Elizabeth Cathcart from Year 12, celebrates after being announced the overall NI young Cook of the Year for 2014. Elizabeth beat off strong competition from the other nine finalists at the Masterchef-style cook-off final in SacredHeartGrammar school, Newry by creating a two course meal using local dairy products. Aquinas Grammar has done the double in the competition as they have won each category for the second year in a row which has never been done before. Elizabeth picks up a certificates, cup and plaque in the different categories, £250 of Top Shop vouchers and £600 for the school Home Economics department. Elizabeth first learned to cook with her granny and enjoys making bread.  Her prize wining recipes can be found below or downloaded here: winning recipes


Spinach and Mushroom  quiche


Filling:                                                             Pastry


175g flat mushrooms                                                      200g plain flour

1 sprig of thyme                                                            Pinch of salt

1 tbsp olive oil                                                               100g Margarine

250g baby spinach leaves                                               2-3 tbsp very cold water

pinch nutmeg

125g ricotta cheese

1 tbsp. grainy mustard

2 egg yolks

150ml whipping or double cream

Butter for greasing

Sea salt and black pepper



  • Make pastry by rubbing in the margarine and flour and adding cold water, or alternatively make it in a food processor. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to line the tart tin. Cover with cling film and place into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes
  • Remove the pastry tart case from the fridge, cover with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Transfer to the oven and bake blind for 10 minutes
  • Remove paper and beans and bake for an additional 5 minutes
  • Place the mushrooms onto a baking tray, sprinkle over the thyme, drizzle over one tablespoon of the olive oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place into the oven to bake for 5 minutes
  • Heat a large frying pan until hot and add the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and the spinach and cover with a lid. Cook until the spinach has just wilted
  • Sieve cottage cheese into a bowl. Add the grainy mustard, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.
  • Spoon the mustard and cheese  mixture into the bottom of the tart case, top with the wilted spinach, and carefully place the roasted mushrooms on top.
  • Place the egg yolks and cream into a bowl, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and whisk together. Pour the egg mixture into the tart case.
  • Bake for 20 minutes



Fresh Irish Greens:

250g Mixed seasonal green leaves (spinach, cabbage and rocket)

2 cloves garlic

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tsp milk

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ lime

  • Place milk and olive oil in the pan with a whole clove of garlic
  • When the pan is up to heat remove the garlic
  • Add greens into the pan on a medium heat
  • Allow to soften
  • Season and squeeze in the juice of half a lime




Tomato and Basil soup

500g cherry tomatoes on the vine

100ml crème fraiche

2 large tomatoes or ¼ can tomatoes

½ large red chilli

2 cloves garlic

1 small red onion

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Bunch of fresh basil

Olive oil and Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  • Pull the tomatoes off the vines
  • Quarter the larger tomatoes, then put all the tomatoes into a roasting tray
  • Drizzle over a good lug of olive oil and season
  • Deseed the red chilli and add to the tray
  • Crush in the cloves of garlic.
  • Quickly toss everything, then put on the top shelf of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Peel and roughly chop the onions and put them into the hot saucepan with a lug of olive oil and a good pinch of salt.
  • Turn the heat up to medium and leave to soften
  • Stir 4tbsp balsamic vinegar into the onions and let it cook away and reduce down
  • Take the tray of tomatoes out of the oven and add everything to the pan of onions
  • Carefully pour the vegetables from the saucepan into a liquidiser
  • Add most of the basil along with the crème fraiche and whiz to a fairly rustic consistency
  • Season to taste and top with a dollop of crème fraiche, a few basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil