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Cooking from DONNA HAY’S COOKBOOKS AND MAGAZINES – Please join us!

There’s been some interest in starting a thread to share experiences in cooking and baking from Donna Hay’s cookbooks and magazines so I’m excited to be setting up this thread. I really hope folks join in!

Donna Hay is one of my favourite cookbook authors. I have all her books except for her kids books.

For those who aren’t familiar w this Aussie, she’s a cookbook author, food writer and magazine editor at Marie Claire magazine. She also has a tv series, an amazing website and, her own line of Housewares including lines with Royal Doulton.

Never mind all that though, it’s her cookbooks and magazines we’re here to discuss so without further adieu, let’s get cooking!!

For anyone who doesn’t own DH’s books but may be curious about her, here’s a link to her website. Check out her recipes there, many are from her books and magazines and all your experiences would be welcomed here:


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    Yum! We’re off to a great start with this quick and easy recipe. I had some freshly made ricotta that I picked up at an Italian market yesterday so a search in EYB for ricotta and chicken landed me here w this recipe.

    Prep is quick. Basil, parsley & oregano are chopped (my oregano was dried). Herbs are tossed in a bowl along w lemon zest, ricotta, salt & pepper. Ingredients are combined and stuffed into pockets you’ve cut into boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Chicken pieces go into a casserole dish and are topped w a 14oz can of tomatoes, garlic and a little chx stock. Into the oven this goes until the chicken is done. Ours took 35mins at 355°.

    mr bc couldn’t wait for this to come out of the oven. The aromas coming from the oven greeted him at the door. The chicken was juicy and flavourful. The herb-infused ricotta was creamy and decadent, blending beautifully w the tomato sauce. I served this atop steamed rice but it would be delicious with polenta or pasta too. I’ll happily make this again.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      This chicken dish is gorgeous! Now I want to eat it too :) What is the ratio of ricotta to chicken, BC? This dish reminds me of an old Martha's recipe that I used to make back in 90s (sans tomatoes); there was spinach mixed in with ricotta and chicken, I think, had the skin on.

      I will stop by the library and get one of DH books - which one would you suggest I get?

      1. re: herby

        Thanks herby! It was delicious. There is 3/4 c. (6oz) of ricotta and my chx breasts were likely about 6 oz each.

        I'd suggest you flip through a few of her books and see what appeals to you herby. I have such a strong bias towards DH and I don't really think you can go wrong. Off The Shelf was my first DH book and I still love it today so if you see that, take a look and see what you think.

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Did you use four breasts to 6oz ricotta? Sounds about right :)

          I'll stop by the library tomorrow and flip through the books that my branch has. Will let you know which book I've chosen to bring home :)

      2. re: Breadcrumbs

        OK-I did 2 ricotta stuffed chicken breasts tonite. I used toothpicks to kind of close the pockets, but the mixture stayed in quite well even where it gapped a little. I used only about 8 ounces of the tomatoes. I had some mushrooms that I didn't have plans for so I sautéed them, added a knob of butter and a splash of wine and poured them on top before they went into the oven. The breasts were pretty big and cooked at 355 for nearly 40 minutes. They were flavorful and juicy and I can tell that it's a recipe I will be able to play with. I might try it with a sharper cheese mixed with the ricotta. Husband loved it! A pretty dish too. I'll see if I can attach a couple of pics. This was fun. I hope Donna Hay has lots of these kinds of forgiving recipes that lend themselves to playing around. Thanks breadcrumbs!

          1. re: rstuart

            My husband ate all of his and half of mine. I'm not suggesting he's a connoisseur, but I'll make this again because he loved it so much!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          RICOTTA (Feta) AND HERB (Preserved Lemon) BAKED CHICKEN

          I had some ricotta and a chicken breast in the fridge and decide to make this recipe which I found here: http://thechocolatepot.blogspot.ca/20...

          Only my ricotta turned bad... Since I already had my heart set on it I improvised and the dish turned very different but never-the-less delicious. I made the stuffing with feta, preserved lemon, parsley and a bit of crème fraiche to bind it together, spread the filling over thinly pounded chicken breast and rolled it up. Cut cherry tomatoes and garlic into the baking dish, added couple of splashes of Arak, put chicken on top, drizzled olive oil, sprinkled a bit of salt and baked at 375F for about 40 min. Served with leftover rice and steamed swiss chard. Yum-O :)

        2. I love Donna Hay! I have quite a collection of her magazines, as well as 3 cookbooks. Unfortunately, I just lent the cookbooks to a friend, and the magazines are boxed up, in preparation for a move on Saturday. Will this be an ongoing thread? I'd love to participate once I get unpacked.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pavlova

            Absolutely pavola, all the best with your move and can't wait to have you back in the kitchen w us!!

          2. breadcrumbs,

            This is an exciting idea! Just to be clear, this will be an ongoing thread that will stick with Donna Hay and all her books/recipes? No specific timeframe or agenda?
            I have heard of Ms. Hay but don't own any of her books. A quick scan of reviews on Amazon gives me a very good feeling. If I got 2 or 3 what would be your recommendations? I liked the look of Cooking from the Pantry and see that her books are very reasonable. I'm a little OCD and prefer to read books in order.
            The chicken dish sounds simple & tasty and reminds me I'm going to make ricotta sometime soon.

            Good luck on your launch!

            2 Replies
            1. re: ItalianNana

              Welcome ItalianNana! Yes, this will just be an ongoing thread, pop in for a visit or cook-along any time you like!

              If you are going for 2 or 3 I'd definitely go w Off The Shelf because it's timeless and I've made so many great recipes from it. Modern Classics 1&2 would give you a book devoted to cooking and #2 is devoted to baking. If you need to get food on the table really quickly though, I'd go for the Instant Cook or No Time to Cook. If you entertain, DH's Entertaining and Instant Entertaining are sensational....

              sorry, I've likely made it worse!!

              1. re: Breadcrumbs


                No indeed, you've told me just what I need to know!

            2. Thanks Breadcrumbs! I'm looking forward to reading this.. and maybe contributing!

              1 Reply
              1. I'm a huge Donna Hay fan, I am very up for this! My favourite Donna book is actually a Marie Claire cookbook called Flavours. It's pretty old but still seems fresh and so many of my favourite recipes come from it. I've given it so many times as a gift to friends.

                I'm new to chowhound so not quite sure what I do, cook some of her recipes, reference them, review and post a photo?

                3 Replies
                1. re: helen_m

                  Welcome aboard helen and I'm super excited to have another DH fan here!

                  I'd love to hear about some of your favourite recipes from Flavours.

                  Please feel free to post as you wish with as much or as little detail as you see fit. A photo would be great but I totally recognize not everyone has time or interest in posting them so just do what works best for you.

                  Welcome to Chowhound & this thread!

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Thank you for the welcome! All my cookery books are somewhere in the Atlantic as I've just moved from the UK to DC but we should be reunited at the end of the month. In the meantime I have a Donna Hay magazine (spring edition) and have treated myself to the iPad subscription too so I can start cooking from those.

                  2. re: helen_m

                    hi helen
                    Welcome :-D I'm fairly new here. It's a wonderful site, with many knowledgable, happy-to-share members! Donna Hay is not currently on my shelf, a situation I am remedying. In case you haven't found the Home Cooking DOTM (dish of the month) thread, check it out. In fact you can still vote thru tomorrow.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/895810 (hmmm, my link doesn't look clickable.)

                  3. Thanks so much for starting this thread bc. It will give me some incentive to try the book I have but haven't used, and an excuse to bake more from the baking book (which I LOVE).

                    That chicken looks really heavenly.

                    1. I'm going to cut and paste a few reviews from DH's Classics 2 (I find it a bit easier than having to keep toggling back and forth). Hope that is ok.

                      LITTLE APRICOT (PEACH) TEA CAKES - my first foray into the book, even though it wasn't on my original "must make" list. It was easy, it looked and sounded good, and Lulu was excited about it. I'm very impressed. Again, very easy cakes - only dirtied the mixer, no extra bowls. Baked in cupcake wrappers, so very little clean up there, and ... the cakes are wonderful. Lulu just said "I think this cake part is the best cake I've ever had." Mine took about 15 minutes longer to bake than she suggested, so that might be something I need to watch out for, but other than that I'm raring to go on some of the other recipes.

                      OATY ANZAC BISCUITS. These have been out of the oven for about 15 minutes and the 3 of us have already eaten 6 of them. A very simple cookie (oops, biscuit): melted butter with golden syrup is added to oats, flour, sugar, coconut and a bit of baking soda (or powder, always have to relook) mixed with water. Stir together, then form cookies and bake. Took all of about 10 minutes to put together, and they baked for the same amount of time (or slightly longer since my oven is always iffy). These are not the greatest cookie ever, but they're very good. We'll make them again, and that is 2 out of 2 for this book so far. It will be fun to figure out what to make next.

                      BUTTER CAKE, ORANGE VARIATION. Another very simple but very tasty cake. If you like citrusy cakes, which Lulu and I very much do, then this is a really nice version. Grease an 8" cake pan, line with parchment (not really sure how necessary this was after the buttering, but i did it); then put into your standing mixer butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and soda, milk, and grated orange rind if using. Mix, pour into cake pan and cook. I chose to go with the basic icing to top it - powdered sugar mixed with the juice of the orange I'd just gotten the rind from.

                      By the way, those Oaty ANZAC biscuits really grew on me. I'm not normally one who wants more sweets (despite what this thread may lead you to believe) but I found that when I gave one to Lulu and/or LulusDad, I wanted one too.

                      Verdict: 3 recipes, all good. Simple, clear instructions that work. I'm getting another Donna Hay book.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: LulusMom


                        Thank you for sharing those baking experiences and the detail. Your enthusiasm is infectious! I miss baking as I must be gluten free but I think that cookie/biscuit could work with almond flour. I'm excited about this thread. Since we don't have to cook and review in just one month I can take my time, which I appreciate. :-D

                        1. re: ItalianNana

                          Glad I could spread some Donna Hay love your way, IN! And yes, I think with almond flour the biscuits would definitely work. If I come across anything else that is GF while looking at the book I will mention it. When we were in Australia and NZ almost every menu made it very clear what items were GF, so they're especially aware of that way of eating, I think.

                          I realized that I didn't really give very good information about those two mix and melt cakes - they're especially simple to make and if anyone needs more info I'd be happy to go over it.

                        2. re: LulusMom

                          Do you have David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert? He has a variation of the anzac biscuits called the cranzac. Basically it's anzac biscuits with cranberries. We've been making the variation for the last couple of years for anzac day instead of the original.

                          1. re: lilham

                            We loved dried cranberries (assume you mean dried?). Maybe we'll try this take next time.

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Yes I do mean dried cranberries. It would be quite weird to use fresh ones in a cookie, wouldn't it?

                              1. re: lilham

                                Yes, but i have seen them in cakes so one never knows.

                          2. re: LulusMom

                            Thanks for doing this LlM, it's great to have your reviews here and I've made a note in my book to come here for your reviews.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              More than happy to do my best for the team ; )

                              Lulu has the week off, and will really appreciate having a little "task" like this to take up some of the time (and to get to eat too!).

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  We have so much fun together it should be illegal. But it isn't!

                          3. Great idea. I admit I'd been overwhelmed not knowing where to start with Donna Hay. I have reserved Off The Shelf from my library and will jump in when I can!

