Is there anything more tempting than bubbling, melting cheese, slathered on just about anything? Mouth watering mozzarella, gooey Gruyere and crave-worthy cheddar are the cream of the crop and the crowning glory on so many dishes we all know and love. But cheese, in all it’s guises, has potential far beyond being a final adornment.
Avid cooks know that there is so much more to cheese than compiling a board of your favourites. Here in Ireland and across Europe we are spoiled for choice at the cheese counter and fantastic cheese lends itself to creating fantastic dishes. Cheese is basically happiness you can melt, so whipping up a cheesy treat for loved ones is truly a form of affection.
Are you a fromage fiend who will find a way to include it in everything and make it into the centerpiece of a delectably oozy dish? If you are convinced you can transform the humble dairy delight into something worthy of wowing an esteemed panel of judges – Clodagh McKenna, Derval O’Rourke and Vanessa Greenwood, you could win a week long cooking trip to Tuscany for two plus with the National Dairy Council’s fantastic Cheese Up Your Life competition.
If you are a passionate foodie who loves nothing more than experimenting with recipes for your family, and who always has an answer to the ‘what’s for dinner?’ daily dilemma, this is your chance to spin the (cheese) wheel of destiny. Amateur cooks are encouraged to apply for the Midweek Family Meal category and show off their culinary skills with a cheesy twist.
Three finalists will be invited to Dublin to attend a Cook Off in Cooks Academy on Friday 5th May 2017 where the two winners will be announced. All entrants must be available to attend the Cook Off if selected as a finalist and be ready to put on a grate show!
To make it a little easier to get your creative juices flowing, we have compiled an inspiration list of delicious cheesy dishes. Judge Derval O’Rourke says she will be on the lookout for simple classic dishes everyone loves, like a luscious lasagne with lashings of mature cheddar grated on top.
Lamb and Penne Gratin with Two Cheeses by Chef Mark Moriarty
If there is one chef who knows how to extract maximum flavour from simple ingredients it is San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year 2015 Mark Moriarty. In his Lamb and Penne Gratin Recipe, not one but two varieties of luscious cheese – mozzarella for the goo factor and mature hard cheese for depth of flavour. This indulgent dish may just have you thinking that lamb and cheese is the new ham and cheese.
Mustard and Kale Mac and Cheese by Nadiya Hussein
There is no one on this earth who can resist the gooey deliciousness of oozing mac and cheese, and Bake Off Champion Nadiya Hussein proves that with her mouth-watering Mustard and Kale Mac and Cheese. Mature cheddar makes this mac rich and flavoursome, but you could mix things up by using ultra luxurious Camembert or brie. This dish is a complete crowd pleaser, mustard somehow elevates cheese to even more delicious heights!
Potato, Kale and Pumpkin Gratin Recipe from Blazing Salads
Indulging in lashings of cheese doesn’t have to feel like a bad thing as Blazing Salads demonstrate with the delicious veggie main of Potato, Kale and Pumpkin Gratin. Root vegetables like pumpkin and potatoes are packed with fiber and hearty enough for a meat-free meal with plenty of protein coming from the layer of oozy cheddar and Parmesan. Judge Vanessa, chef and owner of Cook’s Academy, is on the lookout for cheesy dishes with a healthy edge, so something along these lines could win her over!
Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne by Neven Maguire
Lasagne is comfort plated, and Neven’s Spinach and Ricotta version is even simpler, using shop-bought ravioli stuffed with creamy riotta for the easiest pasta bake ever. Expect buckets of flavour from three types of cheese – Parmesan and Toonsbridge mozzarella replace the finnicky bechamel sauce making this a guaranteed hit – with the busy cook and the whole family. Wow the judges by making your own ravioli with wonton wrappers for convenience and speed.
Chicken Enchiladas Recipe from Eat Mexico Cookbook
Grated mild cheese is the perfect topping to cool down a fiery Mexican feast of Chicken Enchiladas, an Irish cheddar like Little Milk Co or Mossfield would be delicious here. This recipe also includes homemade crema, which is almost like a homemade cheese crafted out of Irish double cream and yoghurt, whipped up quickly by thickening on the stove top – doubling the dairy goodness and showing some ingenuity could be your trump card to impress Vanessa, Clodagh and Derval!
So now that you have your cheesy inspiration, what are you waiting for? To enter this amazing Cheese Up Your Life competition, click here for an application form and guidelines.
You can either email your form to firstname.lastname@example.org or send by post to:
Your recipe must include full details on ingredients, method, cooking times and picture and the closing date for all entries is Tuesday 18th April 2017.
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake Off and am passionate about discovering and creating delicious things – I can sometimes be caught in the act on TV3’s Six O’Clock Show. Working with TheTaste allows me to satisfy this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting.