Ben’s Spring Rolls

Serves 4


4 medium potatoes peeled and quartered and boiled until tender

6 large leaves of Swiss chard, stalks and leaves separated

1 head Cavalo Nero leaves stripped from the stalk

1⁄4 Chinese cabbage finely shredded

1⁄2 Butter cabbage

1⁄2 Savoy cabbage

3 onions sliced

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

3 tablespoons curry powder

1 vegetable stock cube

1 litre sunflower oil

Sweet chilli sauce

Large rice paper roll wrappers


Blanche all of the cabbages except the Chinese cabbage in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and allow to cool. Once cool squeeze dry and chop. Set to one side. In a wok or large pot, heat two tablespoons of sunflower oil. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt, sauté until soft. Add the ginger, garlic, curry powder and vegetable stock cube and sauté until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Then add the chopped cabbages and sauté until the cabbage wilts down and the flavours blend well – about 5 minutes. Finally add the Chinese cabbage and boiled potatoes and stir well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. To make the spring rolls, soak the large rice paper roll wrappers in warm water until soft. Remove to a clean board and pat dry. Place two tablespoons of vegie mix in the centre of the rice paper. Fold over the bottom edge and gently pull firm. Fold in both edges and continue to roll into a cigar shape. Ensure that they are well sealed at the edges and the final fold and put on a tray. Repeat with the rest of the filling. You will get at least 20.Then heat the remaining sunflower oil in a work until hot (180 degrees) and fry the rice paper rolls a few at a time until golden and crisp. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.

Plum and Apple Crumble

DTA_Ep7_Apple and Plum Crumble

Makes large baking dish of crumble


750 g of Bramley or similar cooking apple, cored and peeled and cut into 1⁄4

500 g cherry plums

500 g Mirabelle plums

500 g Satsuma plums cut in half and stone removed

1 punnet of blackberries

2 cup caster sugar

1 lemon


150 g unsalted butter (cold)

3 cups plain flour

1.5 cup soft brown sugar

1 cup rolled oats

50 g linseeds

50 g sunflower seeds

50 g flaked coconut

50 g pumpkin seeds

1⁄2 teaspoon clove powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

1⁄2 cup of chopped dried fruit

Ice cream or custard


Firstly place the cut apple pieces into a large fry pan with 1 cup of sugar and the juice of 1lemon. Over a medium heat gently stew until the apple is tender and a little fluffy around the edges. Add a little water if the mixture is dry and not cooking evenly. Once cooked, remove from the heat into a large bowl. Place the plums into the same pan and add the sugar and add about two tablespoons of water and gently simmer until the plums just begin to soften. Remove from the heat and add to the apple. Add the blackberries to the fruit mixture and then fill a baking dish with the fruit mixture. To make the crumble rub the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers until it resembles very coarse sand. Combine with the brown sugar and the seeds, spices, coconut and dried fruit. Spread the top of the fruit mixture with a loose but thick coat of the crumble mixture and then bake at 180 degrees for 20 -25 minutes. Serve hot or warm with ice cream or custard.

Trout in a Bag

DTA_Ep9_Trout in a Bag


Recipe by Ben O’Donoghue

Serves 4


50 g butter

2 leeks, halved, washed and thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, chopped


Freshly ground white pepper

4 × 180 g fillets fish, skin off

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 telegraph cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons chopped dill

1⁄2 cup dry white wine

4 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise



Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat the butter in a saucepan add the leek and garlic. Gently sweat for 15 minutes, or until the leek is soft and without colour. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside and allow to cool. For even cooking, ensure your fish fillets are the same size and shape. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper. Cut out four squares of baking paper – you want the sheets to be around 30 cm × 42 cm wide. Preparing one sheet at a time, brush the centre of the paper with some olive oil and place a quarter of the leek mixture on top, followed by a fillet of fish. Arrange the cucumber slices over the top of the fish fillet, positioning them closely together so they look like fish scales. Squeeze with a little lemon juice and add a pinch of dill. Fold over one side of the paper to envelop the fish, making sure not to displace the cucumber slices. Using scissors, trim the two open edges into semicircles. Crimp the bottom and top edge together making firm creases to seal the parcel. Crimp most of the semi circle leaving the last 3cm unsealed, the parcel should resemble a pasty. I like to blow air into the bag to puff it up. Pour in a little white wine, and then continue crimping the last corner to completely seal the parcel. Twist the ends to secure and place the parcel on a baking tray. Complete the remaining three parcels. Place the tray in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. The bags should puff up if you have sealed them well. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the parcels to rest for 2–3 minutes. Make the sauce by mixing the Japanese mayo with the remaining chopped dill and lemon juice. To serve simple cut open the parcel and peel back the top, presenting the fish inside the parcel and topped with a dollop of the herb mayo. Serve with steamed spinach.

