Jess’s Monthly Melt Down


Hey hey hey! OLA ….It’s Spanish month and there is no better way of celebrating than with hard core tasty salads. Since the “staycation” is the plan, it’s time to get some simple yet impressive party platters up your sleeve – the kinda ones that will make the mother-in-law think you’ve been taking zoom cooking lessons from a funky Spanish hippie hipster guru in Thai fisherman’s pants! 

I’m mixing it up here with some big hitter Spanish cheeses that everyone is gonna love, even if ya haven’t heard of them! Now if you’re anything like me, you were raised on block supermarket cheese. We had one kind and in New Zealand this happened to be Colby and/or the processed sliced cheese. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not a cheese snob and I firmly believe in “any port in a storm” when it comes to irrational hunger. Dipping the toe in the Spanish cheese world is actually amazing! Fun Fact; There is a cheese the shape of a breast called “Tetilla”, which has always made me laugh my immature head off. 

My tribute is to Manchego, Monte Enebro and then onto Valdon Blue. They are my top 3 that you will never be disappointed with. There is a sheep, goat and cow and choosing these three shows intelligent simplicity in my world. With a scoop of Valencian fried almonds, some quince paste and a few sliced deli meats combined with some local Irish provisions you are going to be whipping up some lush tapas whether it’s in the holiday bungalow in Carlow, cruising the Shannon, catching the ferry to the Aran Islands in Galway or putting some tunes on in ya back garden in Drimnagh! 

I’m going to leave you all with a little list for the messages to stop all confusion when you’re shopping online or in your local Sheridan’s. Please tag us in your amazing creations and see ya next month for more Meltdown Monthly action.

x Jess

Winter: Baked Mont D’Or

Taken from Counter Culture: Sheridans Cheesemongers Guide to Cheese by Kevin & Seamus Sheridan and Catherine Cleary. 

The seasonality of this cheese, together with the convivial nature of how the dish is shared, makes it one of our favourites for a cold winter evening. It can be served at the end of a meal to replace the cheese board or as a main course, if accompanied by plenty of winter salads and cold meats.

You can use Swiss or French Mont d’Or and you can also adjust this recipe to suit other washed-rind cheeses. Our favourites are Durrus 360g or Gubbeen 450g. Because they don’t come in boxes, you need to make the following adjustments – rather than score the rind, cut a thin lid off the top and put your garlic and thyme into the paste, replacing the rind lid. Place the cheese in the centre of a sheet of foil, bring up the corners of the foil, covering the cheese, but leave a ‘chimney’ in the centre, formed with the foil. Pour the wine in through the chimney and leave it open during baking.


Serves 6 after dinner, 4 as main course


500g Mont d’Or in its box, with lid on

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 sprigs of thyme

½ glass of whatever white wine you are drinking

crusty bread to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut an ‘X’ through the rind of the cheese from edge to edge. Using your thumb, press the sprigs of thyme and the clove of garlic through the centre of the x and into the paste of the cheese.

Pour the wine over the cheese.

Fit the wooden lid back on to the cheese and place it on an ovenproof dish or baking tray to catch any leaks.

Bake in the preheated oven for ten minutes.

Remove from the oven, take off the lid and peel back the scored rind to reveal the warm gooey paste.

Place in the centre of the table so that you and your guests can scoop out the melted cheese with chunks of crusty bread.

Irish Durrus Raclette

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This traditional French/ Swiss dish is great for dinner parties, entertaining with a wow factor but without the stress. Here is my Irish version, with an old friend, Durrus. It works very well! If you do not have a Raclette machine, in the oven will work just fine.

You’ll Need:

¼ Wheel Of Durrus

Boil enough potatoes for 4 people

Few Baby Sweet Potatoes

A selection of Irish cured meats (Gubbeen salami, good cooked ham…)

Janet’s Cucumber relish for the zing factor

A nice lettuce of fresh leaves


How To:

Boil the potatoes gently and keep them hot. Put your selection of meats on a plate and the pre-sliced cheese on the other (ask your cheesemonger to do this for you). Janet’s cucumber relish works really well instead of the cornichons “gherkins” used in France. The green leaves with a honey dressing helps to balance this rich dish. Crunchy florets of Broccoli are also very pleasant.



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Kevin Sheridan from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers brought in breakfast, lunch and dinner to the nice folks in RTE Radio  – real food, from real people!


