Saturday 21 April 2018

Easy cheesy tasty treats... from Clodagh McKenna and Derval O'Rourke


Cashel blue oat cheesecake with Irish honey and thyme
Cashel blue oat cheesecake with Irish honey and thyme
Aged Dubliner cheese oat croquettes with spiced aioli
Crispy Skellig sweet cheddar parmesan spears with a lemon aioli dip
Clodagh McKenna
Former Olympic athlete Derval O’Rourke

Say cheese to these delicious recipes from National Dairy Council ambassadors Clodagh McKenna and Derval O'Rourke.

Clodagh McKenna is a chef, TV presenter & writer

Clodagh McKenna


Makes 1


200g oatcakes, whizzed to fine crumbs

50g walnuts, toasted and whizzed to crumbs

100g butter, melted

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

500g cream cheese

100g sour cream

3 eggs, lightly beaten

50g plain flour, seasoned

250g blue cheese, crumbled

1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped

2 tsp runny honey, plus extra to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/gas 1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper. Mix the oatcake crumbs, whizzed walnuts and melted butter with a pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Transfer the buttery crumbs to the prepared tin and use the back of a spoon to spread the crumbs in an even, well-compacted layer. Chill until needed.

2. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat again. Gradually pour in the eggs, beating after each addition until fully combined.

3. Sift the flour over the cheese mixture and gently fold it in. Fold in the blue cheese, thyme leaves and honey. Mix well.

4. Scrape the mixture into the filled cake tin, smooth the top and transfer to the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until just set, with the tiniest wobble in the centre. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely in the oven. Serve with a drizzle of extra honey.

Makes 30


Crispy Skellig sweet cheddar parmesan spears with a lemon aioli dip


Non-stick cooking spray

60g panko breadcrumbs

100g Skellig sweet Cheddar, finely grated

50g Parmesan, finely grated

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, halved

2 eggs, whisked

30 asparagus, bottoms trimmed

100g plain flour


1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

2. Place a wire or cooling rack on a baking sheet and coat with non-stick spray.

3. Start by making the cheese crumb mixture. Place the panko breadcrumbs, Skellig sweet Cheddar and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and zest the lemon into the mixture. Mix well and set aside.

4. Place the whisked eggs and flour in two separate bowls (or plates).

5. Dip each asparagus spear in flour, followed by the egg, then lay in the cheesy breadcrumb mixture, and cover.

6. Transfer the coated spears to the wire rack and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

7. While the spears are cooking, make the lemon aioli (see recipe, below).


Aged Dubliner cheese oat croquettes with spiced aioli

Makes 10


3 potatoes, peeled, steamed and mashed

1 dssp Dijon mustard

1 dssp flat parsley, finely chopped

100g aged Dubliner Cheddar cheese, grated

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten

50g fine breadcrumbs

50g porridge oats

Vegetable oil


1. Place the mashed potato, mustard, chopped flat parsley, cheese and seasoning into a large bowl, and mix well together.

2. Scoop the mixture using a dessertspoon and form balls the size of a table-tennis ball; once shaped, lay them on a tray.

3. Using a pastry brush, gloss the croquettes with the beaten egg.

4. Scatter the fine bread and oat crumbs on a large plate and, one by one, gently roll the croquettes in the crumbs.

5. Fry the croquettes in a frying pan with hot oil, turning once golden, or alternatively bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 15 minutes.

6. Serve with spiced aioli (see recipe, below).


Makes 250ml


2 free-range egg yolks

1 tsp Dijon mustard

120ml extra-virgin olive oil

120ml vegetable oil

½ lemon, juiced

½ clove of garlic, crushed

1 tsp smoked paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Crack the egg yolks into a bowl, along with the teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and lightly whisk.

2. Mix the olive and vegetable oil together, and then slowly pour while whisking into the egg yolks. The mayonnaise will begin to get thick and creamy.

3. Stir in the lemon juice, crushed clove of garlic and smoked paprika. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.