                            1. And since making those three I have another two to post about. I have made the melt and mix chocolate coconut cake (p. 96, DH Classics 2). We liked this a lot, although once again my oven overcooked it a little. Still fairly moist and, because I love the combination of chocolate and coconut, delicious.

                              Also made the melt and mix white chocolate cake - once with the chocolate glaze and once without. Usual oven problems (seriously, do NOT buy a Viking) meant that despite hanging out on top of the oven it still got slightly overcooked one of the times. Didn't matter. And the chocolate glaze is absolutely wonderful and very easy. Just looking at this book again makes me want to bake (that and the chilly weather - I thought it was supposed to be spring!), but we're heading out of town over the weekend, and I don't want to feel like we have to finish something off before then (not that it would be a problem ...).

                              1. I took Off the Shelf out of the library today and will have good look through it tonight. Hopefully there are some good uses of roasted chicken in there and good grain/lentil/bean recipes. Will post once I make something.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: herby

                                  Me too - picked up my copy at the library today and can't wait to try it out!

                                  1. re: geekmom

                                    Do let us know what you think geekmon!!

                                2. EGGPLANT, RICOTTA, PARMEGIANO BAKE, On-Line Recipe

                                  We did make this recipe for dinner on Wednesday as I had hoped, and as I had also hoped it was delicious. The eggplant was sweet and creamy with that unmistakable eggplant tang, and the ricotta/parmigiano custard was soft and thick, mild and luxurious.

                                  Followed the recipe exactly: used large eggs, half and half, and made a basil chiffonade instead of chopped. When G took it out of the oven it looked pretty much like the picture in the link above. Very easy to prep and put together, I'd make this again. Oh, one thing I added was to use 1/2 t salt and 1 t pepper when mixing the custard...

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Gio

                                    This sounds delicious Gio...I'll definitely make it. I'm thrilled you had a positive experience w her recipe.

                                    ETA: Your post also reminded me of a must-try recipe from her latest book to be released here in Canada - Simple Dinners. There's a "Free-Form Ratatouille Tart" that's got my name all over it!!

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Gio, I made this today for lunch and it was good but not wow good. Maybe it was because I used Japanese eggplants instead of regular, don't know. I think I prefer Musaka if I am to make an eggplant casserole. Will have the leftovers (I made half of the recipe) tomorrow with a salad and think that I might like it better room temperature.

                                      1. re: herby

                                        Just so you know where I'm coming from Herby, the next day I had the little bit of leftover eggplant in an sardine tartine with mustard and Loved it...

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Mine got a bit soggy on the bottom - wasn't great cold, so, I just took a bite. Plan to take some for lunch tomorrow and maybe warm it up a bit.

                                      2. re: Gio

                                        I make something very similar from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and just love it. Especially great on a cold night with a loaf of good bread.

                                      3. OFF THE SHELF
                                        I borrowed the book from the library and really like it. It is full of recipes that are easy to make when the time is short provided that your pantry, fridge and freezer are well stocked. DH provides a shopping list for stocking up and at the beginning of most chapters provides list of ingredients or type of foods relevant to a particular chapter - very handy! Today I made two dishes from the book.

                                        Thai Lemongrass Rice Salad, p. 40 - simple and flavourful and since I had all ingredients on hand and only had to cook rice, it came together quickly. I halved the recipe and after tonight's dinner for one I have enough left over for two lunches.

                                        Garlic Roast Asparagus, p. 106 - this recipe is from "short order" section of Mediterranean chapter. You basically toss asparagus with olive oil, sliced garlic and lemon zest (I sprinkled a bit of sea salt over) and bake covered for 25-35 min. I baked for 1/2 hour and asparagus came out very soft and full of flavour. It has been a while since I had soft asparagus, any veg really, but it was surprisingly comforting :)

                                        I am quickly coming to conclusion that I "need" this book in my collection. It is a great book to take along to a cottage - follow the shopping list to stock up on essentials and choose a few main dishes to make and you are set for a week of good and fast food!

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: herby

                                          Herby, I can't seem to find any book by DH titled Off The Shelf through Google.. Is your copy a UK edition?

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              My copy is US edition and before that there was Australian edition. It is published by William Morrow in US and I just bought a copy for one cent on Amazon.com!

                                              1. re: herby

                                                Thanks for the link Breadcrumbs... I wonder why it didn't pop up when I Googled.

                                                Herby... So Did I...

                                            2. re: herby

                                              Hi herby, I'm delighted to hear you've had such a positive impression of the book. It really is a gem and there's such a variety of dishes. We love that asparagus and I haven't tried the Rice Salad but will most definitely add it to my list as lemongrass is far more readily available now. Happy to have another DH fan here!!

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                I searched used copies of Off the Shelf and ordered one from Amazon for $4 including shipping. I'll pick it up in a month when I visit my family in the US. It is a shame that we do not have the same amazing selection of used books on Amazon here in Canada!

                                                Just a side note to say that I recently started keeping lemongrass, lime leaves, fresh tumeric, etc. in the freezer and all are as good as fresh and ready when I need them.

                                                1. re: herby

                                                  Great tip herby...thanks! & I know what you mean about Amazon. Not only is our selection smaller but the shipping kills us!

                                            3. GRILLED CHICKEN WITH CARAMELISED BALSAMIC TOMATOES – FAST, FRESH, SIMPLE – p. 18

                                              Well last night we needed something fast and simple so all it came down to was what ingredients we had on hand since everything was closed here for Good Friday.

                                              An EYB search landed me on this recipe and this simply grilled chicken (boneless, skinless breasts basted w evoo & garlic) wowed when combined with the heavenly caramelized tomatoes. This was ridiculously flavourful and the sweet caramel flavours combined with the creamy bocconcini was a match made in heaven. DH has you add some fresh basil just prior to serving. Unfortunately I didn’t have any on hand but I do have some homemade pesto in the freezer so I broke off a piece and stirred it into the hot-from-the-oven tomatoes to give them a kiss of basil. mr bc loved this so much he ate 2 helpings…thus leaving us w no leftovers. This recipe will be top of mind when our garden is abundant with tomatoes this summer. A keeper!

                                              For anyone interested, here’s how you make the tomatoes:

                                              250g of cherry tomatoes are cut in half and placed on a small baking pan lined w parchment. I probably used approx 350g as I wanted to use up the tomatoes we had on the counter. ½ cup of balsamic is drizzled atop the tomatoes (I thought this sounded like a lot but I decided to go w it. I happen to have a bottle of not-so-high-quality, fairly acidic balsamic that was given to me as part of a gift basket so I used that. 2 tbsp of sugar is then sprinkled atop and the tray goes into a 440°F oven for 25-30mins or until the tomatoes have caramelized.

                                              The tomatoes are plated along w some basil and baby bocconcini. As you can see from my photo, I didn’t have baby bocconcini so I just sliced mine to bite-sized portions.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Ahh, Breadcrumbs, after a glut of Feaster dinner I thought I'd never be hungry again, but your fantastic tantalizing photos and reviews have once again done me in.....

                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                  Allegra, thank-you so much, that's very kind of you. mr bc asked if we could have this again this week...it really is tasty!

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Well I've got to admit you've piqued my curiosity after you've been championing Ms.Hay's books for so long and I am heading to the library tomorrow to check some of them out!

                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                      That's great Allegra, I can't wait to hear what your impressions are of her books!

                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  OMG than you so much for posting this recipe. This was so amazing and easy to make. It will be in my regular rotation for sure.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Brilliant! Thank you for posting this link, Gio!

                                                    1. re: herby

                                                      You're welcome! Isn't she pretty? I do like the sound of those chicken recipes...

                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                      Gio thanks so much for this link. I had no idea that this was a tv series! I'm really excited as there might be episodes available online. ...btw, Fast, Fresh, Simple is another great book...it's the one the chicken & tomato dish I made last night came from.

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        No cheap copies available yet - we'll cook from the link that Gio shared for now :)

                                                        I am off for some yummy Kerala food to celebrate friend's BD.

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          I ^think^ I found that recipe, BC... or something similar:


                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            Definitely similar Gio. I may try the brown sugar next time for a chg.

                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            I believe that program originates from South Africa!

                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                              You might be able to view on-line episodes of her Fast Fresh Simple here???


                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Gio you're amazing! Thank-you. You're absolutely right and I'm very excited to be able to watch these.

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    I have to click on the Videos link Gio but I can definitely see them.

                                                                    ...missed your seasonal avatar today...

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        Ahh, that's more like it Gio!! Thank-you and Buona Pasqua to you and g!!

                                                          3. When I first started dating my husband, one of his flat mates had a Donna Hay cookbook that she approached as a decorative coffee table book, rather than a cook book.

                                                            There was a very simple recipe for saffron baked ricotta with fennel that has been a staple in our home for years now. Basically, you sprinkle an oiled baking sheet with some saffron, salt and pepper and smear ricotta over it and pour olive oil over. Then you bake it until a little brown on top. Delicious with thinly shaved fennel and mache on a salad or sandwich. I think I will revisit it as a filling for crepes for easter brunch tomorrow.

                                                            1. PASTA WITH RICOTTA, LEMON, AND SPINACH (ASPARAGUS) – The Instant Cook – p. 58

                                                              I was looking for a pasta dish to use up a little fresh ricotta I had left and this recipe hit the spot.

                                                              This dish was fresh and surprisingly light tasting. We especially loved the lemon and basil paired w the ricotta. After having it w fresh asparagus, I can’t imagine it w spinach. We really liked this.

                                                              As w most DH dishes, prep is quick and easy. While the pasta boils, evoo, lemon juice, parmesan, S&P and basil are combined in a bowl. Drained pasta is tossed in and plates are to be topped w the ricotta. My ricotta was a little loose so I decided to add it to the bowl and just tossed everything at one.

                                                              A lovely dinner in the time it takes to boil and drain pasta…wonderful!

                                                              1. BAKED ITALIAN CHICKEN – Simple Essentials Chicken – p. 54

                                                                Yum! We loved this! Boneless skinless chx breasts are topped w pesto and Parmesan then wrapped in prosciutto and baked atop some partially roasted tomatoes. Though DH suggests store bought pesto can be used, I happened to have the last of my fall pesto in the freezer and was happy to use this. The juice from the tomatoes combines with the juices from the chicken to make an absolutely delicious sauce. In addition to the salad DH suggests to serve alongside, we also had some crusty bread to sop up that amazing sauce. My chx breasts were on the large side and took 30 mins to cook through. Delicious.

                                                                1. ONE-POT CHINESE CHICKEN from FAST FRESH SIMPLE (on-line recipe)

                                                                  This was indeed a one-pot recipe but I don't know how Chinese-y it was. Yes, there's ginger, garlic and chili but to us it was simply a relatively quick, easy, tasty chicken and rice dish. As one can see from the recipe there aren't too many ingredients and the prep is actually minimal. I did make one substitution because I had one of those "I could have sworn" moments when I discovered there was no cilantro in the fridge, so used fresh arugula instead. I used 6 v small organic thighs, and reduced the amount of rice to 1 cup and used 2 cups stock, which Always makes a perfectly cooked soft and fluffy rice grain.

