In partnership with the National Dairy Council.
The National Dairy Council has teamed up with lifestyle blogger Niamh O’Sullivan who reveals her top meal planning tips and shares some of her favourite summer recipes.
If you’re looking for some inspiration in the kitchen this summer, cheese makes a great starting point. The taste and versatility of European cheese lends itself to an array of delicious dishes, which is perfect when you’re planning some al fresco dining. We chatted to Niamh about her food inspiration, creating the perfect table and some of her favourite recipes.
Who gives you foodie inspiration?
I find inspiration online, on TV, in magazines and primarily, at home. My family are all incredible in the kitchen. I learn so much from my mum and dad with every meal. They’re really adventurous and not afraid to try a new dish or method. They also have a collection of gorgeous cookbooks from throughout the years, so I can always find new ideas in any of them.
Any tips for organising/meal planning for the week?
At the beginning of the week, take stock of what you have already. Food waste is such a big problem in the world, so I always do my best to minimise my contribution where possible. Building out meal plans based on what you have and what needs to be eaten first is the best place to start in my opinion. I’d also suggest equipping your kitchen with a good collection of herbs, spices, seasonings, oils and different carbohydrates (pastas, rice, grains etc). This way, you’ll always be flexible with your meals.
What are your top tip for sprucing up your table settings?
Less is more! I think you can bring a touch of elegance to your table setting in such simple ways. I love using linen napkins, grabbing some foliage from the garden, and tying it into napkins using some simple string or ribbon. I’m a hoarder of ribbons so start to collect them as you go, from gift boxes or wherever else you might come across them.
Top tip: I prefer darker napkins as they will continue to look well even if they’re getting grubbier as the meal progresses!
Three cheese sauce pasta
50g gorgonzola cheese
40g parmesan cheese
100g mascarpone cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
10 basil leaves
200g of spaghetti/linguine/tagliatelle
1. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat.
2. Add the cheeses and mix well.
3. Toss in your pasta, grate in the nutmeg and fold in the basil.
Marinated halloumi kebabs
Makes 3 kebabs
350g halloumi, cut into cubes
1 medium pepper
1 medium red onion
4-6 medium cap mushrooms
50ml olive oil
1 large clove of garlic
1 teaspoon each of rosemary, mint and parsley
Juice of 1 lime
1.Chop the pepper and onions into even bite-size pieces, to match the size of the cubes of cheese.
2. Finely chop the garlic and herbs and mix well with the olive oil and lime juice.
3. Place the vegetables and cheese into a bowl and cover with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge overnight or for at least six hours.
4. Take your flat metal skewers and thread with a mix of vegetables and cheese until the skewer is full.
5. Place the kebabs on the barbecue and turn them frequently until they are heated through and tinged brown at the edges (You can also cook them under the grill). Brush with additional marinade juices as you cook them.
150g Greek yoghurt
1/2 cucumber, chopped finely
1 - 2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
1 handful of chopped or dried mint (or dill)
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and garnish with mint leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
The National Dairy Council has joined up with the European Milk Forum to launch Cheese Your Way, an EU-funded multi-country campaign involving Denmark, France and Ireland. This three-year programme runs from 2019-2021 with the aim of promoting and creating awareness of the taste, quality, versatility and convenience of cheese in everyday life.
Cheese is a concentrated source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins B12 and K2, and is low in lactose. This pan-European campaign is being implemented to educate Irish consumers on the importance of including cheese in their everyday diets in a variety of traditional and contemporary ways.