I think I overdid it this past weekend. Roast dinners with all the fixings, indulgent brunches and the chocolate - oh good Lord, the chocolate.

If I donated my body to science, they would probably find me to be around 70% chocolate instead of water at this stage.

After big holidays such as Christmas and Easter, I crave lighter, easier meals. Preferably, meals I can make without having to go to the shop.

Luckily, after these bigger holidays, I usually have some great Irish farmhouse cheeses still in my fridge.

I like Cooleeney cheese a lot and, lucky me, they are only down the road from our farm.

While some of their cheeses are easily found in most Irish supermarkets, one of my favourites is their Darú.

Made with cows' milk, creamy in flavour and firmer than their other cheeses, Darú does very well in a tart. And the easiest tart in the world is a galette.

Daru cheese is delicious in this galette, but if you can't find it, use Gubbeen or an Italian taleggio. / Janine Kennedy

What's a galette? It's a type of open-faced tart, generally baked on a baking sheet instead of a tart tin.

You make a galette by rolling shortcrust or puff pastry into a large circle, piling ingredients into the centre and then gently folding the edges of the pastry up and around so the filling can't escape.

If you're new to making tarts, this is a good one to start with. Even if you've been making tarts forever, a galette is a great option for when you're in a hurry.

I always make my own shortcrust pastry (using the 3-2-1 method: three parts flour, two parts fat, one part liquid) but shop-bought prepared pastry works really well here too.

Darú is quite rich, so I like to pair it with sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme. You can use whichever tomatoes you have on hand - it's also nice with sundried tomatoes or roasted red peppers.

If you can't find Darú cheese, you can use an Italian taleggio or, keeping things Irish, a nice bit of Gubbeen.

Serve the galette with a light green salad with a zingy lemon vinaigrette.

Cherry tomato and Darú galette

This cherry tomato and cooleeney galette is a great light dinner option after an indulgent Easter weekend. / Janine Kennedy

Serves 4-6


One recipe pie dough, chilled (or one package of shop-bought shortcrust pastry)

200g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 small wheel (300g) Cooleeney Darú cheese

1 tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper

A drizzle of good-quality olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil

One egg, beaten


1 Preheat your oven to 200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2 In a bowl, add the halved cherry tomatoes, chopped thyme, sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat the tomatoes and set aside.

3 Remove the rind and crumble the cheese. Set aside.

4 Roll out your pastry to about 2cm thickness. If you want a clean-looking galette (as pictured), you can trim the edges with a pizza cutter to make a neat circle. For a more rustic look, don’t bother.

5 Place the rolled pastry on to the baking sheet and arrange the seasoned tomatoes in the centre. Top with the crumbled cheese.

6 Fold the sides over the filling, leaving the centre part exposed.

7 Brush the exposed dough with the beaten egg.

8 Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes (check at 30 minutes to be safe). The crust should be flaky and golden brown, the cheese should be bubbly and the tomatoes cooked through.

9 Sprinkle more flaky sea salt and fresh thyme over the top and drizzle a bit more olive oil.

10 Serve hot or warm with a simple salad.

Read more

Janine's jammy Easter doughnuts

Celebrate the nice weather with this spring greens pasta