                                                                  Then I got the bright idea that using a paella pan would be fun. Well, it ^was^ fun. Everything moved along swimmingly with each ingredient added to the pan in the proper sequence as directed. When the 20 minutes was up the rice was still crunchy with all the stock absorbed. G added about 1/2 cup extra stock and let it cook, covered, for another 5 or 6 minutes.. We let the chicken and rice sit a few minutes while I chopped the arugula and scallions. G strew those over the C & R, drizzled with Tamari, and plated.

                                                                  This business about crunchy rice in the paella pan is befuddling. It happened once before when making an Ottolenghi vegetable paella. I tell you it Never happens any where else and we've been cooking rice stove-top since Og roamed the earth. Perfect rice, mind you. Anyway, this dish is quite nice. The chicken was silky and juicy with chili and ginger notes in the background. I also served roasted asparagus with an olive and caper dressing. BTW: If I make this again, I'll season each thigh with salt and pepper... and maybe toss in a couple of glugs of white wine.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Gio, I feel your pain. I make a perfectly wonderful rice 99 times out of 100. And then there is some weird recipe I follow or some tiny change and it is totally not my usual perfect rice and it makes me crazy. Makes me understand why some use a rice cooker, which the other 99% of the time seems crazy to me.

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      Just a guess, but maybe the liquid evaporates more in the paella pan, because it's wide and open, so you need to add extra liquid to make up for it?

                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                        That's certainly a good point WM. Why didn't I think of that...?
                                                                        (odd how the brain freezes at times)

                                                                    2. Chilli Pasta with Prawns and Lime - The New Cook, p. 24'

                                                                      Finally back at home so I can jump in on this thread. I have had this book since it first came out (1997?) and have never cooked from it until now. What a waste. What a shame! I think part of the problem is that the recipes are a lot like how I might cook if I were just making something up, so instead of actually bothering to follow one, whenever I looked through this book, I would end up just going into the kitchen and making something up. So I guess you could say I have been inspired by it, but not inspired to actually make anything. Until now. Thanks to BC and her boosterism, I tried a DH recipe off the Web, liked it, and now have looked at this book with renewed interest.

                                                                      This recipe calls for "chilli pasta", which I take to be a pasta with chiles in it. I didn't have this, so I used a plain dried pasta, and added some chile flakes at the end. The recipe calls for you to toss 750 g of prawns with olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped fresh coriander (cilantro). I realized at the last minute that I was out of cilantro, so omitted it. Hay has you then cook the pasta, and keep it warm until the other components are done. I changed the timing of the recipe a bit so that I did not have to hold the pasta. She has you boil or steam asparagus, and cut it into two-inch pieces. I cut the asparagus raw, and then cooked it along with the pasta by throwing it in for the last 2 minutes of the cooking time, saving me another dirty pot, and some time. The prawns get grilled, along with with some cut lime halves. You then toss the cooked prawns with baby spinach, basil leaves, the asparagus and pasta. You are to dress with some olive oil, and the juice from the grilled limes. I heated the olive oil briefly with chile flakes before adding to the pasta.

                                                                      This was quite delicious, full of tart lime, with a mild heat from the chiles, and abundant in green veggies. The fact that the shrimp were grilled added a nice smokey, outdoor flavor to it. It was a lot of food. I made 1/2 a recipe for two people, and it was a bit more than we could eat. Not a problem, it means my lunch is taken care of.

                                                                      1. Anyone have her "New Food Fast"?


                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          I do. I think I mistakenly said I had another of her books, but I have NFF and Modern Classics (desserts).

                                                                        2. Chocolate Caramel Slice (p. 16, Classics 2)

                                                                          Lulu's week off from school. While I was busy doing some stuff around the house I told her to look in the book and find some stuff that she'd like to make. She got out a piece of paper and noted down 9 things (complete with page number). We both liked the sound of the chocolate caramel slice (I'm a sucker for caramel). So yesterday we made these. And boy, are they ever sweet. Teeth-achingly so, to be honest. Not hard to figure out why - the crust at the bottom is made with flour, coconut, brown sugar and butter. This is baked, cooled and then covered with the caramel - golden syrup, butter and sweetened condensed milk which has been heated. Bake this, cool, then cover with a dark chocolate topping. I hear you ask "Kari, how on earth did you NOT expect this to be ridiculously sweet?" and I have no answer for you. What can I say, spring break does funny things to your brain. Lulu had a friend over for a playdate and I gave them each a small piece. they both loved it, but ... couldn't finish. One bite or two is absolutely wonderful. More than that not so much. I will say, our babysitter last night, who is not a teenager, loved hers and ate a big bar of it herself (although she said it took about 30 minutes). So, while we like this, it is something I would only make for a large crowd and give as maybe 1 inch squares. I will say, it looks very much like the picture in the book, which is kind of impressive.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                            Since I have a horrific sweet tooth, this sound right up my alley! And I just checked my "Simple Essentials Chocolate" cookbook of hers.. and it's there too!

                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                              Two things to report on the chocolate caramel slice:

                                                                              1) I forgot to mention that the pan size is obviously Australian - it was something like 8 x 12 - something not *quite* the same as ours. Didn't seem to cause a problem though.

                                                                              2) when served as slightly smaller than 1 inch square, these are delightfully sweet little bites. Given how much of this it makes, though, it isn't likely you'll need that many tiny little bites of something. Still and all, really good today in small portions. I gave away small portioned gifts to a few friends - I hope they can take it without ruining their yearly dental bills.

                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                I think that they call that a lamington pan.. what size did you use?

                                                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                                                  I used a 9 x 13 i think, with no ill effect. She calls it a slice pan in the text.

                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                      The funny thing is, these keep getting better. At first I was worried that since they were so sweet we'd never be able to finish that whole pan of them, but between giving some to friends and having little squares when we needed something sweet they are almost gone.

                                                                                      and I found a link to the recipe: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Donna-Ha...

                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                        That's the one that I had.. don't think that I want to look at the nutritional information!

                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                          Suddenly called away from the computer and didn't quite catch what you said... (in other words, yeah, don't go there).

                                                                          2. Pasta with Roast Tomato Sauce - The New Cook, p. 24

                                                                            Reading through this recipe, I was skeptical. To start with, it called for 24 roma tomatoes to make a sauce that would serve four. That seemed excessive to me. I didn't have any roma tomatoes, so I used the "Kumato" branded variety of tomato. The ones I had were small, about the size of a roma, but round. I used six to serve two people. For the other quantities in the recipe, I halved them.

                                                                            The tomatoes are cut in half, tossed with olive oil, garlic cloves, and oregano leaves, placed in a baking dish and roasted at 315 degrees F for 45 minutes. That oven temperature seemed low to me for such a short roasting time, so I increased it to 350. In hindsight, I'm not really sure it mattered. After roasting, the tomatoes are chopped in a food processor.

                                                                            While the pasta is cooking, you saute some onions, then add the tomato mixture and cook for 5 minutes or so. Toss pasta and sauce together, add some black pepper and parmesan, and that's dinner.

                                                                            I wasn't expecting anything revolutionary here, but I really underestimated this sauce. It had in intense sweetness to it, in a good way. Mr. MM took one bite and started swooning. My only problem with it was the tomato skins. I am one of those anal cooks who takes the trouble to blanch and peel tomatoes. In this recipe the skins were left on, and I didn't like getting the occasional rolled-up bit of skin. To me, it marred what was otherwise an incredible sauce. So next time, I will do something about the skins. I may peel the tomatoes before roasting, or try peeling them after, or maybe just use a food mill to separate the skins out, I'm not sure yet. If you don't mind the skins (Mr. MM doesn't), you will likely love this recipe as is. The amount of sauce was about right with the number of tomatoes I used, so I would make that adjustment again as well.

                                                                            1. After reading and seeing the first few recipes listed here I decided to check out Ms. Hay for myself. I don’t own any of her books or magazines so I've been relying on what I can find online for now. Her style of cooking fits me. I like that her recipes use easy to find ingredients and are uncomplicated. Several that I have looked at I can envision tailoring to the season and/or our tastes. I tried out three of her recipes this week and am planning on at least two more next week.

                                                                              The first recipe was for Maple glazed Chicken (http://www.thehomechannel.co.za/maple...). I did not make any substitutions when making this. It was very good. The heat from the chili flakes was a nice contrast to the maple syrup. I could see using this glaze on pork also.

                                                                              Next up was a wonderful baked fish and tomato recipe (https://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/d...). This was my favorite of the ones I’ve tried and the one I made the most changes to. It calls for cherry tomatoes, unfortunately the ones at the store looked horrible, I used vine ripe tomatoes instead. I used tilapia for the fish since that’s what I had on hand. I omitted the capers as Mr. Ace does not care for them. I sliced the tomatoes in half since they are slightly bigger than the cherry tomatoes and roasted them for a good 30 minutes prior to adding the fish. The fish soaked up the flavors from the tomatoes and garlic really well. Mr Ace is very meh when it comes to tilapia and was impressed with the amount of flavor the fish had. I served this with jasmine rice.

                                                                              The final dish of the week was Herby mustard chicken with olive oil mash (https://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/d...). This was my least favorite and Mr. Ace’s favorite. My largest problem with this is that I found the olive oil to be overwhelming. There is 1/2 c. olive oil in both the chicken and the potatoes. Mr. Ace is 1/2 Cuban and can not get enough olive oil... ever. I think it runs in his veins. The recipe has you marinate the chicken for a short time then cook in the the pan. It does not state if you add all of the marinade to the pan or not. I chose to add it. The parsley wound up frying to crispiness. It was alright but not what I nor the recipe was aiming for. Mr. Ace said next time he wanted more of the crispy parsley so I guess it’s a matter of what you like. I also felt that the potatoes needed more garlic to balance the olive oil.

                                                                              Overall I was happy with these and am looking forward to trying some more.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ace214

                                                                                Thanks for the report Ace! I have that maple chicken recipe on my radar, as I do like some sweet with meat every now and then. In fact all the dishes you cooked is food I like to make...

                                                                                1. re: ace214

                                                                                  Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ace; I'm so pleased you enjoyed these recipes. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures too!

                                                                                  1. re: ace214

                                                                                    I am going to try the Maple Glazed Chicken with a pork chop next week. I will report back :)

                                                                                  2. Raspberry fool (p. 124, Modern Classics 2)

                                                                                    Another item on Lulu's list, and her dad back in town - reason to celebrate with dessert! A cup of raspberries, some sugar (she calls for caster - I used regular), lemon juice are put in a pan and crushed and stirred over med-low heat and simmered for a few minutes. Then put this mixture into the fridge until cold. Beat whipping cream until peaks form and fold in the mixture. She has you adding a half cup of raspberries as you fold, but we simply served the extras on top. LOVED this. My favorite fool is still Nigella's rhubarb one, but this is awfully good too. Totally decadent.

                                                                                    This is basically the recipe: http://grandyandbaa.blogspot.com/2010...

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      Mmm, doesn't that sound lovely LlM. I have a friend who adores raspberries and I've made a note in my book to make this next time she visits.

                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                        So so easy and so so good. I encourage you to try it.

                                                                                    2. Couscous Salad, Pg. 84, Off the Shelf

                                                                                      This was quite a nice couscous preparation with a stunning dressing. The couscous I used was from Trader Joe's and I thought it was a smaller size than regular but it worked out well. Hay's directions for making the couscous are on page 72 but are really just the usual pouring of hot liquid over the measured couscous in a bowl and letting it sit till all the liquid is absorbed. Chicken broth rather than water was used here. When came time to put the salad together I thought the couscous too dry so quickly boiled more broth to add.

