A vegetarian feast of roasted spiced carrots, walnut pesto and goat’s cheese

Kitchen Cabinet: Conor Halpenny’s ode to the Boyne Valley

Maria and David Flynn of Ballymakenny Farm have been icons of the farming industry within the community over the last number of years. When their business was going through a difficult time, they made the bold decision to diversify from normal crop potatoes to speciality and heritage potatoes and vegetables.

In this recipe, I have paired Ballymakenny’s carrots with other products from the Boyne Valley. I am using Loughanmore Farm microgreens for my salad. Grown on the Cooley peninsula, Loughanmore greens are carefully selected and they do not use any fertilizer, herbicide or pesticide on their farm. For the dressing, I am using Michael Finnegan’s Boyne Valley Bán goat’s cheese, Eoghan Mac Giolla’s award-winning Lannléire honey, and Newgrange Gold rapeseed oil.

Conor Halpenny, is chef proprietor at The Square restaurant, Dundalk.

Roasted spiced and pickled carrots, walnut pesto and goat’s cheese

Serves 4


8 Ballymakenny Farm carrots
200g walnuts
Sherry vinegar
100ml Newgrange gold rapeseed oil
50g grated Boyne Valley Bán, plus some extra for garnish
100ml white wine vinegar
75g caster sugar
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
5/6 breakfast radish, sliced
Loughanmore farm micro herbs or micro salad


1 For the roasted spiced carrots, preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

2 Wash and peel six of the carrots. Cut them in half and place on to a baking tray. Season with salt, pepper and some ground cumin. Drizzle lightly with rapeseed oil and Lannléire honey, mix well to make sure they are evenly coated. Cover the tray with foil and place into the oven for 35-40 minutes.

3 Once cooked, leave the carrots to cool and set aside until you are ready to assemble.

4 For the pickled carrots, put the white wine vinegar and sugar in a pot with 50ml of water and add some thyme and a pinch of salt. Place on the stove and bring to the boil.

5 Wash and peel the remaining carrots, to form ribbons, and place into a bowl.

6 Once the pickle liquor has boiled, pour it over the carrots, give them a quick stir and set aside. These are best done a day or so in advance; they can be kept in the fridge and added to other salads and dishes.

7 For the roasted walnut pest, toast the walnuts in the oven for 6-8 minutes at 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and leave the walnuts to cool.

8 Place the walnuts into a food processor or pestle and mortar, roughly crush them. Remove a quarter of the walnuts at this point and set them aside.

9 Add 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar, 50ml of water, 100ml of Newgrange Gold rapeseed oil, salt and pepper to taste, and pulse the walnuts until the pesto has combined. Stir in the remainder of the crushed walnuts and 50g of grated Boyne Valley Bán cheese. This can be kept for one week in the fridge.

10 To assemble: Warm the roasted carrots in the oven for two minutes. Place the carrots on to the serving plate. Dress the carrots with some of the walnut pesto. Drain the pickled carrots and place on to the salad. Lightly dress the micro leaves and sliced radish in a bowl with some salt and rapeseed oil and place on to the carrot salad and drizzle some more honey on top. Finish the dish by grating some more of the cheese generously over the dish.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes for Food Month at The Irish Times from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, in support of Ireland’s food producers. #ChefsMeetProducers