This is the cookbook that started my addiction to Donna Hay recipes. The recipes in the book are packed with flavour and are designed with time on your side. I enjoy this book so much, I’ve even bought this for my close friends – so I definitely recommend it if you’re looking to add a new title to your collection. I thought it would be fun to do a review of the book and share some recipes which I’ve enjoyed creating.
So let’s get right into the review!
The book is a softback with glossy pages – this is important folks. We like good paper textures. I love that all the recipes have photographs for easy selection – and one page holds a few recipes as they are written in one paragraph format. That’s how simple they are! No essays, no complication – just simple, and delicious cooking.
The book has the following chapters:
- Assembled dinners
- Cheats 1: breakfast and brunch
- Fast flavour
- Cheats 2: marinades and rubs
- One pan
- Cheats 3: salad sides
- One pot
- Cheats 4: sauces and salsas
- One dish
- Cheats 5: vegetable sides
- Some now, some later
- Cheats 6: nibbles
- Instant desserts
- Cheats 7: sweet treats
These are pretty self explanatory, my favourite chapters are the one pan, one pot and one dish sections, and of course – instant desserts.
Broccoli and Bacon Soup
When choosing which recipes to cook for this review, the broccoli and bacon soup was an obvious choice as it features my favourite vegetable, broccoli, and Moo’s favourite vegetable – bacon (I’ve seen him eat chicken as a salad). Needless to say – this was a hit. It was ready in an hour – which is perfect for mid-week meals.
Serves: 2 now, 2 later
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 4 rashers bacon, rind removed, chopped
- 400g potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 400g broccoli, chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
Place onion and bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until well browned. Remove onion and bacon from saucepan and set aside. Put potato and stock in the pan, bring to the boil, add broccoli and cook for 8 minutes or until broccoli and potatoes are soft. Place soup in a blender or use a stick mixer to blend until smooth. Add onion and bacon, mint, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Ladle into bowls to serve. To freeze, place in an airtight container, seal and freeze for up to three months.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): This dish received a 9.5/10 – hubby said the only thing he would change is he would add a chilli.
Rustic Simmered Chicken
I love one-pot recipes – and I love coq au vin! This recipe took 1 hour and 20 minutes to
make and was delicious! We used a Chenin/Sauvignon blanc blend for the wine and it was perfect. The only additional step I did was at the end I wanted the consistency a little thicker and creamier, so I put some of the sauce into a ramekin with a heaped tablespoon of cornflour, mixed this and stirred it back into the sauce. I then let it cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 slices pancetta, chopped
- 4 x 140g chicken thigh fillets, halved
- plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
- 200g small button mushrooms
- 4 baby potatoes, quartered
- 125ml dry white wine
- 250ml chicken stock
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig tarragon
- 125ml cream
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil, leek, garlic and pancetta and cook for 1 minute or until golden. Dust chicken with flour and cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden. Add mushrooms, cook for 2 minutes. Add potatoes, wine, stock, thyme and tarragon, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Stir in cream, salt and pepper.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): This dish received a 8/10 – hubby said he loves this, and it only lost two points because he really loves the usual coq au riesling recipe that we make (which takes a bit longer).
Below is the recipe as is from the book. I don’t own egg rings – so I used my mini fluted flan dishes, which are about 11cm in diameter – base mixture was enough for 2, however I had more ganache leftover for more. I wouldn’t classify this as an instant dessert, as you need to let it set, but it could be done in under 2 hours.
- 60g desiccated coconut
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 egg white
- Chocolate ganache filling:
- 140g dark chocolate, chopped
- 160ml cream
Preheat the oven to 140°C. Combine coconut, sugar and egg white in a bowl and mix well.. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and place 6 greased 7.5cm diameter egg rings on the sheet. Press the coconut mixture into the egg rings to make an even shell on the base and sides. Bake for 20 minutes or until the shells are lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before removing the rings and filling with chocolate filling. To make the chocolate ganache filling, combine chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and cool before pouring into the shells. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until filling sets.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): 7/10. The taste was good, however Moo only tasted this the next day, and it was a tad too firm. I think if you ate this after making it… It could be a real treat!
Other recipes I have made (repeatedly) from the book include:
- Egg rolls
- Mushroom tarte tatin
- Lamb cutlets with pine nut crust
- Lemon salmon pasta
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, if you have this book, I’d love to hear your favourite recipes or recommendations!