                                                                                      Several vegetables are suggested to add to the couscous: roasted diced pumpkin or sweet potato, and blanched mange tout (snow peas) I used chopped leftover roasted asparagus, and a combination of frozen vegetables: peas, carrots, corn, green beans all of which were heated before tossing with the couscous.

                                                                                      The dressing was really tasty: Olive oil, harissa or chili paste (I used harissa), lemon juice, honey, and mint (I used basil & cilantro). Taste for seasoning and though neither salt nor pepper is called for the salad didn't seem to need further seasoning, IMO.

                                                                                      This salad accompanied roasted vegetables from Diana Henry's Pure Simple Cooking and roasted chicken thighs. It was a pleasant change from rice or potatoes.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                        I don't have the book in front of me Gio but I have a feeling I've made this salad before w roasted fall veggies (purple carrots, squash and some sweet potato if memory serves). I seem to think I also stirred in some baby spinach before serving so it wilted somewhat but didn't get slimy. I'll bet lime juice would be lovely in that dressing as well. Thanks for the reminder about this one!

                                                                                      2. THAI LIME AND LEMONGRASS CHICKEN – The Instant Cook – p. 93

                                                                                        I’m backlogged in my reporting since I’ve been travelling. I actually made this a couple of weeks ago now but I do still recall how delicious it was!

                                                                                        The ingredients in this dish reminded me of lettuce wraps stuffed w ground chicken and I see that one option DH provides is to serve the mixture atop of some lettuce so perhaps that dish provided some inspiration for this recipe.

                                                                                        The only real labour in the preparation of this dish is the chopping of a few ingredients (lemongrass, green onions and ginger). I also chopped a couple of Thai bird chilis, which I’d elected to substitute for DH’s (timesaving?) suggestion of using chili flakes. I also added some chopped garlic since a day without garlic is a day without sunshine here at casa bc!

                                                                                        I found the recipe online so I won’t get into further details on the prep.
                                                                                        Here’s the link to the recipe online if anyone is interested:


                                                                                        Suffice to say this came together in no time. We had some brown jasmine rice leftover from a prior meal so we served this mixture atop the rice and it was indeed delicious and flavourful. It reminded me of a similar dish that I used to enjoy at a local Thai restaurant. I had some chopped, roasted peanuts in the freezer so I pulled those out and put them out for folks to sprinkle atop. I would definitely use the garlic and Thai bird chilies again as we enjoyed the flavours both brought to the dish. This is a keeper, prep can all be done ahead and it makes for a fast and enjoyable weeknight meal. Next time we’ll serve in lettuce cups.

                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs


                                                                                          That's gorgeous! Is the green cilantro and basil? I am going to do this also with garlic and maybe a tad less sugar. We are cilantro-tastes-like-soap folks so I'm thinking maybe a little more green onion tops and some parsley?

                                                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                            Hi ItalianNana, it's basil and green onions you see. I have been cursed w a cilantro allergy so no cilantro at casa bc either. I say cursed because so many of my favourite cuisines use it as a staple and it makes for tricky dining out experiences.

                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                              Oh a cilantro allergy would be terrible! I've heard of aversions, (oddly, it tastes soapy to me but I still love it), but an allergy would create difficulties...

                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                I know rstuart, it's the only allergy I have and it's a total pain. I LOVE Indian and Thai food and I'm never entirely confident I'll be safe when dining out. Such an odd allergy to have!

                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                  Wow, BC. I have celiac disease and I have to say that as big a PITA as that is, I think a cilantro allergy might be harder for me to deal with.

                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                    Thanks Mel, I can certainly empathize w your celiac disease as my MIL was also afflicted and I know how challenging it can be.

                                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                Ahh that sucks. (I have Celiac disease) so dining out is indeed a challenge! My aversion to cilantro is easing ever so slightly and I've found, as has DH, that if the leaves are minced we can do a little.

                                                                                                1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                  Thanks IN, I'm sure it could be worse but every now and then I allow myself to wallow in self-pity!!

                                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                  Bumping up because I need to say thank you breadcrumbs!! I just found out about my severe cilantro allergy and have been looking for a way to recreate this one time favorite flavour!! I'm going to try this in a sauce tonight for tacos. Thank you so much again!

                                                                                                  1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                                                                    You're quite welcome Lexi, I can certainly empathize with your condition. Please let us know how you like the tacos with this adaptation. Enjoy!!

                                                                                              3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                I love this sort of thing - thanks for providing the link to the recipe.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  Enjoy LlM, it's nice when you can make such a flavourful dish in such short order.

                                                                                              4. CHOY SUM WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE – Donna Hay Magazine – Issue 58 – p. 132

                                                                                                A quick and yummy stir-fried dish. I had some broccoli and pea sprouts to use up before my trip and this recipe seemed to lend itself to a versatile, quick and easy preparation which is precisely what I was looking for.

                                                                                                Choy sum (broccoli) is cut into bite-sized pieces, garlic is sliced then added to sesame oil that’s been heated in a sizzling hot wok. Veggies are stir-fried until tender. Note that I added the garlic a little later on in the process to avoid burning it. Black bean sauce and chicken stock are then added to the pan and the veggies are cooked for approx 2 -3 mins more until the sauce reduces and thickens a little bit. I used a little less black bean sauce than the ¼ cup called for since mine is fairly salty.

                                                                                                This was a delicious, fresh-tasting dish. There were some veggies leftover and mr bc took them as a side dish for a weekday lunch. He reported that they re-heated perfectly and said he thought they were delicious. High praise from a guy w an aversion to all (edible) things green! This is a keeper and would be terrific one dish meal w a protein stirred in.

                                                                                                1. HONEY ROAST VEGETABLES (NOT) ON PEPPER POLENTA – Instant Cook – p. 144

                                                                                                  I was looking for a Mediterranean-style side dish to accompany our grilled lamb chops and potato gratin and this recipe sounded perfect. As you can deduce, it’s intended to be served atop some blue-cheese and peppercorn polenta but as delicious as that sounded, I had to take a pass on the latter. Since I already had a starch, I also omitted the sweet potatoes from this dish.

                                                                                                  I found the recipe online here for folks who don’t have this book:


                                                                                                  Essentially veggies are cut up and placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet then a sauce of honey, lemon and a little evoo is drizzled atop. Veggies bake for 40 mins or, until golden.

                                                                                                  This was sensational. It was one of those occasions where the underdog dish on the menu outshone the rest and really enchanted everyone. mr bc (who thinks bread is a vegetable and otherwise isn’t a fan) said he preferred this to mashed potatoes…seriously! Wow. There wasn’t a scrap leftover. I’m so excited to have discovered this one!

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. POTATO, LEEK AND THYME (ROSEMARY) GRATIN – Donna Hay Magazine – Issue # 58 – p. 138

                                                                                                    I needed a no fuss potato dish to accompany our grilled lamb chops this evening and this recipe seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I halved the recipe as I only needed 2 servings.

                                                                                                    Prep was quick and easy, especially since I used my mandoline to thinly slice my potatoes and leeks. Parmesan cheese was grated, butter melted and a baking dish was oiled. All ingredients were tossed together then placed in the baking dish which was topped w foil and baked at 350˚ for 35 mins. Foil is then removed and the dish bakes for an additional 20 – 25 mins until cooked through.

                                                                                                    This was delicious and light-tasting. We loved that the pan wasn’t overcrowded so everything had an opportunity to caramelize and crisp around the edges (DH has you divide the mixture into 2 pans). Potatoes and leeks are a perfect pairing in my books and adding Parmesan to the party takes this from delicious to outstanding. One of my favourite potato dishes ever.

                                                                                                    1. Green Olive Baked Chicken, Pg. 94, Off The Shelf

                                                                                                      We loved this chicken preparation but I have to admit I more or less "borrowed" a few ideas from a similar dish from Diana Henry that has most of the same ingredients but without the chicken. I used 4 chicken quarters, Kalamatas instead of green olives, chopped vine tomatoes instead of cherry toms. From DH I included tiny red potatoes, 1/2 white onion quartered, 1 T coriander seeds, 2 t cumin seeds, 2 t smoked sweet paprika.

                                                                                                      The olives, tomatoes, potatoes, onion were seasoned with the spices plus S & P, drizzled with EVOO, then tipped into a roasting pan in a single layer. The quarters were left whole, seasoned with S & P then snuggled amongst the vegetables. This was roasted at 400F for 1 hour. It rested, out of oven, about 10 minutes before serving.

                                                                                                      An ideal one-pot meal this was full of chicken flavor with ample crisp skin and tender vegetables. Very well seasoned with that unctuous sauce from the chicken, a little spicy, and just enough salt to enhance everything.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                        This sounds incredible, and I like your additions/changes.

                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                          Thanks LLM. It was seriously delicious. The kind of meal one eats without conversation. There's so much to think about and savor.

                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                            I think I'm going to give it a try. I love one dish meals, and this seems to hit a lot of our favorite flavors. I'll likely use thighs.

                                                                                                      2. Warm Potato Salad, Pg. 106, Off The Shelf

                                                                                                        This recipe calls for 2 large cooked potatoes sliced thickly, 2 tins of tuna fish (I used only 1 tin), blanched green beans and a simple vinaigrette enriched with grainy mustard to which I added Kosher salt and pepper. I fiddled around with weights and measures but stayed true to the spirit of the original. 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes were steamed then sliced, and set aside. The green beans were frozen haricots verts that were revived.

                                                                                                        After the potatoes had been cooked and sliced they were put into a salad bowl and tossed with a few tablespoons of Bragg's apple cider vinegar. A trick from Virginia Willis that greatly adds to the flavor of the finished dish. The green beans were added, then the tuna which had been drained of oil. All was carefully tossed with the dressing and served on a bed of shredded dressed green leaf lettuce and the inner leaves of a head of escarole.

                                                                                                        Simple, easy and delicious. DH's recipe must be read completely before cooking, in my opinion, as there's very little to no seasonings mentioned in most recipes. Another thing is that next time I'll not slice the potatoes because as hard as I tried not to let it happen some slices collapsed. Other than these caveats this is a perfect main dish salad when a light meal is desired.

                                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          Gio, this sounds delicious and I can see it travelling for a work lunch as long as lettuce is packed separately. I was at Costco yesterday and got a bunch of 3-oz cans of tune in oil - can't wait to try this recipe!

                                                                                                          This recipe will make a great cottage lunch - cook potatoes in the morning and then leave the beach 15 min earlier and the lunch is on when everyone gets home! The book is waiting for me in the US and I think will be my cottage resource for many seasons.

                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                            Herby, you are absolutely correct. This salad is a perfect Summertime at the beach cottage type meal. And, I was thinking, for an extra added attraction some picked lobster or crab meat would be a terrific inclusion.

                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              What a wonderful idea, Gio! Once I get the book I will mark all recipes people liked and make notes of little changes/additions like yours about lobster/crab. Have you ever used canned crab? We have to bring everything to the cottage for a week that we are staying there. We always have something fresh every day but canned something is very handy for quick lunches and even snacks.