3 free-range eggs yolks

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Sea salt

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

100ml vegetable oil

100ml extra-virgin olive oil


1. Crack 3 egg yolks into a medium-sized bowl, followed by 1 tsp Dijon mustard, a pinch of sea salt and the lemon juice and zest.

2. Measure out 100ml vegetable oil and 100ml extra- virgin olive oil and whisk into the egg yolks slowly. The aioli will begin to get thick and creamy.

Derval O’Rourke is an Olympian and Cookbook author

11 NEWS PL29335681Athlete Derval O.jpg
Former Olympic athlete Derval O’Rourke


Serves 2

Prep time: 5 mins

Total time: 35 mins


1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed

Handful of fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lime

2 tsp olive oil

½ red onion, finely chopped

2 skinless chicken breast fillets, cubed

2 tbsp fajita spice mix (can be either homemade or shop-bought)

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tortilla wraps

60ml tomato passata

50g Cheddar, grated

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

Brown rice, to serve (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

2. Use a fork to mash the avocado, mint and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.

4. Add the chicken, spice mix and garlic, and cook for 3–5 minutes, then set aside.

5. Divide the avocado mixture between the 2 tortillas, spreading it into an even layer. Add a layer of passata, followed by a layer of the spicy chicken mixture.

6. Neatly roll each tortilla, then place them side by side in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the Cheddar and place in the oven.

7. Bake for 15–20 minutes.

8. Divide the enchiladas between warmed serving plates and top each one with a dollop of natural yogurt.

9. Serve brown rice on the side.



1 tbsp olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and diced

1 tbsp dried oregano

3 garlic cloves, crushed

400g tin tomatoes

300ml water

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion, red pepper, oregano and garlic, and cook for about 6 minutes. You can add a dash of water if the pan becomes dry.

2. Add the tomatoes and 300ml water. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and purée the sauce until it is smooth.


Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes


100g almonds, flaked

100g cashews

50g pine nuts

75g Cheddar, grated

70g dried apricots

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbsp olive oil

3 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 medium potato, peeled and grated

1 tbsp rosemary, chopped

Small bunch of fresh herbs, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. You will need a 900g (2lb) baking tin; I like to use silicone ones. Blitz the nuts in a food processor until they look like roughly chopped breadcrumbs. Tip them into a large mixing bowl, add the cheese, apricots and eggs, and stir to combine.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, potato and herbs and cook for about 10 minutes; stir frequently.

3. Tip the cooked veg into the bowl with the nut mixture. Stir well to combine and scrape the mix into the loaf pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the loaf is firm when gently pressed. Remove the nut roast from the oven and leave to cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the nut roast from the pan, slice and serve. This goes great with stir-fried veggies!



200ml milk

2 tbsp butter

1 bay leaf

½ tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp flour (white flour or spelt flour)

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp natural yoghurt

25g Cheddar, grated

Salt and pepper


1. Place the milk, butter, bay leaf and nutmeg in a small pan. Slowly heat the milk until the point at which it is about to boil.

Remove the bay leaf and sieve in the flour.

2. Use a whisk to blend the flour into the milk. Do this until it begins to thicken.

3. Remove from the heat and add the egg and yoghurt, and whisk until it is smooth. Sprinkle in the Cheddar and season to taste.



Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

800g mince

Fit Foodie Tomato Sauce

Handful of basil leaves

150g wholewheat lasagne sheets

Fit Foodie cheese sauce


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. You will need a large lasagne dish.

2. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large pot. Add the mince and cook for about 10 minutes, until browned. Stir in the tomato sauce and basil.

3. Pour half the mince into the lasagne dish. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets.

4. Pour in the rest of the mince and top with a second layer of lasagne sheets. Pour the cheese sauce on top.

5. Place the lasagne dish in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

6. Leave the cooked lasagne to stand for 5 minutes. Divide between warmed serving plates.

Irish Independent

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