 mins before serving.

10. While, the lasagne is cooking, prepare your tomato salsa and guacamole by combining all of your ingredients. 11. To serve, sprinkle over the crumbled feta cheese, sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and lots of fresh coriander.

Irish Farmhouse Mac & Cheese Created by Kristin Jensen, Louth Mac and cheese, the ultimate crowdpleaser with an Irish twist. Prep Time: 15 mins Total Time: 35 mins Servings: 6

Ingredients: 500g penne or macaroni 50g butter 4 tbsps plain flour 750ml milk 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 1 tsp Dijon mustard freshly ground black pepper 225g 18-month-old Coolea cheese (Gruyère or Comté would also work well), grated 175g Derg, Hegarty’s or Mount Callan Cheddar cheese, grated 100g Cooleeney Brie-style cheese (mild version) or Bellingham Blue cheese, crumbled (for a more robust flavour). For the herb breadcrumb topping 25g butter 150g fresh white breadcrumbs 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4. 2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside. 3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot (one that’s big enough to take all the pasta later on), then add the flour. Whisk it together to form a paste and cook this roux for 2–3 mins over a medium heat, until golden brown. Add in a little milk and whisk to combine, then gradually pour in the rest of the milk, whisking constantly. Simmer until the white sauce is smooth and has thickened slightly, which should take about 5 mins, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t burn. Stir in the thyme, mustard and a generous grinding of black pepper, then add the cheeses. Stir until the cheese has all melted and the sauce is smooth again. 4. Remove from the heat and add in the drained, cooked pasta, stirring until all the pasta is coated with the sauce. Transfer the pasta to one large baking dish, individual gratin dishes or large ramekins. 5. To make the herb breadcrumb topping, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and stir until coated with the butter, then add the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Fry for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove from the heat. 6. Place the dish(es) on a baking tray and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake in the oven for 15–20 mins, until the pasta is piping hot and the breadcrumbs are crispy. 7. Serve straightaway. This is best eaten on the day it’s made.

Halloumi Fries Created by Donna Hennessy, Cork Delicious, unusual and surprisingly tasty as a starter or a canapé with drinks. Prep Time: 45 mins Total Time: 60 mins Servings: 2

Ingredients: sunflower or vegetable oil 250g Halloumi cheese 3 tbsps plain flour 2 tsps smoked paprika 1 tsp sumac, plus more for the yogurt 50ml natural yogurt 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses 1 tsp honey juice of ½ a lime mint or coriander leaves 1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes or Pul Biber handful pomegranate arils/seeds

Method: 1. Start by heating your oil in a small saucepan. You need about 5cm of oil in the pan, enough to completely submerge the cheese. It needs to come to 180˚C or test it by dropping in a piece of bread which should sizzle and turn golden brown quickly, but not burn. 2. Next prepare the Halloumi. Slice the block of cheese and cut into ‘chips’ approx 1cm thick. If your cheese is very

crumbly you might want to cut it a bit thicker to hold the pieces together. 3. Mix the flour, smoked paprika and sumac together. These chips need to be well coated so roll them in the flour mixture and make sure they are completely covered. Pat some of the seasoning on if you like as you will lose some in the oil while you are frying it. 4. Mix the yogurt with a pinch of sumac and set aside. In another small bowl mix together the pomegranate molasses, honey and lime juice. Taste to make sure it is not too tart, add a little more honey if you would like it to be sweeter. You can make a dip by swirling the pomegranate mix through the yogurt if you like or keep them separate and drizzle them over the fries. 5. When the oil is hot enough, gently lower in a few fries. Don’t put too many in together as the temperature of the oil will drop and your fries won’t crisp up as much as you want. Use a tongs to keep the fries separate in the oil as you don’t want them sticking together. When the fries are a nice golden brown colour remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on kitchen paper while you fry up the remaining cheese. 6. Serve the Halloumi fries immediately with a dip to the side or drizzle over the yogurt and pomegranate dressings. Scatter the Aleppo pepper, pomegranate seeds and coriander or mint leaves over the top.

Blue Cheese, Kale & Pecan Tart Created by Hanna Mathe, Waterford A delightful dish with an explosion of flavours in every bite. Prep Time: 45 mins Total Time: 180 mins Servings: 6

Ingredients: For the shortcrust pastry 200g plain flour 100g butter, chilled & cubed 35ml of cold water pinch of sugar For the custard 1 whole egg 1 egg yolk 150ml cream 1 tbsp caster sugar For the filling 150g kale, washed and roughly chopped 75g pecans, roughly chopped 1 small pear, diced 100g Cashel Blue cheese, cubed 1 tsp coconut oil 1 tsp butter maple syrup to taste

Method: 1. Put flour, pinch of sugar and cubed butter into a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 2. Gradually add the cold water until the dough just about comes together. 3. Remove from food processor, wrap dough in cling film and chill in fridge for 15 mins.

4. Make a cartouche of greaseproof paper, roughly 8-10 cm bigger than your tart. 5. Remove pastry from fridge and roll out to a thickness of 3mm (seal any cracks in the pastry with your fingertips and continue rolling). Don’t overwork the pastry. 6. Carefully wrap the pastry once or twice around the rolling pin and place it over the tart tin. Using a piece of overhanging pastry, push the pastry in the tin well into the corners. Using a rolling pin, cut through the pastry and remove overhanging bits from the tin. 7. Insert cartouche and baking beans. Chill the pastry for at least 20 mins in the refrigerator and blind bake pastry for approx. 15 mins at 200°C / gas mark 6. 8. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C / gas mark 4, remove baking beans from pastry and bake for a further 10-15 mins. Remove from the oven and cool. 9. Make custard by whisking the egg, the yolk and 1 tbsp sugar together. Heat the cream by bringing to a simmer, remove from heat and, using an electric mixer, add to the egg mixture. 10. Return custard to the stove and on low heat (between 75-85°C). Using a wooden spoon stir continuously until it coats the back of the spoon and dragging your finger along the spoon the trail remains visible. Ensure low heat so custard doesn’t curdle. 11. Sauté the kale in the teaspoon of butter and coconut oil and set aside. 12. When all your ingredients have cooled, begin filling the tart case by starting with a layer of blue cheese on the bottom, followed by kale, pear and pecans and more cheese. Repeat process until all fillings are used up. 13. Pour custard over the tart evenly and drizzle with maple syrup to taste. 14. Bake for 45-60 mins at 180°C / gas mark 4, or until the custard has set and the pecans have toasted (cover tart with tinfoil 20-25 mins into baking and return to oven). 15. Remove from oven and cool before slicing.

The National Dairy Council t: +353 1 290 2451 e: hello@ndc.ie w: ndc.ie NDCIreland


Photography by Dora Kazmierak

Profile for The National Dairy Council

Cheese Up Your Life - The Winning Recipes  

The National Dairy Council invited food enthusiasts and culinary students to enter a unique cheese recipe competition to celebrate one of th...

Cheese Up Your Life - The Winning Recipes  

The National Dairy Council invited food enthusiasts and culinary students to enter a unique cheese recipe competition to celebrate one of th...