                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                Herby, I have no problem whatsoever using canned crab or any other canned seafood. In fact I've never cooked fresh crab, I simply do not know how to clean it. Until someone actually shows me what to do I'll continue using fresh picked meat or canned.

                                                                                                                I did a Google search for the potato salad and found this enormous list of Hay's salad recipes. I love salads and this should keep me very busy all Summer long and beyond.


                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  Great find, Gio! Many interesting salads - i.e. ginger beef patties with lime noodle salad - that I would love to try. Thank you for posting the link.

                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                            Gio, the salad sounded so yummy to me that I had to make a version - it was different from yours but delicious. I copied a few pages of the book before returning it to the library and the recipe was there! I made dressing of cider vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, salt and pepper and sliced just boiled baby potatoes into it. Added thinly sliced shallot and chunks of lightly steamed asparagus. Tossed and served with steak - so yummy :) I will add a small can of tuna to the leftover salad and serve it tomorrow for lunch on a bed of lettuce.

                                                                                                            Many thanks for pointing me in the direction of this recipe - it will be repeated not once and at some point either lobster or crab will find their way into it.

                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                              Well that sounds really delightful, herby! I love asparagus and can just imagine it in the salad. Great idea!

                                                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                                                              I'm trying to eat more canned tuna (trying to slim down our grocery budget a little) and this sounds great, but I don't really eat white potatoes due to glycemia problems. How do you think sweet potatoes would work with this?


                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                When I first read your question, TDQ, my thought was sweet potatoes would not work with the tuna. After some consideration concerning the other ingredients and vinaigrette I still feel you'd be better off simply making a green salad, add the green beans and any other vegetables you can eat - asparagus perhaps or peas, artichoke hearts?, top with drained canned tuna, make a red wine vinegar & EVOO dressing with Dijon grainy mustard and call it a day.

                                                                                                                It's the sweet potatoes & tuna pairing that I'm having trouble with, although others may not feel the same way...

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  I recently made this recipe:

                                                                                                                  Which is like an empanada, but the outer "pastry" is made of sweet potato, and the filling is a spicy tuna. It goes amazingly well. The key is to have plenty of acidity, which you would in the salad, and some chile heat also helps. What I would do is roast the sweet potatoes to the point where they are just starting to get a crisp crust. A mushy sweet potato, I think, would be unappealing in a salad.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                    Wow! That empanada recipes sounds delicious!

                                                                                                                    Hmmm...you and Gio have both given me some food for thought, thank you.


                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                      It is delicious, but the "dough" is extremely loose and sticky. You have to do what the instructions say and pat it out on plastic wrap in order to make it work.

                                                                                                                    2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                      A million thanks for that Mel. I would never think to pair tuna and sweet potatoes. I agree that mushy potatoes of any color are unappealing, unless one is mashing them...as I see the SP dough is.

                                                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    I'll admit I know very little about glycemia problems, but just tried brainstorming a bit and thought maybe using either couscous (which may be just as bad) or chick peas in place of the potatoes?

                                                                                                                  3. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    Warm Potato Salad, adapted

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the inspiration Gio! This salad seems infinitely adaptable! I used boiled yellow fingerling potatoes with blanched green beans and canned wild Alaskan Salmon. I dressed this with a grainy dijon dressing and then served over a bed of baby kale. I also added in 2 leftover hard boiled eggs that were in the fridge. Delicious! The still-warm potatoes really drank up the dressing and were fabulous. The canned salmon was delicious in this preparation, as well.

                                                                                                                  4. Simple Zucchini (Pasta, Short Order section) - Off the Shelf, p 30

                                                                                                                    This is an extremely simple zucchini dressing for pasta. As in other recipes, DH has you cook the pasta and hold it. I am not about to do this, as the sauce can easily be made in the time it takes the pasta to cook. I'm not sure why she orders the directions this way.

                                                                                                                    Anyway, you grate some zucchini. Sauté some minced garlic and chopped red chiles (I used chile flakes here) in olive oil. Add the grated zucchini, cook for two minutes, toss with the cooked spaghetti or linguini, seasoning with salt, pepper, and shaved parmesan. She tells you to serve with lemon wedges. I squeezed quite a bit of lemon over the pasta, and it really brightened up what would otherwise be a pretty ordinary dish. I also used quite a bit of chile flakes, so my version was quite spicy.

                                                                                                                    Nothing fancy here, but it was a very good, simple weeknight meal. Like many simple pasta dishes, it ends up being more flavorful than one would think such a simple dish would be. It was a great way to get dinner on the table on a busy night using ingredients I had on hand.

                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                      Wow, that sounds wonderful Mel. I don't recall whether I've made this before but I don't think so because when I read you'd grated the zucchini I thought that was a terrific idea. I'll definitely give this one a try. Thanks for your review!

                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                        Simple Zucchini (Pasta, Short Order section) - Off the Shelf, p 30
                                                                                                                        I have made this extremely simple and fresh pasta dish often as a quick supper. I agree absolutely that a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice is essential to lift the dish. Jamie Oliver has a fresh zucchini and basil pasta dish, but Donna Hayes' recipe is simpler and fresher to my taste.

                                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                          This is one of my go-to pasta dishes but I use half butter, half olive oil, and add basil at the end. Great in the summer when courgettes are in season.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                            This one has been on my mind since I read MelMM's review. Found it (I think) online: http://maggieplum.wordpress.com/2011/... If anyone who has the book notices any differences, can you let me know? Thanks! I think I'll be making this soon.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              It is obviously based on the same recipe, but there are some differences.

                                                                                                                              DH calls for 400g (14 oz) of pasta rather than 350
                                                                                                                              The quantity of olive oil is 2 Tbs.
                                                                                                                              DH calls for 2 cloves of garlic, not 3
                                                                                                                              2 chiles, not one
                                                                                                                              3 zucchini, no specifics on size

                                                                                                                              Cooking time for zucchini in DH's recipe is 2 minutes.
                                                                                                                              Instruction to reserve pasta water is not in original recipe.
                                                                                                                              There is no lemon juice added to the zucchini in the original, and there is no lemon zest in the recipe at all. There are instructions to serve with lemon wedges. I did squeeze lemon over the pasta.
                                                                                                                              The instruction to toss the pasta and zucchini together is in the original, but it is obvious from the photo that this blogger did not do that, and just piled the zucchini on top.

                                                                                                                          2. Asian-Style Ribs, Pg. 116, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                            Absolutely Loved This Dish! I was a bit skeptical at first since there's a relatively short, 40 minutes, roasting time but in the end the meat was pefectly cooked and the sauce was delicious. Here's how it all happens...

                                                                                                                            The recipe calls for 3 lbs. pork spare ribs. I used 2 2/3 lbs. and left the ingredient amounts as written. Also, the ribs I used were boneless pork pieces that I cut into halves or thirds because they were thick, so essentially we had lovely chunks of pork. The meat is dredged in a marinade consisting of: hoisin sauce, grated ginger, soy sauce (I used 1/2 dark & 1/2 light), sesame oil (dark), Chinese rice wine, Chinese 5-spice powder, sugar. The meat goes onto a flat rack in a roasting pan and baked at 350F for 20 minutes. Brush the meat with reserved marinade (G turned the pieces as well), and continue baking another 20 minutes. Perfection!

                                                                                                                            How easy was that? I served steamed jasmine rice and steamed greens per a recipe on page 124 as Ms. Hays suggests. This definitely deserves a redo and I think I'd like to try boneless chicken thighs as well... just roast for a shorter time perhaps.

                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              Gio I'm so glad you enjoyed this and I love your idea of using chicken thighs...I'll definitely do this! Thanks!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                I second the thanking you for the idea of doing it with chicken thighs. Yumsville.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  Am loving your reports from this book Gio, as they're inspiring me to get it "Off the Shelf", ifyswim.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      I have made one thing which I need to report on.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    Popping back in here to report that this Asian-Style Ribs recipe from Off the Shelf is just as terrific w bone-in chicken thighs. I had 4 thighs @ 1.93 lbs. to work with so adjusted the other ingredient amounts accordingly. The thighs cooked for about 5 - ish minutes longer. Served w Stir-Fried Bok Choy on page 62 and steamed jasmine rice. Tasty and flavor-filled evening meal.

                                                                                                                                  2. Greens in Oyster Sauce, Pg. 124 , Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                    The title certainly does not tell the whole story! These greens are first steamed then dressed with a tantalizing sauce comprised of sesame oil, shredded ginger, oyster sauce, brown sugar, and Chinese rice wine, all of which has been simmered till thick and glossy.

                                                                                                                                    The recipe suggests a variety of greens such as bok choy, gai lan, broccoli, or green beans. Since I had an enormous head of escarole I used that shredding the large outer leaves, more than enough for 2 people. I had never steamed green leafy vegetables before this so paid particular attention to keep the leaves bright green using my very large steamer, non-collapsible basket over a sauce pan. When the greens have wilted serve them by arranging them on a platter and pouring the sauce over.

                                                                                                                                    The final dish was eye opening. Wonderful aromatic flavor from that sauce. It definitely enhanced the escarole, one of my favorite vegetables and a great way to present any number of other vegetables. The greens were served with the Asian-Style Ribs on page 116 and steamed jasmine rice. Lovely meal.

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      Funny Gio, when I made the Choy Sum recipe (up-thread) it was a toss up between that recipe and this one! I'll have to do this one next. I have some broccoli at the moment so perhaps I'll give it a try w that, though I'd LOVE to do it w escarole as you suggest.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                        Gio, could I do it with swiss chard? I have a bunch that needs to be used - don't even remember what I had in mind when I bought it, if anything...

                                                                                                                                        About your pork recipe. I do not eat pork and used to just skip over pork recipes. But awhile back, in one of the threads, Ms. Nguyen said that chicken thighs could always be substituted for pork and now I look at recipes with this idea in mind. However, it would never occur to me to sub chicken for ribs! Thank you for suggesting it :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                          Yes herby, I do think you can sub chard for the greens. I love Swiss chard, especially the colorful varieties, and stir-fry both stems and leaves frequently. The leaves in Hay's recipe are steamed. Period. Then the sauce is poured over. So I think chard will work nicely.

                                                                                                                                          We're mostly poultry/seafood/vegetable partial here and I'm constantly reading recipes with an eye toward the use chicken or turkey instead of red meat. I must admit, however, every now and then we get organic pork or lamb from the farm.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                            Thanks Gio! I found the sauce recipe here - http://www.food.com/recipe/oyster-sau...

                                                                                                                                            Will make it tonight or tomorrow. This dressing will be good with other veggies too, I think, even on asparagus but I will start with chard.

                                                                                                                                            I love lamb too - it is easily my favourite meat. Don't care if it is organic or not since lamb are not raised in enclosures and they are vegetarians :)

                                                                                                                                      2. RUSTIC SIMMERED CHICKEN – NO TIME TO COOK – p. 84

                                                                                                                                        This delicious one-pan meal is a creamy chicken stew with lots of flavour despite a fairly quick cooking process. That said, the dish did take longer than the instructions in the recipe suggest so I would suggest allowing an hour to prepare this dish from start to finish.

                                                                                                                                        I found the recipe online here:


                                                                                                                                        The only changes I made were: I used a sauté/simmer pan because I felt the extra depth would hasten the cooking time of the potatoes in this dish. I didn’t have tarragon so I used some fennel fronds to impart a subtle anise flavour in this dish and I didn’t have white button mushrooms so I quartered some cremini and cubed some king oyster mushrooms to approximate their size.

