Author Q&A | Ben O'Donoghue

By
The Editor
Added
21 January, 2014

There are probably more grills fired up around the country on Australia Day than on any other day of the year. The ‘Australia Day BBQ’ has really come to characterise the holiday. What is your ideal way to spend Australia Day? And what are your favourite dishes to serve? 

Ideally I’d like to be with the family, down the beach having a picnic, swimming and relaxing. By the afternoon it would be time for a beer, and then firing up the old BBQ for a casual kind of affair. I’d like to take advantage of figs being in season and serve my Moreton Bay bugs with figs and pancetta kebabs

The humble sausage in bread is a stalwart of the Aussie BBQ. How do you feel about a plain ol’ snag in white bread? 

To be honest I’m pretty jaded by it – but never fear as you can easily tart up the humble sausage. Start with a good-quality coarse pork or beef mince sausage and slather it in caramelised onions, herb butter, mustard and homemade tomato relish. Or you can even be a bit cheeky and make it Mexican–style with Guacamole, sour cream, cheese and a hot habanero sauce

What’s your favourite Australia Day beverage? 

Definitely a cold beer. I’m really loving the Burleigh Heads 28 Pale Ale or the Bacchus Qld Ale from Bacchus Brewing, served from their little kegs. 

What tips would you give to someone who doesn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, but would like to serve something a little more interesting at their Australia Day party? 

Go to a really nice, good-quality deli and buy a load of salumi, cheese, olives, pâté – the works – and lay it out with some good crusty bread. Drink it with nice cleansing ale, or a beautiful Adelaide Hills sauv blanc or Clare Valley riesling and relax and enjoy! 

Do you have any vegetarian-friendly BBQ favourites? 

My Whole pumpkin biryani is a sure-fire winner. Other favourites are a mixed grill of vegetables slathered in dollops of goat's curd or labneh with fresh herbs. The Grilled tomatoes and cottage cheese salad is a crowed pleaser too. 

And finally, any advice for creating the ultimate seafood BBQ? 

Yes! Cook it whole – like a whole fish on the BBQ or perhaps large prawns with simple garlic butter. Make sure you keep it simple and keep it fresh. If you want to splash out, consider my Grilled lobsters with herb butter or Whole fish Thai style.

Ben O'Donoghue's latest cookbook is Ben's BBQ Bible

COOK MORE RECIPES FROM BEN'S BBQ BIBLE

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