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Iceberg, Young Buck and pancetta salad; macaroni cheese

Iceberg, Young Buck and pancetta salad; macaroni cheese

The first is a salad with Young Buck – the shop’s owner, Newtownards–based cheesemaker Michael Thompson’s very own blue cheese, which we use in all our restaurants – and pancetta (or bacon will do). The second is a good old macaroni cheese – the perfect comfort food and a great recipe for children to learn, with help from adults.

Mike is a young entrepreneur, who took the time to go and learn how to make cheese in England. He is now buying milk from a Co Down single herd and supplying Northern Ireland with its first raw–milk cheese.

As well as Young Buck, his city cheese shop stocks a wide range of other outstanding produce from Ireland, north and south. It’s a great find if you love your cheese and/or if you want to support local shops and suppliers.

ICEBERG, YOUNG BUCK AND PANCETTA SALAD

(Makes 6 portions)

1 iceberg lettuce

18 anchovy fillets in brine

6 slices of pancetta

150g Young Buck Cheese

For the dressing:

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

150ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tblesp white wine vinegar

1 tblesp capers

1 pinch sugar

1 pinch salt

freshly ground black pepper

To cook the pancetta, place it between two sheets of greaseproof paper and press down. Place in a preheated oven at 170C and cook for 25 minutes until crispy. Turn the oven off, leave the door open and allow to cool. When removing from oven, the pancetta should stay stiff and straight. Leave to the side.

Cut the lettuce head into 6 and, holding each sixth, wash under running water without letting it lose its shape. Shake off excess water and place on a cloth to drip dry as a wedge. Then place on a plate and sprinkle with crumbled Young Buck blue cheese with an anchovy on top.

To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a clean jar. Place lid on top and shake vigorously, then drizzle over salad. Finish off by adding the strips of pancetta and serve.

MACARONI CHEESE

(Serves 4)

400g macaroni pasta

For the sauce:

800ml milk

½ onion, finely chopped

50g butter

50g plain flour

250g mature cheddar cheese, grated

400ml double cream

1 heaped teasp Dijon mustard

75g Parmesan, grated

salt and pepper to season.

Place the milk in a saucepan with the onion and bring to boil. In a second saucepan add the butter and melt, adding in the flour. Whisk until smooth, adding in the boiled milk slowly and always mixing vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Keep stirring and bring to the boil, before removing from the heat and adding in the cheese. Finally stir in the cream and mustard.

In a separate pot, place the pasta in a pot of boiling water and cook until it is just before al dente, as it will get cooked again when placed in oven. Drain the pasta and mix with the cheese sauce. Place in an ovenproof dish, top with grated Parmesan and bake at 180C until the top is golden.

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D.O.B