It’s easy to recognise a Donna Hay cookbook. The queen of gorgeous styling and branding knows the power of both familiarity and consistent best quality, and A Cook’s Guide – a compendium of donna hay magazine’s How to Cook sections – is another mouthwatering concoction for the home cook who wants simplicity with their deliciousness.
There’s a reason we’re keen to master classic recipes and dishes that stand the test of time. They’re good. And having them in your culinary repertoire is both satisfying and impressive . . . pulling off the perfect pav or fantabulous frittata for friends and family is am honourable feat indeed.
The glorious thing about Donna Hay’s recipes is that they fully honour her credo – fast, fresh, simple. The longtime chef, editor, stylist and author certainly puts her all into sourcing the best of the best, yet openly flaunts a shortcut here, a fast-track there . . . shamelessly encouraging the attainment of fabulous food without the fuss and bother.
If you’re anything like me – a woman with bookshelves buckling under the weight of every single donna hay magazine since inception – a collection of recipes in one stylish book is a kitchen must-have. Keen to save myself the magazine wade-through (and failing the promise I made to myself to compile my fave recipes from each mag since 2001), A Cook’s Guide is a neat and tidy collection of all the popular dishes I also promised myself I’d make.
Beginning with Mains, dishes include such classics as roast lamb, chicken and pork, polenta, gratin, gnochhi, baked risotto and the iconic chicken soup. In Essentials, we learn how to make home-made tomato sauce, onion relish, curry paste, salsa verde, blini and flatbread, among many other tempters.
In Baking (my favourite section, just quietly), sweet-tooths can master such delectables as the perfect sponge cake, caramel slice, scones, choux pastry and brioche. In Desserts (another favourite), eyes will roll in heavenward delight at pavlova, lemon curd, panna cotta, baked custard and apple and blueberry crumble, just to name a few.
The collection also includes a helpful glossary and index – and aesthetic readers will adore the iconic pale blue and white imagery, modern-whimsical styling and stunning photography the Donna Hay brand is known for.
Get set to master a classic repertoire of dishes every food-lover craves, without the gastronomic hyperbole and head-spinning rigmarole. Yes, this book is fast, fresh and simple. And that’s just the way we like it.