                                                                                                                                        We really enjoyed this dish. mr bc said I should have doubled it as he’d love to have it for weekday lunches as well. The leeks added a lovely sweetness to the sauce and the mushrooms provided a nice textural element and added to the earthy flavours of the dish. The cream was a nice touch but having tasted the dish prior, I’d say it could easily be omitted if folks preferred. Really yummy and worth repeating.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the link to this recipe, BC. I don't have the boneless thighs but will use breasts. If I'm careful that will be OK I think. This will be perfect for tomorrow night's dinner along with a salad. I'm loving one-pot meals right now.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                            This looks delicious! I've been looking for a new one pot meal to serve with...what else, mushrooms and this seems great!

                                                                                                                                          2. ROASTED TOMATO, GARLIC AND BREAD SALAD – SIMPLE DINNERS – p. 32

                                                                                                                                            While my finished dish might not have been as pretty as the one photographed in DH’s book, what it lacked in beauty it more than made up for in flavour…this was an absolutely delicious salad. (Actually, looking at the photo in the book, it looks like the salad is composed for the photos and the greens don’t appear to be dressed at all…I really don’t appreciate when photos do not depict how the dish actually looks…just a waste IMHO).

                                                                                                                                            I found the recipe online here:


                                                                                                                                            I omitted the prosciutto as I intended to serve this alongside a Timpano so no additional protein was necessary. The tang of this dish was the perfect foil for the richness of the timpano and together they made for a perfect dinner. I couldn’t find my white balsamic so I went w my regular balsamic with no averse affect it seems.

                                                                                                                                            Donna Hay has you squeeze the roasted garlic into a dish to whisk up a dressing but I found the garlic wasn’t breaking up well so I whizzed the dressing in my mini Cuisinart. (next time I’d press w the back of a spoon first). I had very high quality dense sourdough bread and would highly recommend using same since the wonderful crunchy, dense croutons were a highlight in this dish. Roma tomatoes are horrid at this time of the year so I went with the more flavourful Kumato tomatoes (not as pretty when roasted). I’d consider this salad to be a bit of a riff on a panzanella salad.

                                                                                                                                            This dish is a flavour explosion, everyone was commenting that the dressing was incredible and it was a perfect match for the sweetness of the caramelized tomatoes. Honestly this is one of the best salads I’ve made in a long time. I passed parmesan at the table and it was lovely grated atop. If I could give this an 11 out of 10 I would. One guest asked for some bread to mop up the dressing and tomato juices in her bowl!!

                                                                                                                                            1. PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS - Off The Shelf, p. 22

                                                                                                                                              Another quick and easy pasta recipe for a weeknight. While the pasta water is boiling, you sauté some sliced mushrooms and chile pepper (I used flakes) in butter. Then add some cream, vegetable stock and lemon juice to make a light cream sauce. The drained pasta gets tossed in this sauce and finished with some basil, salt, pepper, and parmesan. I didn't have any fresh basil, so omitted it, and added some spinach leaves to get some green in my dish.

                                                                                                                                              Very simple, but a good dinner. In all of these quick pasta dishes, the author includes one or more ingredients like chiles, or lemon, that make the flavors sing even though there are very few ingredients.

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                This and the zucchini pasta both sound really good. As you say, it does seem as if she adds one unexpected ingredient to bring out the zing. Going to see if either is on the website.

                                                                                                                                                Quick update: neither of these particular pastas are on her website. Going to have to check and see if Off the Shelf is available at the library.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                  Here is a link to what sounds like the recipe Mel made: http://donnaaday.wordpress.com/2010/1...

                                                                                                                                                  I bought Off the Shelf for $0.01 + shipping on Amazon - it is such a different and rather slim book that I think justifies a bit of its own shelf space :)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                      you rock herby. Thanks so much. I'm trying *so* hard not to buy new cookbooks until the current situation (piles that are tilting to one side) is taken care of. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                        You are welcome :) I know all about piles and bins full of books - have not found a solution yet but must get rid of some books soon. On the other hand I've very good about not buying books on impulse but let them sit in the cart and think about it and listen to what people who are cooking from these books have to say. Gaza is a good example - really wanted it but no more.

                                                                                                                                                2. Harissa and Yogurt Baked Chicken, Pg. 137, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                  Another winner from this book! Another easily prepped and cooked chicken. Another happy family.

                                                                                                                                                  The recipe calls for a 3 1/4 pound whole chicken quartered. I had just about that weight in chicken quarters which I separated into drums and thighs. These were ^liberally^ coated with a mixture of: cornstarch, yogurt, harissa, shredded mint, cumin, S & P. Place these pieces on a flat rack set into a baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes till the chicken is crisp and golden. Ours were done after 55 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                  We loved the flavor of that coating. Combined with the deliciously tender and juicy chicken it was slightly spicy and tangy with the mint noticeable in the background but not pronounced. A choice is given between harissa and "chili paste". I'm going to have to use that ingredient next... one with a little heat. A simple baked sweet potato and steamed asparagus were the side dishes.

                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                    OK, this is the straw that broke this camel's back. I looked, and our library doesn't have a copy of this book. So ... onto my amazon wish list it has gone, and I have a feeling it won't be long before it shows up in the mail here. Oohh - just occurred to me. Mother's day is coming soon! I can maintain my "but I didn't buy it!" halo for just a little bit longer.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                      The recipes in this cookbook are perfect for weeknight meals. There's very little prep, and the cooking is swift. I'm making the spiced tofu tonight after cooking several dishes in a row with time out for "macaroni Monday." Here's the list of recipes from EYB:

                                                                                                                                                      I'm certain you'll like the book LLM. The plus is that the recipes are easily tweaked and adjusted for whatever is on hand. That's the part I love. That and the fact that everyone has been terrific... the only exception is the chicken and rice that simply needed more liquid which was my fault after all.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                        There are a lot of recipes on that list that look good to me. I think I'm sold. Thanks Gio (and I don't mean that sarcastically!)

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                      This (harissa and yogurt based chicken) was one of the many recipes on this thread that had my mouth watering. And now that I have the book it was time to start cooking. LulusDad is out of town so I wanted something especially simple and this seemed to fit the bill. And oh holy cow is this ever easy to put together. I bought 6 drumsticks and used those (with half the amount of coating). Cooked probably 35 minutes, maybe slightly more? Huge hit with me and with Lulu. We agreed that I need to make them when her dad is around. These aren't spicy hot, they are more warm and very flavorful. Served with roasted broccoli and cauliflower and some leftover pasta (this last not a huge hit with either of us this time around - mushy). Gio is so right about the mint - you taste it but as a very subtle backround note. Thanks for alerting me to this one Gio!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                        The 'warm and very flavourful' sounds very very good. My daughter isn't fond of anything hot at all. Not that she's fond of chicken either. But one could only hope.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                          I may not be the most trustworthy person on this, given that I love hot and spicy foods, but Lulu sometimes claims not to like "spicy" food and she loved this too. I think harissa isn't really very hot in most cases, and then it is tempered by the yogurt (not to mention the mint). This was really very simple to put together so it is definitely worth a shot.

                                                                                                                                                    3. Gingered Rice, Pg. 48, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                      And I quote, "Add two tablespoons shredded ginger before cooking rice by the absorption method." That's it. That's the recipe. Ms Hay says this is great to serve with Asian dishes. So I thought, "Why not. It's something different." The other two dishes we cooked last night were from Stir-frying to the Sky's Edge: Stir-fried Garlic Spinach and Stir-fried Tofu with Pickled Ginger.

                                                                                                                                                      The three dishes did go together very well but I thought the rice didn't have the "pungent ginger taste" she mentions. There was just a slight undertone of ginger in the jasmine rice we used. We used fresh new ginger. I don't think I'll make this again, easy though it is.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Onion, Anchovy, and Olive Tart, Pg. 96, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                        Basically a pissaladiere this recipe created a tasty, sweet and salty tart that we liked. It utilizes frozen puff pastry, a hefty amount of sliced onions slowly cooked till golden, halved black olives - mine were in olive oil, drained tinned anchovies, and Parmigiano.

                                                                                                                                                        Now, as I write this report I realize I didn't follow DH's directions for baking to the letter since I've baked many puff pastry tarts. (or so I thought) So while the onions are cooking the pastry was pre-baked for 10 minutes. She doesn't say to do that simply telling you to roll out the pastry and layer on the different components ending with the cheese. The tart is baked for 20 minutes or till it's golden and puffed.

                                                                                                                                                        The extra baking time not withstanding the finished tart was absolutely delicious. Just what one would expect from this combination of sweet onions and salty anchovies with the olive flavor and Parmigiano augmenting everything. I served a bistro salad from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells and the two dishes complimented each other beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Hokkien noodles (linguine) with sesame chicken (New Food Fast, p. 68)

                                                                                                                                                          My first foray into her savory work - perfectly reasonable but in no way a huge hit. I subbed linguine for the hokkien noodles, and maybe that made a difference in texture, but it don't imagine it made a big difference in taste. Heat sesame oil in wok and cook 2 chopped onions, add cut chicken and cook until browned; add soy sauce, chinese cooking wine or sherry, white miso paste and 2 cups of chinese greens (I used sliced bok choy) along with the noodles and stir fry/cook until greens are tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (nice touch). Perfectly pleasant but I think I am spoiled by F. Dunlop and Mighty Spice and felt like something was lacking - garlic? ginger? green onion slices?

                                                                                                                                                          1. Bok Choy [and Noodle] Stir-Fry, Pg. 62, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                            Instead of 8 heads of bok choy as the recipe calls for I had a very large choy sum to use up and the noodles in my case were bean sprouts. I feel both these substitutions worked out very well. In addition, having no fresh shiitakes and being pressed for time I used a small dash of fish sauce, and red pepper flakes for red chile. A bit of thinly sliced leek was included when the minced garlic was put into the wok. That added a light flavor note to the whole.

                                                                                                                                                            It's a pretty straight forward stir-fry recipe and comes together rather quickly. Light and fresh tasting this recipe is a perfect Asian-style vegetable side dish for just about anything.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                              Bok Choy and Noodle Stir-Fry, Pg. 62, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                              G made this for dinner last night and his version was Vastly different than mine, as in Spicy Hot. At first bite my taste buds were shocked, but after apparently adjusting to the invasion they settled down and I really enjoyed the dish. Again there were a few concessions made according to what was in our pantry: angel hair pasta not somen, 1 large bok choy not 8 smalls, 1 small jalapeno not a large red chili, button mushrooms not shiitakes.

                                                                                                                                                              The ingredients are stir-fried at intervals: garlic and chili are wokked in peanut oil first, then prepped bok choy and mushrooms, chicken stock and soy are next.

                                                                                                                                                              To serve, noodles are placed into a bowl and the vegetables with broth are ladled on top. The noodles absorbed all the best flavors, and the fat mushrooms became quite meaty, giving body to the finished dish. I really didn't need anything more to eat than this.

                                                                                                                                                            2. I just received my copy of Donna Hay Instant Cook, it was only a penny, plus the usual $4 shipping. I went through it last night and I really am glad I purchased it. The recipes look great for a weeknight, and I like how the entire recipe is on one page. I might do a "Donna Hay" week at might house pretty soon.

