‘A Dish From Dean’ – Wild Mushroom & Thyme Arancini with Pesto Mayo

By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 30 September, 2018

This week’s ‘A Dish From Dean’ is a real autumnal treat – Wild Mushroom and Thyme Arancini with Pesto Mayo. Please feel free to share with your friends. This is a lovely dish and you can flavour these Arancini or rice balls with anything, even leftover ham and peas. Enjoy our recipes from Live It Experience It.

It’s Sunday morning and we are back with a simple, yet absolutely delicious dish from Chef Dean Coppard. Dean has had a very few busy weeks as he’s been cooking at the Tesco Taste Festival in Belfast, Country Comes To Town in Portadown ahead of Jenny Bristow and of course he’s keeping customers happy in his not so 9-5.

The Tesco Taste Festival is one of the biggest annual food festivals in Northern Ireland and the demonstration stage is always full of chefs who are selected to entertain an audience while using local products to create stunning dishes. Dean was delighted to take a prime afternoon spot demonstrating his ability, as a brand ambassador, and chef, to deliver an entertaining demonstration to a wide demographic. And he didn’t disappoint.

And, in Portadown, at Country Comes To Down, which takes place in the middle of Food Heartland country, Dean uses the stage to show his audience the many local products available which we can all use in our cooking.

So, enjoy this week’s recipe and if you have a go you can email us your pictures to hello@liveitexperienceit.com

Dean Coppard is a Live It Experience It member

Wild mushroom & thyme Arancini with pesto mayo

For the Arancini

250g of aborio rice

50g of wild mushrooms

3 medium sized eggs

50g of grated parmesan

200ml of vegetable stock

2 sprigs of thyme

200g of Panko breadcrumb


In a heavy bottom pan heat the vegetable stock and add the aborio rice, cook until the rice absorbs the stock and then set aside to cool. Once cool place the risotto, wild mushrooms, parmesan, eggs, 50g of breadcrumb and thyme in a bowl and mix together, working a tablespoon size of rice mixture into balls roll them in the remaining breadcrumb and set aside.


For the Pesto Mayo:

200g of basil leaves

100g parmesan

400ml olive oil

50g of pine nuts

2 smashed garlic cloves

1 teaspoon of salt


Place the basil, garlic, parmesan and pine nuts in a food processor and blend. Add the olive oil slowly until a smooth paste consistency is achieved and then season with salt. Add 200ml to 200ml of mayo to achieve a punchy flavor.


To Assemble:

Cook the breaded rice balls in a saucepan full of 500ml of boiling vegetable oil and swallow fry until golden brown, place a good dollop of mayo in a bowl and arrange the Arancini, sprinkle a pinch of seasalt on top.




Giant Tours Ireland is a Live It Experience It Member


Live It Experience It’ is a group of tourism businesses working together to promote our region through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. If you would like to become a member business in our ‘Live It Experience It’ cluster please submit your information through our online form –  Sign Up Here. Pitch your business and meet like minded tourism businesses who you could cluster with. #liveitexperienceit


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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps. Eleanor is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at Associate Level