Kevin’s Recipes

Porridge ideas

There are lots of porridge types and brands out there, the main thing is to pick a non processed type, I recommend cooking on the hob but lots of people successfully use the microwave; there are always instructions for both on the pack.

You can make porridge using only water or you can use a mix of milk and water.

There are an infinite number of foods that you can add to the cooked porridge to give extra flavour and nutrition, for sweetness instead of sugar try sweet fruits like mashed banana, stewed apple, pear or even a local honey. Other ideas are toasted seeds, dried fruits such as raisins, apricots and prunes, when in season fresh fruits such as raspberries and blueberries.

Kevin’s Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin Soup (serves 6 – 8)

I medium pumpkin or 2 butternut squash
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic
Knob of butter and splash of olive oil
2 litres of vegetable and beef stock or chicken stock
2 teaspoons of marmite, optional!
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200c

Cut the pumpkin into large sections, removing the seeds and any stringy flesh. Place the pumpkin sections skin down on a baking tray and loosely cover with a sheet of tinfoil. Roast until the flesh is soft and allow to cool

When cool peel off the skin

Roughly chop the onion and garlic

Melt the butter and oil in a heavy bottom pot on a medium-low heat and cover with a lid. Cook until soft and golden

Add roast pumpkin flesh to the cooked onion, add the stock and marmite.

Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes

Blend and season to taste.

Serve with brown bread and butter


Durrus Tartiflette

Serves 4


  • 1kg potatoes,
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 thick rashers of smoked streaky bacon, diced 1.5”
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 100mls Irish Craft Ale (We used 8 Degrees) or 1/2 glass white wine.
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 350g Durrus cheese, wipe the rind with a damp cloth, and dice the cheese.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 5.
  2. Peel and dice the potatoes into ½ inch pieces. Boil for 3-5 mins. Drain.
  3. In a large heavy pan heat a good splash of rapeseed oil. Fry the potatoes lightly
  4. Add the diced bacon and onion. Cook until the bacon has begun to crisp.
  5. Add the white wine, stir and then add the cubed cheese
  6. Remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Choose an ovenproof earthenware dish and rub it well with the halves of garlic and some rapeseed oil. Empty the contents of the pan into the dish and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until the cheese has melted and begun to crisp.
  8. You can also add some thick spinach, chard or asparagus along with the cheese.


Traditional Irish Brown Bread

Recipe provided by Maura Sheridan


250g plain white flour
200g wholemeal flour
1 level teaspoon bread soda
1 level teaspoon salt
2 large free range eggs
250ml Yoghurt (or Buttermilk)


I turn on the fan oven at 200 – 250C to preheat while I prepare the mixture.

First, prepare baking tray or ceramic pot- I use an old Le Creuset pot to bake the bread in. I line it with the wrappers from butter, but you can use greaspeproof paper.

Beat the eggs very well, add the yoghurt and beat again –leave aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flours , bread soda, salt). Make a well in the centre of the bowl.

Add most of the liquid and using your hand start mixing the flour in from the centre out with a light touch.

When the mixture comes together, form a round and place on a floured baking tray or in a heavy bottomed ceramic dish such as I use.

Place in the centre of the oven.

Note on temperatures and times: Ovens vary. I have mine at 200 – 250C for 10/15 minutes. Then turn down to 190/180C for the remainder of baking time – total baking time 1 hour.

To ensure that the bread is cooked, turn upside down, tap the bottom, and a hollow sound lets you know that it is done.

When cooked, wrap in a tea towel and leave to cool.


Franckie’s Brewer’s Gold Chicken’n’Tag

Brew 5

A Great new beer washed rind cheese from Kilkenny that reminded me of some gems from the North of France like Maroilles, pungent and perfect for this unusual yet comforting January dish.

 You’ll Need:

  • 1 x “Fat” shallot/ 1 x Red onion
  • 250ml x of Irish red ale
  • 6 x prunes, soaked in tea
  • 1 x heaped tsp honey
  • 2 x chicken breasts
  • 250g x Brewer’s Gold
  • 4 x Nests of tagliatelle
  • 1 x 50g of butter aka “a wee bit”

How To:

On a clean chopping board, make a lateral incision to the chicken; insert a cigar shape of the Brewer’s Gold and roll tightly. Set aside on a plate. Chop thinly the shallot or red onion. Before placing the chicken on a hot olive oiled pan, pre-heat the oven to 180c. Once the chicken starts browning, put on a baking tray and bake for 15-20min. Add the shallots and drained prunes  to the pan with butter and let it sweat before adding the red ale; let the lot reduce until thickish with a bit of honey towards the end. Boil salted water and cook the tagliatelles for 3 to 4 minutes. Sauté the pasta in the sauce, slice the chicken and serve with the prunes on the sides. A glass of red ale to go with this dish is just perfect.