Salmon with Warm Olive Sauce

Recipe by Ben O’Donoghue 

DTA_Ep5_Salmon w Warm Olive Sauce


Serves 4


4x 180-200gm fillet portions of salmon (skin on)
2 bunches of asparagus


1 firmly packed cup of mixed mount zero olives (pitted)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon anchovy fillets (chopped)
2 tablespoons of chopped capers
100ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml of pure cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley
Juice of one lemon


To make the sauce heat the olive oil in a pot. When hot add the olive and gently fry until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Then add the garlic, anchovy and capers and fry for another 1-2 minutes. When the flavours have blended add the cream and remove from the heat and stir well. Add the chopped herbs and lemon juice. Season the fish on the skin side and place into a non-stick pan skin side down. Cook on a medium heat until the fish is halfway cooked. The flesh will change to a whitish color as it cooks) turn the fish over and turn of the heat and allow to rest in the pan. Boil the asparagus at this point until tender. Drain and divide between four plates. By this time the salmon will be perfectly cooked to medium. Spoon the sauce between each plate and garnish with a little extra chopped herbs.

Gnocchi Romano

Recipe by Ben O’Donoghue 


Serves 4


3⁄4 cup of semolina
3 cups of milk
1 bay leaf
1 carrot chopped
1 celery stick chopped
1 medium onion skinned and chopped
2 teaspoons of chopped thyme
Pinch of nutmeg
100 g butter grated
2 egg yolks
100 g Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons of rough chopped parsley
1 lemon
100 ml pure cream
500 g mixed mushrooms (oyster, pink oyster, king brown, enoki, wood ear, pine or slippery
jacks) brushed clean and sliced


To make the gnocchi, combine the milk with the chopped vegetables, 1 teaspoon of thyme and bay leaf and gently simmer for 10 minutes to infuse all the flavour. Then pass the milk through a sieve into pot and return to the heat. Simmer again and then whisk in the semolina and stir until thick. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. While still hot whisk in the egg yolks and 1⁄2 the grated Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper and then spread the thick semolina over the tray so that it is about 2-3cm thick. Then allow it to cool. Once cool, cut the gnocchi dough into circles using a round pastry cutter, reforming any trim so as to use all the semolina. Rub a baking dish with butter and then arrange the semolina gnocchi slightly overlapping. Dot the top of the gnocchi with half the butter and more Parmesan cheese. Place the baking dish into a medium hot oven and bake until golden brown.

While the gnocchi bakes, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan and add the garlic and thyme. Then add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms soften. Then add the cream, salt and pepper and simmer to slightly thicken. Finally add the chopped parsley and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Once the gnocchi is out of the oven pour the mushroom sauce over the gnocchi and finish with a grating of Parmesan cheese.

Smoked Duck Caesar Salad

Recipe by Ben O’Donogue

DTA_Ep8_Smoked Duck Caesar Salad

Serves 4


Two heads of firm cos lettuce

200 g pancetta lardoons (1 cm x 1 cm x 3 cm strips)

100 g sourdough cubes (crust removed)

100 g parmesan cheese

1 hot smoked duck breast

6 fillets of white anchovies (optional)

Olive oil



3 large free-range eggs

2 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

250 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley



To make the dressing, place the eggs in boiling water for 3 minutes. Then remove and run under cool water to cool sufficiently to handle. Crack the eggs and spoon out the contents into a large bowl. Pound the garlic with a teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Add the garlic to the eggs along with the vinegar and mustard. Whisk together well and then add the olive oil whisking continuously to combine well. Add the chopped parsley and set aside. Fry the pancetta in two tablespoons of olive oil until very crispy and remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Then fry the croutons in the same oil until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Clean the fry pan and fry the duck breast skin side down over a medium heat until the skin is crisp and golden. Remove from the pan and rest.

To make the salad, remove all the large outer leaves. Separate the nice white leaves and wash in cold water and then drain well. In a large bowl toss the leaves with 1⁄2 the dressing and then arrange on a serving platter, slice the duck breast length ways into thin strips and arrange over the lettuce, dress with the remaining dressing and then scatter with the pancetta and croutons. Finally shave the parmesan over the salad with a potato peeler.

Homemade Crumpets




300g plain flour

1 teaspoon caster sugar

7g sachet dried yeast

200ml milk, room temperature

200ml soda water, room temperature

1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray

Budjerrum ginger spread, to serve


Sift the flour, caster sugar and yeast into a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then add the soda water and whisk until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 11⁄2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Beat in the bicarb and salt. Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan or the griddle plate on your barbecue until medium–hot. Oil or spray the inside of the crumpet rings, as well as the pan or barbecue plate. Place the rings on the cooking surface, making sure they are evenly flat. Spoon 3–31⁄2 tablespoons of batter into each ring and gently cook for 6–7 minutes, or until the batter is set and covered with little holes. Turn the crumpets over and cook for another 2 minutes.

Recipe by Ben O’Donoghue