Paul Flynn: Three delicious dishes that use the best of Irish cheeses

I have used Coolea, Crozier Blue and mature cheddar for the recipes, but you can choose your own favourites

Gnocchi with Vichy celery, black grapes and Crozier Blue. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

I usually write these articles early in the morning, before anyone awakes. I relish the quietness of the house. In summer I bounce out of bed, but on these darker mornings I have to force myself to get up, my body creaking in a way it never used to. No matter how quiet I am, the cat wakes up, looking for food as she’s permanently ravenous. She yowls incessantly until she’s fed. We have the hungriest feline in Ireland. She roughly nudges my hand away to get at the food.

I’m organised for the school lunches from the night before. All the snacks are lined up like soldiers. I finish the lunches before they get up, although I’ve recently been informed via her mother that the youngest doesn’t like wraps anymore. This reduces to about four things that she actually will eat. Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe it, and I know I’m not alone. People mistakenly think children of chefs appreciate food like pampered gourmets. This is not the case in our house. They devour chicken goujons but quietly push away something I’ve thoughtfully cooked for them on a dark cold night after a long day at school.

I often wonder, when they are in college eating beans on toast night after night, will they be longing for the weekend at home and finally relish one of my big dinners? Then I stop and think of how empty the house will be without them and I give them breakfast.

A dutiful tea is brought to my wife as she gets ready for work. There is a scurry for books and bits of uniforms. Skye, our nervous nellie of a Westie, is always under foot, waiting for scraps as I squeeze in a few lines of my column and wait for the house to quieten. If I’m not on the school run, I have some hope to get the piece finished before my day starts properly.


Today I’m writing about and cooking with Irish cheeses crafted by passionate, committed people. Choose your favourites, as always the cook is boss.

Recipe: Piperade of leeks, mushrooms and Coolea cheese

Recipe: Gnocchi, Vichy celery, black grapes, Crozier Blue and candied walnuts

Recipe: Mature cheddar pots, malt vinegar raisins and toast