Franckie’s Poached Pear in Verduzzo

With Blue Cheese and Toasted Panettone

Pear and Blue

You’ll need:

  • One “hardish” pear per person
  • 1 x bottle of Verduzzo or dessert wine
  • 150g of crushed nuts
  • 1 x Panettone (or Brioche)
  • 1 x tbsp of honey
  • 100g/ person x of your favourite Blue

How to:

This is very “Chefy” looking but in fact very easy to make. I have come up with this recipe 10 years ago and it is a huge crowd pleaser. 1st, peal the pears and put them in a large pot with the whole bottle of dessert wine. Add a bit of water if necessary to cover ¾ of the pears. Let it simmer until soft. In a dry pan, toast the crushed nuts of your choice (almonds, hazelnuts or even walnuts). Careful now, don’t go away. Set aside in a bowl. With a glass, cut the necessary amount of panettone (or Brioche) and toast them under the grill. Place them on the respective plates and soak with a table spoon from the wine still cooking. The pears should be ready, slice them at the bottom so they can stand. Reduce the wine to almost a caramel. Crumble or create a ring with your blue cheese and place on top of your panettone ring. Cover the plate and pear with the caramel like syrup, and a bit of honey over the blue; sprinkle the crushed nuts over everything. Enjoy immensely!



Lentils with Crispy Bacon and Bleu De Gex

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You’ll need:

  • 250g of green or Puy lentils
  • 2 carrots chopped in small cubes
  • 2 cloves of garlic whole
  • 1 large onion chopped finelly
  • 150g of Bleu de Gex cheese
  • 6 slices of good bacon grilled to a crisp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley for contrast
  • Olive oil

How To:

In a hot olive oiled pan, sweat the carrots, garlic cloves and onions with just a little salt to help them release their flavour. Reserve seasoning at the end as the lentils could get a bit bitter. Add the lentils and stir gently. Top up with water and allow to gently simmer until cooked. In the oven or under the grill, get the whole slices crispy but not burnt and slice before serving. The lentils should be ready (25-30 minutes should do the trick). Before serving, add the slices of crispy bacon, 75g of bleu de Gex and salt to taste. Serve in a bowl or on a plate, with the rest of the blue crumbled on top and freshly chopped parsley. A real winter’s treat.

Croque ‘n’ Soup

Seasonal and comforting, here is a gentle cheesy way to welcome autumn.


You’ll need:

For the Soup:

  • 1 Broccoli Head and Stalk
  • 2 Potatoes
  • 1 small leek of an onion
  • A dash of Fresh cream
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Croque:

  • Any good bread sliced
  • 100g of butter
  • 1 small leek
  • 200g of Comté/ Gruyère
  • Milk
  • A wee dash of white wine
  • A nice bit of ham
  • 100g flour
  • A teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

How To:

For The Soup:

Simplicity at its best! Chop all the veg in reasonably small pieces and throw in a hot pan; the secret for a good soup is the sweating part to release all the flavours. The other secret is to salt during this time as it will help the veg to draw their flavours. Top up with water and let simmer for 20 minutes before blitzing.

For the Croque:

Quarter the leak lengthways and then finely sliced it. Put it in the pan with the butter on a low heat. Add the flour and stir to a roux. Little by little pour in the milk and keep stirring. Once thickened, grate in 100g of comté and the teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Spoon the béchamel mix inside the bread before placing the slices of ham with more grated cheese, and a bit on the top slice before grilling. A glass of Montepuliciano, Pinot noir for the reds, Burgundy Chardonnay or Pinot Bianco for the whites!

Irish Smoked Fish Tonnarelli


If unlike me you love your seafood, there is a lovely pasta dish that I really enjoy! You just sauté thin slices of fennel with a clove of garlic and thin slices of onions, a glass of dried white wine. Crumble a bit of smoked fish and pour a jar of passata. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, gently, and serve with loads of basil leaves and Tonnarelli pasta (black spaghetti). Try the wines of the week Sauvignon Blanc or Austrian Pinot Noir for this dish, red or white, you’ll be in friendly territory!

– Franck