Domini Kemp’s recipes for her death row meal

As our resident head chef finishes up her monthly column, Domini Kemp shares the recipes she’d want to eat for her very last meal. Photography by Dean Carroll.

Fillet steak with café de paris beurre blanc

Writing a recipe column is an absolute privilege, but one that requires much cogitation - the initial search for recipes, seeking feedback and general blessing from editors, then the precise back and forth deciding what should go in, how it fits in with the rest of the magazine and how the dishes might be styled.

Random weather (which means wintery recipes for stew don’t land with readers when the sun is splitting the skies in February) coupled with how we’re feeling at a particular time of the year all have an impact as to whether a recipe will encourage you to cook it. The list of considerations is a long one and requires a great bunch of people who are patient and generous perfectionists.

I’ve had a dream team over the past three years – so my biggest and sincere thanks to Gillian, Emma, Elaine, Jordan and Dean, plus – on occasion – the talented Ruth who would fill in for Dean at the drop of a hat.

We always shot the pictures in my house, where the usual swarm of family members (and pets) skirted around the edges of the monthly shoots. Leftovers were distributed as much as possible and if I was lucky, would feed aforementioned family and friends, who would pile in to give their verdict whilst munching on Christmas dinner leftovers – sometimes in September.

Looking back over all of the columns of the last three years, some real crackers stood out and although similar to a singer listening to (and praising) their own tracks, re-cooking a recipe that’s featured in this column feels like a self-praise I wouldn’t want to be caught doing too often.

However, on occasion I do listen to my own records: the apple galette (November 2023) made an appearance at a recent Sunday lunch and was devoured by a Michelin chef, who was caught polishing off the last bits of the galette whilst pretending to get wine out of the fridge. Job done.

Feeding people delicious food makes me happy. Sometimes in the heat and hassle of prep, you lose the first impression of a dish that your guests savour and you can never re-capture it after tasting several iterations of your dish. But that’s your job when you’re a cook.

Please enjoy these death row versions of some of my favourites. A Caesar salad (made better with crushed capers in the dressing), a steak with the most divine café de Paris beurre blanc, which is Ted Ostel’s secret sauce.

Yes, you heard that right – a café de Paris compound butter just wasn’t enough, so Ted, who is the head chef at Lottie’s in Rathmines, pimps it up into a beurre blanc, with gherkins, anchovies and herbs. Plus lots and lots of beurre.

The pommes Anna is so good that I made it twice over Christmas and each time, I considered my low-carb lifestyle a bit lofty in comparison to these spuds. To finish, tiramisu – I am a sucker for it and chef Mark Moriarty’s tip to use a little sea salt elevates it very nicely.

Dear reader, thank you for reading.

All recipes serve a generous two.

Perfect Caesar salad

Perfect Caesar salad

The crouton recipe here makes enough for two portions, but I often make more with stale loaves of sourdough and they keep really well in a sealed jar for a couple of weeks as long as they’re cooled fully before storing. These are evil, especially when drowned in the Caesar dressing


For the dressing

2 egg yolks

1 small tbsp Dijon

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Few good pinches Maldon salt

100-150ml olive oil

2 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp capers, crushed

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Tonnes of black pepper

For the salad

100g finely grated Parmesan

1-2 heads cos lettuce, washed and torn or chopped roughly

For the croutons

3-4 slices (about 300g) very nice sourdough or country boule bread

3 tbsp olive oil

50g butter

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper


1. Mix the egg yolks with the Dijon and garlic, add the salt, then slowly whisk in about half of the oil. At this point, add the vinegar (which should loosen the emulsion) and return to whisking the rest of the oil. Add the lemon zest and juice, plus the capers. Season and you can add another 30-50ml olive oil and at some point, season with Worcestershire sauce and lots of black pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

2. To make the croutons, preheat your oven to 140C and cut the bread into little bite-sized pieces. Heat up the oil and butter in a non-stick pan until the butter is foaming and add in the bread. Stir and try to evenly coat the bread with the oil and butter. Let the croutons turn golden brown and keep them moving about, otherwise they will burn quickly. Once they have started to colour, remove from the heat, add in the cloves of garlic and season well. Mix around then transfer onto a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, occasionally shaking them around in the tray, until golden brown. Allow them to cool.

3. To serve, toss together the cos lettuce, croutons, a handful of grated Parmesan and a few spoonfuls of dressing. Top with more Parmesan and black pepper, if you like, then tuck in.