                                                                                                                                                              1. I spent some time yesterday looking through Off the Shelf and I cannot wait to cook from it. Lulu and I are planning to make the chicken in yogurt and harissa that Gio reported on earlier. If things are as good as they sound and look, this is going to be a big hit for me.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Balsamic and Tomato Roast Chicken, Pg. 99, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                                  Doesn't that sound delicious? I thought so too when I chose the recipe to make for dinner last night. The hour was late, the ingredients were at hand, the timing was quick... 20-ish minutes in the oven is all. Great I thought.

                                                                                                                                                                  The dish is constructed of thick length-wise slices of eggplant, chicken breasts, canned whole roasted tomatoes drained and quartered, swimming in a sauce of balsamic vinegar/capers/EVOO/brown sugar/basil/cracked pepper. Stacks are made of the eggplant, chicken, tomatoes. The dressing is poured over top and the baking dish is popped into a pre-heated 400F oven for between 20 and 25 minutes. I did make two substitutions which was fresh tomato in place of canned and dried oregano for fresh basil.

                                                                                                                                                                  After 25 minutes it was obvious the chicken and eggplant were far from cooked. So, back in the oven for another 15 minutes it went. At the sound of the bell look again, nope, back in it goes. After another 10 minutes G decided it was cooked. I plated the chicken/eggplant stack atop an undressed mound of baby spinach and ladled the sauce over all.

                                                                                                                                                                  Now here's the thing: The eggplant although it did not look cooked was soft and saturated with the sauce, a good thing. The chicken was perfectly cooked with lovely juicy tender meat and a hint of balsamic, a very good thing. The sauce however had not reduced as I thought it would, but looked watery. With trepidation we drew up chairs and tables in front of the TV, found a terrific British detective story on PBS and had ourselves a delicious late evening meal. All's well that ends well...

                                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    As you say, all's well that ends well, but gee, I can totally imagine your frustration. I would have been a bit disappointed about the sauce, and really can imagine myself tapping my foot, arms crossed in front of the oven when it wasn't ready when it was supposed to be. I'll make a note of all this in my book - thanks for test-driving for us.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                      How big are your chicken pieces? I'm thinking it's another one of those issue with very large north american produce. Here, I can't imagine any boneless chicken breasts not cooked within 15-20min.

                                                                                                                                                                      Of course, that won't solve the mystery of the non-reduced sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                        Gio, I looked at the recipe and there isn't that much liquid to start with. Since you used fresh tomatoes, maybe you should've deseeded them to get rid of the extra juice? I am assuming your oven temp. is correct and you didn't cover the dish. Most puzzling! The dish sounds delicious, healthy and summery to me - must make :)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Herby, lilham, LLM. The three chicken breasts were just a couple of ounces over a pound. Not too thick either, but an after thought was that maybe I should have pounded them a bit. I suppose that deseeding the tomatoes would have reduced the liquid but honestly when I read the recipe that didn't occur to me since I roast tomatoes with meat and vegetables often, and the amount of balsamic is only 1/4 cup IIRC. I really expected the "sauce" to be reduced and sticky... much like a gastrique.

                                                                                                                                                                          When all is said and done it's a fine recipe and I'll probably try it again w the canned tomatoes and basil. Thanks very much for all your feedback!

                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: Another thought is instead of using a stainless roasting pan I used a Pyrex baking dish just large enough to hold all three stacks with out moving around the dish. I wonder if that contributed to the slow cooking. Just a thought...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                            If you used canned tomatoes would you drain first?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe says to drain and quarter.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                              Gio, in the picture breasts do not appear to be pounded and tomatoes are in strips, not halves as recipe says, and definitely drained. Sauce looks thick and delicious and not a tomato seed in sight.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                            I made this a while ago but didn't report on it which was remiss of me. I don't recall any issues with the timing and we liked it pretty well. I used canned tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                            Your chicken breasts sound normal sized to me. Not like the whoppers I had to deal with in Grand Cayman!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                              Made this again the other night and enjoyed it a lot. My two chicken breasts (just under a pound) were perfectly cooked after 25 minutes. I love that this recipe takes five minutes to put together so dinner can be ready in half an hour.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. STICKY THAI CHICKEN - DONNA HAY "THE INSTANT COOK" p 86

                                                                                                                                                                            This was my first Donna Hay recipe I attempted. It didn't turn out so well, mainly because of me and my crappy stove. You make a sauce from chilis (I used red Fresnos), ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar, and then cook the chicken thighs in the sauce. My sauce started burning well before the chicken was done, so I had to scrape off the burned bits before serving. BUT, what we were able to eat was delicous, and I served atop brown rice with some steamed broccoli.

                                                                                                                                                                            Three out of the four meals I'm making next week are Donna Hay recipes, 2 from this book and one I found online, so I'll have more to report after that :)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. HONEY MUSTARD BEEF (PORK) STIR FRY DONNA HAY "INSTANT COOK" P. 114

                                                                                                                                                                              This turned out much better than the sticky thai chicken :) Also, my favorite part of this recipe was that it literally came together in under 30 minutes with few ingredients. You heat up a wok or frying pan on high heat, then add some oil, sliced onions (she called for quartered but I prefer smaller slices in my food), and crushed garlic. Move that around for a couple minutes, then add in the meat. I used some boneless center cut pork loin chops that I sliced up thinly since they were on sale this week. You also add in some vegetables at this point. I used fresh green beans, and I did steam them for about 3 minutes in the microwave too since I don't like nearly raw green beans. The sauce is just dijon mustard mixed with honey and you throw that in at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                              Overall very delicious, and ideal for a very quick weeknight meal, and the ingredients could be easily swapped out for what's on hand... use chicken, beef, pork, and veggies like asparagus and snap peas/snow peas would be good as well. I think this would go over well with kids too with the honey mustard flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Persian spiced pilaf with harissa seared beef (p. 42 OtS)

                                                                                                                                                                                First night home for the whole family in about a month, and I wanted to do something that seemed a little special but wasn't going to take a lot of time. So ... time to pull out some beef to make the others happy. I had some harissa in the fridge, so this seemed like a no brainer. Turns out no one else in the family is as enamored of pilaf as I am. Oops! The beef was a hit though. But let me tell you about this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                First DH has you rinse the rice under cold water, then put the rice, vegetable stock, a cinnamon stick, some bruised cardamom seeds and a pinch of saffron into a saucepan over medium heat (she never mentions salt, but I went ahead and added some anyway, and boy am I glad I did). Once this boils you cover, reduce heat and let cook for 12 minutes or "until soft." I usually work on the rule that you never lift the cover on rice until the time it should be done. And sure enough, at 12 minutes it was no where near done but was drying out in an unpleasant way. I added a bit of water and cooked it an additional 5 minutes which was probably just about right. Meanwhile you take the beef (she calls for 8x1 cm 1/2 in thick slices beef fillet or sirloin) and spread harissa on all sides. My beef was two fillets which were *much* thicker. You sprinkle the beef with shredded green onions (the biggest pain in the whole recipe, and it all ended up getting burnt and uneaten so I would skip that part the next time) and put in a preheated (unoiled) pan. So the beef took quite a while and the green onions burned. However, the beef was very tasty. That part of the meal was a big hit with everyone. But my husband, who is usually the first to pop up and get more of whatever is available, skipped seconds on the rice, and Lulu wouldn't even finish what was on her plate (and she is normally a Huge rice fan). I thought it was pleasant enough. Oh well. I served this with roasted squash and parsnips with cumin and coriander seeds. Lulu insisted that I make the beef and the roasted vegetables again, but made it clear she wasn't a fan of the rice. So this recipe was pretty much a mixed bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, one other thing - I had (and I need to learn not to do this) only looked at the ingredients when making my grocery list. It wasn't until home from the store yesterday that I noticed that at the bottom of the recipe it says "serve with a little plain yogurt mixed with mint if you wish." And sure enough, the photo shows this. My wonderful husband went out and picked up some locally made tzatziki that went really well with the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Spiced tofu (p. 124, OtS)

                                                                                                                                                                                  I liked this a lot; others were ok with it. Very very easy to make. In a frying pan put hoisin, chinese rice wine (I used dry sherry), ginger, 2 small chopped chilies and some chicken stock (I used veg because that is what I had handy) and simmer. Slice firm tofu and simmer in the sauce until heated through. What could be easier? And while I sometimes find hoisin a little sweet for my tastes, I thought this was really nice and flavorful (and spicy! - I left the seeds in one of my chilies). One might add some garlic to the sauce, but it isn't really necessary. She says to serve it on steamed greens. I served on roasted green beans with rice. Very happy with this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. SOY CHICKEN AND RICE POT - THE INSTANT COOK

                                                                                                                                                                                    Another winner winner chicken dinner :) Plus, I think this is the quickest recipe so far from this book that I've made. You put some jasmine rice on to cook, and while it is doing it's thing, you mix soy sauce, chinese cooking wine or sherry (I used sherry since that's what I had), and sugar in a frying pan and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling you add in the chicken. Recipe calls for breasts but I used tenderloins. You cook in the sauce for 2 minutes on each side. At this point, the rice is nearly done so you then move the chicken onto the rice and cover and let it finish for about 5 more minutes. You also let the soy sauce "sauce" simmer so it gets syrupy. Once the chicken is done, dish it out, and you drizzle the soy syrup all over.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Like I said, this was very quick and easy. I also steamed some sugar snap peas and added those at the end. Very good meal, and only around 500 calories too.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Honey-Seared Salmon with Coriander Noodles - Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                                                      My first recipe from a Donna Hay book and it's not a success. (But I'm not going to give up yet since so many here are smitten by her).

                                                                                                                                                                                      It's definitely very simple and quick. Julienne 1-2 zucchini in a food processor. Cook noodles. Make a dressing of honey, soy, lime juice/zest, chopped mint, coriander and basil. Add honey, salt and pepper on salmon and pan fry. Drain noodles, toss dressing and zucchini into noodles, top with seared salmon. Serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It's not bad given the little effort that is required to make it. But the end result is rather bland. I'm ok with it and think it is fresh and light. Mr lilham hated it (he likes very spicy and heavily flavoured food).

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                        Lilham, right now I'm sort of on a fence. Dessert-wise I'm sold - completely sold. But so far my savory things have been a mixed bag, so don't feel like you're alone. And I find some of the instructions odd or missing things. I'm going to keep trying - my last try was a big success for me, but the two savory books of hers I have so far have given me mixed results. I'm prefering Diana Henry for quick, tasty and reliable meals.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you look above my first one (the sticky thai chicken) was not a big success, but the others have been. Just keep trying :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. SIMMERED TOMATO & BASIL CHICKEN - INSTANT COOK P. 90

                                                                                                                                                                                          Link to recipe here: http://www.ivillage.com/simmered-toma...

                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this on Monday but forgot to do my writeup then. Another quick and easy recipe, but I was a bit disappointed in the sauce. It was just kind of meh. I think if I tried this again I would add more seasoning, even just the dried italian stuff to keep it easy, and maybe some red pepper flakes. Also her directions in this were a bit odd.... you soften the onions and garlic, then add the chicken to brown. Then you add the tomato puree and sugar, and then it says to stir, but I thought it would be kind of hard to do that w/ the chicken in, so I actually took out the chicken after browning, and added it back in once the sauce was all mixed up together. Overall, just OK for this one, but it did yield a very moist chicken that reheated well in the microwave.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Thai Caramelized (Pork) Salad, Pg. 120, Off the Shelf.

