Spring cooking with Dannielle Mills

Photography by Bryce GleesonPhotography by Bryce GleesonPhotography by Bryce Gleeson

Asparagus is wonderful at the moment and we have some delicious citrus for a little longer before it makes way for summer fruits. Blood orange is a dramatic fruit that is at home in sweet and savoury dishes. Asparagus is perfect for lighter meals as we throw off the winter layers and get ready for summer weather.

Photography by Bryce Gleeson

Photography by Bryce Gleeson

Asparagus, egg and herb salsa salad

1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp capers, rinsed and finely chopped
1tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
(plus 2tbs for frying)
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbs olive oil
2 eggs
2 bunches of asparagus
salt & pepper

On the stove place two medium size pots of water on high heat to boil.

Make the salsa Place the parsley, chives, dill and garlic in a bowl with capers, red wine vinegar and ½ cup olive oil. Mix to combine, season and set aside.

Fry the breadcrumbs Place a pan on medium heat and add 2tbs olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs and stir for 2-3 minutes until the mixture has browned evenly. Tranfer to a bowl, season and set aside.

Boil the eggs carefully lower the eggs into one pot of boiling water. Cook for 7 minutes for soft boiled eggs. Once cooked, remove the eggs and place straight into a bowl of iced water to cool. Once cooled, peel and cut in half.

Cook the asparagus Trim the thicker end slightly and place into the second pot of boiling water. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 3 minutes. Remove and season with salt and pepper.

Place asparagus on a serving plate. top with breadcrumbs, herb salsa and the eggs. Garnish with extra sprigs of dill.


Photography by Bryce Gleeson

Duck salad with radicchio, witlof and blood orange

2 duck breasts
2 heads of witlof
1/2 head of radichho
2 tbs dukkah
2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs pomegranate molasses
1 tsp red wine vinegar

reheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced).

Cook the duck Place a pan on medium heat. Trim any excess fat from the duck breast and place skin side down in the pan (no oil required). Let the skin slowly brown for 4-5 minutes

Once golden brown, place skin side down on a baking tray and cook in oven for 7 minutes. Cover in foil and set aside to rest.

Make the salad Tear the witlof and radicchio into large pieces, wash well.

Make the dressing Place oil, molasses and vinegar into a screw top jar and shake well. Alternatively, place ingredients into a bowl and whisk well.

Once the duck has rested, slice into bite-size pieces.

To assemble, place salad leaves on each plate, top with sliced duck, sprinkle the dukkah and drizzle with dressing. Top with blood orange segments.


Photography by Bryce Gleeson

 Asparagus Orecchiette

400g Orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small fresh chilli, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, sliced into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs (such as dill, chives, parsley)
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add 2tbs of salt. When at a rapid boil, add pasta, cook for 11 minutes and drain.

Cook the asparagus While the pasta is cooking, place a large pan on medium to high heat. Add 2 tbs of the olive oil, the garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes until tender.

Add the pasta, remaining olive oil, mixed herbs and lemon zest. Toss well to combine. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Photography by Bryce Gleeson

Photography by Bryce Gleeson

Elderflower and Earl Grey pannacotta with blood orange caramel

1 1/2 sheets of titanium-strength gelatine
375ml thickened cream
140ml full fat milk
90g caster sugar
1tbs Earl Grey tea leaves
30ml St Germain elderflower liqueur
1Tbs earl grey tea leaves

Blood orange caramel
The juice of 2 blood oranges
150g caster sugar

To serve
5 blood oranges, peeled and sliced Garden cress (optional)

Make the pannacotta Soak gelatine leaves in iced water until softened.
In a saucepan combine cream, milk, sugar, tea leaves and liqueur. Stir and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let sit for 1 minute, bringing the temperature down slightly.

Half fill a large bowl with ice. Squeeze excess water from the gelatine sheets and stir the gelatine into the warmed cream mixture until it has completely dissolved. Strain the mixture into a bowl and place it into the ice-filled bowl to cool slightly. This process stops the mixture separating. Once the mixture has come just below blood temperature pour the mixture into 10 125ml dariole moulds and refrigerate overnight.

Make the caramel Place the sugar into a small saucepan over a medium heat. As the sugar starts to melt, stir occasionally to make sure it is colouring evenly. When the sugar reaches a dark golden colour slowly pour in the orange juice. Turn the heat down low and let the mixture melt together and combine. This takes about 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

To serve Place 6-8 slices of blood orange in a circle on a plate. Dip a mould quickly into hot water, turn it upside down and use your fingers to gently separate the pannacotta. Place it onto the blood orange and drizzle with the blood orange caramel. Garnish with garden cress for some colour.
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