Fillet steak with café de Paris beurre blanc


200g butter

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

½ celery stick, finely chopped

Salt and black pepper

1 sprig thyme

1 sprig rosemary

2 tbsp white wine

1 tbsp good quality white wine vinegar

50ml cream

1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp tomato purée

5 anchovies, finely chopped

1 tbsp capers, finely chopped

2 gherkins, finely chopped

Pinch caster sugar

Small bunch flat leaf parsley and chives, finely chopped

For the steak

2 fillet steaks

2-3 tbsp olive oil

Few sprigs thyme

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Lots of sea salt and black pepper

Good pinch dried thyme

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 good tbsp ghee

1 tbsp butter

Handful bitter leaves as garnish, tossed in a little olive oil and salt


1. Marinate the steaks in everything except the butter, ghee and garnish. Leave them in the fridge for anything from an hour to overnight. Turn them occasionally so that they get well coated in flavour.

2. To make the café de paris beurre blanc, heat up half the butter and sweat the shallots, garlic and celery with until soft and not coloured. Season lightly.

3. Add the white wine and vinegar along with the rosemary and thyme then reduce over a high heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the cream and bring to a boil, then simmer for 3-5 minutes until the shallots and celery are super-soft. Remove the thyme and rosemary stalks and blitz the sauce until smooth.

4. Put the sauce back on a low heat and whisk in the mustard, tomato purée, anchovies and capers. Whisk in the remaining butter, ideally in small cubes and you’ll be left with a super-rich and delicious sauce. Add a few splashes of water if it’s too thick and a little pinch of caster sugar to soften all those salty flavours. Add the finely chopped herbs at at the last minute before serving the steak.

5. To cook the steaks, first bring them to room temperature and then heat up the ghee in chargrill pan until very hot. Fry the steaks on one side for a minute or so. When they have released their fibres, they will flip over easily. If they are sticking to the pan, leave them be as they will release themselves when they are ready. Once you have a good crust on each side, add the knob of butter.

6. Start regularly flipping the steaks every 30 seconds and reduce the heat. When you are happy with the colour, turn off the heat, move the pan to a colder part of the cooker and leave the steaks to rest there for another few minutes. The steaks should still seem tender, fleshy and this entire cooking process should only have taken about 8 minutes for medium-rare. Leave them to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the warm sauce and dressed leaves.

Pommes Anna with garlic and thyme

Pommes Anna with garlic and thyme


100ml olive oil

8 garlic cloves, peeled

100g butter, melted


Few sprigs thyme

80g Parmesan, very finely grated

3-4 large potatoes


1. Preheat your oven to 170C. Very gently heat the olive oil in a pot over a low and gently confit the garlic until super soft, then remove the garlic from the oil (which you’ll keep) and blitz with the melted butter, some thyme leaves and half the Parmesan, plus a good pinch salt. Set aside.

2. Peel then slice the potatoes as thinly as you can – about 600g is ideal. A mandolin makes this a lot easier, but you can of course use a knife if you don’t have one.

3. Heat up a tablespoon of the garlic olive oil in a small ovenproof saucepan, then layer up the slices of potato so they overlap and cover the base of the saucepan. Brush with the blitzed confit garlic mix, then add a sprinkle of Parmesan, season and repeat.

4. Once all the potatoes are used up, fry until you’ve got some colour on the base. Then top with some parchment paper and bake in the oven until super tender (about 20 minutes). Allow to settle for about 5-10 mins and invert carefully onto a plate (be careful of hot oil and butter). Serve slices whilst still warm.




3 eggs, separated

100g caster sugar

400g mascarpone

3 tbsp Baileys or Tia Maria

Good pinch Maldon salt

Few drops vanilla extract

350ml coffee made with instant espresso

150ml amaretto

300g sponge fingers

1 tbsp cocoa powder

50g dark chocolate


1. Whisk the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of sugar until you get soft peaks. Set aside.

2. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until voluminous and doubled in size, then mix in the mascarpone and Baileys with a pinch salt and the vanilla,

3. Fold the egg whites into the yolks, then mix the coffee (it’s okay to leave it a little warm) with the amaretto.

4. Dunk the lady fingers into the egg mix and work quickly: layer the sponge fingers into your chosen dish, layer up with the creamy mixture, then repeat. Chill for a few hours or even overnight and serve in glasses. Grate dark chocolate and dust cocoa powder over the top just before serving.