                                                                                                                                                                                            This simple dish was perfect for a Summer's evening meal, all by itself. Pleasantly sweet, spicy, and sticky meat and a simple salad dressed with the thickened sauce. Filling and satisfying. Instead of pork tenderloin or boneless pork fillets I used boneless skinless chicken thighs at the same weight as the pork. It worked out wonderfully well. I reduced the amount of sugar to one half of the original. using 1/4 c raw organic sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The sauce is put together and cooked first: soy sauce, sugar, small red chilies, ginger, ground star anise, fish sauce, lime juice. G used a wok to cook this for about 5 minutes. The meat, after slicing into bite size pieces, was added and cooked "4 min on each side or until tender", we estimated this so the chicken was removed from the pan after about 10 minutes. The sauce continues at a simmer till much thicker.

                                                                                                                                                                                            In the meantime prepare a salad of greens. I used green leaf lettuce with the required basil, mint, and cilantro, and added sliced radishes and a shaved carrot. Serve the meat with the salad and drizzle all with the sauce. We both loved this dish. All the sprightly flavors came through beautifully. I suppose at another time of year one might want rice or a grain but on a humid Summer night this was just perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Muddy Chocolate Cake (with chocolate glaze) p. 72, Classics 2

                                                                                                                                                                                              Lulu wanted it to be a jammy day (in other words, we stay in our jammies all day long) today, and she wanted to bake something. I had sort of hoped it would be lamingtons, and dutifully stocked up on coconut. But she had other plans. She took this book and sat down with a sheet of paper and wrote out what sounded good to her today. A few things I had to nix immediately because we didn't have the ingredients on hand, and this almost went out too since it calls for dark chocolate and all we had was semi-sweet. But I figured she'd probably actually like it better with the semi-sweet and we went for it. I'd never heard of a muddy chocolate cake before, and am still not sure what it really means, but I can tell you that despite this taking a bit more work than the other recipes we've tried from this book, it is very good. You melt chocolate with butter. You blend egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. You whip egg whites to a stiff peak. (you apparently have a lot of hands and at least 2 standing mixers!). You fold the chocolate mix into the yolk mix; sift flour and baking powder over this and then fold the egg white mixture through it. Lulu was extremely amused by the term fold. I was unamused to find that I didn't have an 8 inch cake pan, and used a 9 inch one instead, reducing the time by 15 minutes (not only because of the pan size, but because the one problem I've had with this book - or more likely with my oven - is that things have tended to be overcooked when done as long as called for in these recipes). The cake was ready just a little less than an hour in (at 260 - never baked at so low a temp before). Let it cool and then pour the chocolate glaze (a mix of chocolate and cream) over the top. Really nice and light and airy and delicious. Another hit from this book. I have had mixed results from her other books, but the dessert book has been filled with wonderful, easy, delicious treats for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm happy to see you post about a cake, because while you may have oven issues, you obviously once more have a working stove! The oven in my house is a small electric convection one with the element at the top, and I always start checking ahead of recipes' stated times, because things are often done earlier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I have dealt with the beaten egg whites and other beaten stuff in various ways. If the egg yolks and sugar are combined but not beaten to add volume, I'd do that with a whisk and use the mixer for the whites. Or, if using my hand mixer for both, do the whites first and then the other stuff, so I didn't need to wash and dry the beaters (the whites can sit for a bit without deflating). And I know those with stand mixers who do them first, scrape them into another bowl, and then use the mixer bowl for the rest so as not to have to wash it. I have only recently acquired a stand mixer, and with the Breville I got, you can buy a companion bowl that's slightly smaller and conveniently designed to nest in the main bowl for storage, so I can do two things without having to wash one first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Caitlin, you are absolutely right. If I'd been thinking I'd have done the egg yolks by hand and the whites with the standing mixer. If we make the cake again (and it really is awfully good so that is a possibility) that is the way I'd go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And yes!!! After almost 5 weeks without an oven or stove I am now up and running again. But I was glad that I'd remembered how these recipes tend to make my oven seem to be running hot (weirdly, other recipes don't do this) because the cake definitely didn't need the hour and 15 minutes she calls for.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Caramelised Chicken (Wings)Thighs with Sour Cream Dressing, On-line Recipe

                                                                                                                                                                                                Saint George once again executed a most delicious dinner, albeit another quick and easy one, and this Dragon Lady loved it. As I noted the recipe calls for chicken wings but we substituted bone-in skin-on thighs. They were on the small side but there was so much flavor from the organic chicken that two for me was more than enough. A dipping sauce that includes sour cream [yogurt], chopped chives [scallions], lemon juice & zest, and smoked paprika heightened the satisfaction factor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                To cook the chicken all the ingredients are placed on a baking sheet: thighs/sherry vinegar/sugar/[Maldon] salt, tossed to coat the chicken, then placed in a pre-heated 425F oven. This roasts from 40 - 45 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The chicken is plated with the dressing on the side. A very simple Donna Hay tomato salad was included. https://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/f...

                                                                                                                                                                                                You will notice there is no oil used in the chicken recipe. However, the juices from the chicken combined with the sherry vinegar and lemon juice created a most luscious, if thin, sauce. I'm almost sorry there was no rice or bread to soak it up but a meal without a starch is just fine when everything else is so tasty. The dressing was tangy with a unique smoky flavor and was perfect with tender chicken bites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I might just get myself a chaise lounge, recline in stunning dressing gowns, and let the pampering continue!

                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, that sounds really good and really easy. Thanks for including the link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's no S & P in the recipe, LLM, and we didn't miss it but you might want to add a pinch or more of each. It seems Ms Hay omits salt and pepper frequently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've noticed that, and I guess I assumed that we all just assumed we were supposed to put it in without her having to tell us. My husband puts so much pepper in stuff that he's constantly having to refill the grinder (and it is one of those BIG ones) so he wouldn't be thrilled if it didn't have any in to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe a dumb question, but what can I substitute for sherry vinegar and sour cream? I can't find them here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pearlyriver

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looks like Gio was subbing yogurt. I would think most other vinegars would be ok, if maybe not quite so flavorful. I'm sure Gio will have more useful input since she's the one who made it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pearlyriver

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm so very sorry not to have answered your question in good time, pearlyriver. My substitute for the sour cream was drained yogurt, as LLM mentioned, and my sub for sherry vinegar would have been white wine vinegar. I hope you were able to make the recipe in spite of my very late response.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Short Order: Tuna and Lemon, Pg. 30, Off the Shelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The fastest recipe in the northern hemisphere. Cook 14 oz. macaroni (penne). Open 2 cans tuna in olive oil, slice a red onion, squeeze some lemon juice, chop some Italian parsley, get the EVOO. Drain pasta, toss with the ingredients, add S & P. Not in the recipe but G added a pinch of red pepper flakes and grated Parmigiano over top. Twenty minutes and he's out the door to a meeting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The finished dish was quite tasty although a tad dry. If I had to do this over again I'd make the following adjustments:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Slice a couple of garlic cloves and fry them and the onion in EVOO till they have a little color, and include the RPF here. There was plenty of rich tuna fish flavor to satisfy so I may or may not include a couple of anchovies and let them break down. I would add a handful of fresh or frozen green peas, or diced carrot, or corn kernels, or all three. Proceed with the recipe. Three Tablespoons of lemon juice are called for but that may have to increase in my version, or add lemon zest as well. Drizzle with more EVOO. As it was written, though, I was pretty impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We do something very similar and add a tablespoon or two of capers and/or chopped kalamatas. So easy and very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Those sound like worthy additions as well. Thanks LLM!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I am enjoying Off The Shelf recipes very much and feel terrible about ruining the book - it got soaked somehow at the cottage, pages stuck together... you got the picture - but still cook from it now and then though it is not very pleasant. So when I saw Fresh and Light at Costco I scooped it up. Lovely book to look at in a typical DH fashion. Made two recipes so far - Essential Green Soup and Roasted Carrot and Fennel spread I'll call it as it is not really dip-able - both very tasty. Roasted carrots with just olive oil, salt and pepper and couldn't stop eating them - so good! The spread had wonderful aroma of just toasted fennel (I grounded it in mortar) - lovely for snacking on as is and will be good on crackers too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Red Curry of Swordfish (Off the Shelf, p. 138)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          We liked this and would make it again with some changes. There were both user errors and problems with the way this dish is written, but there is a lot of potential here. Basically you use a bottled Thai red curry paste and coconut milk. She asks you to add a finely chopped stalk of lemongrass. I went ahead and did this, but my guess is that the bottled pastes they have in Australia might be different from what you can get here, since the one I have already has lemon grass in it, and I don't think it added a heck of a lot; I'd probably skip this next time to make the meal even quicker. Also, she asks for 1 tablespoon of the curry paste. After tasting the mixture with the lemongrass and coconut milk I felt strongly that it needed another tablespoon. And not a soul at dinner thought it was especially spicy. Once this has simmered together for a bit you add in your swordfish steaks. Her instructions read to cook them for 2-3 minutes on each side or until done to your liking. We like our swordfish on the rare-ish side, and I would think that cooking time would be just right ... if you weren't cooking it in a wet sauce at just a simmer. I'd say we did an extra 2 minutes per side to get it even just rare. Maybe she forgot to mention to turn it up from a simmer? Once cooked to your liking you stir in lime juice and basil leaves. And this is one where the lack instructions for adding salt really stands out - I was glad I remembered that her recipes are written this way because it needed the salt to bring the flavors together. But they are wonderful flavors and really zing in your mouth. We agreed that scallops, shrimp, a less firm white fish would all be delightful given this treatment, and that we'd probably cut the fish into bite sized pieces. This was served with jasmine rice and roasted broccoli.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. PRAWN PAELLA – DONNA HAY SIMPLE ESSENTIALS – PASTA, RICE + NOODLES – p. 58

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Truly scrumptious and versatile. I’ve used this recipe on a number of occasions. This time around I added 2 b/s chx thighs (chopped), some peas and black olives to the mix. I always add 1tsp of smoked sweet paprika and 2 Thai bird chillis. The recipe calls for Arborio rice and incorporates the chicken stock a little at a time so the dish is prepared much like a risotto. I’ve made many paella recipes but this seems to have become my “go-to” favourite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This dish looks so gorgeously scrumptious. I don't have the cookbook but I guess the paella recipe on her website is the same?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I just made her chocolate chip cookies and I did not find them tasty and cookie-like at all. They didn't have that cookie chewiness we all look for in a cookie. They were small (did not spread) out of the oven as well. Although the instructions were quick and easy, the taste unfortunately was lacking. I wonder if it's because the ingredients required the use of oil instead of butter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Has anyone else tried the chocolate chip cookies?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: anumz22

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think these are typical Australian/British chocolate chip cookies. If you look, most of them have no leavener. They are sort of like shortbreads with chocolate chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I just discovered Donna Hay and love her recipes. I haven't tried one yet but they sure look good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChocolateGanache

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hopefully you'll find lots of inspiration here CG. Welcome & Happy Cooking!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChocolateGanache

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Welcome ChocolateGanache! Donna Hay has a great following here, so much so that there's a separate "Cooking From" thread for those of who periodically cook from her books and magazines: