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Donna Hay--Off the Shelf

madnoodle's picture

My MIL brought me her copy of this book last week, b/c she says she doesn't use it.  It looks wonderful.  I'm not sure what to try first.  Wondering if someone else who has this book can steer me towards some favourites.

Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?


Adele's picture

(post #62698, reply #1 of 13)

I have one of hers and do not care for it either.

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Barbara48's picture

(post #62698, reply #2 of 13)

I think I like them in theory rather than in fact. I have several and read through them then never make anything. I guess that is telling. The pictures are beautiful and the recipes simple. Can't understand it.

madnoodle's picture

(post #62698, reply #3 of 13)

It's definitely lovely to look at, but I'm still wondering if anyone actually cooks from it.  That's two votes no, three if you count my MIL.  Hmmmm.

Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?


deejeh's picture

(post #62698, reply #4 of 13)

I have 2 of her cookbooks, and have made a couple of things.  I wasn't impressed enough to rush back to her books when looking for inspiration.  The photography is gorgeous, though.


courgette's picture

(post #62698, reply #5 of 13)

I have lots of her magazines and her latest cookbook was a xmas gift. I haven't made anything from any of them, so can't really comment. But I do like to read them. But then that's what I do with all my cookbooks. I have piles all over the house, sometimes takes days to find the one I am looking for! LOL


Sondra's picture

(post #62698, reply #6 of 13)

I keep trying to love Donna Hay as well.  I love the layout, photography, and even the subject matter.  But cannot bring myself to make a recipe out of one of her books.

Glenys's picture

(post #62698, reply #7 of 13)

"It looks wonderful."
I think you've hit the nail on the head. No cookbook is really going to be worthwhile unless the food in it appeals to you. I have no interest in RLB's Cake Bible for that reason but Fleming's The Last Course is a must. Cookbooks are like restaurant menus, they either appeal to your tastebuds or it's not a happening deal. I don't have Off The Shelf, which I think was her last book with my publisher Whitecap, but I refer to her books for ideas and sometimes grab a recipe. There's definitely a pan-Asian freshness, good smattering of Italian inspiration, chocolate desserts and comfort foods. Her recipes are dead easy so you'll probably check out the recipe and wing the method anyway.
If you've got your pantry stock with some of the ingredients, you'll probably find inspiration for some quick meals, 'cause that's what she's about. Sadly, even here, the lack of seafood sometimes makes me cry when I see dishes in her books.

madnoodle's picture

(post #62698, reply #8 of 13)

Thanks Glenys.  Lots of interesting ideas and combinations in there.   I'll give it a second look.

Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?


ashleyd's picture

(post #62698, reply #10 of 13)

OK, this is not from Off the Shelf, it's from the Instant Cook, but I tried it last night but it hit all the right buttons, quick, simple, tasty, minimal ingredients. She cautions to use a "good quality" Parmesan, heaven knows what kind of rubbish they must sell in Australia!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Donna Hay)

Serves 4


4 chicken breast fillets

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese

cracked black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 200¢ªC (390¢ªF).

Line a baking tray with baking paper (or Silpat)

Dip the chicken breasts into the egg whites then toss in the combined Parmesan and pepper to coat.

Place on the baking tray and cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is golden and cooked through.

Serve with a simple rocket (arugula) and tomato salad.


Comment.  The chicken was (more or less) cooked at 15 minutes but the cheese was still a little pale.  2 minutes under the broiler fixed that.  I was quite generous with the pepper and it was quite hot, but still very tasty.


Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

madnoodle's picture

(post #62698, reply #11 of 13)

Sounds yummy Ashley.  Thanks.

Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?


Syrah's picture

(post #62698, reply #12 of 13)

We get the awful kraft in a green jar too. That must be what she is referring to. Well, at least, I think we do. Mum used to buy it, but I can't say I've ever looked for it.

"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off"
Gloria Steinem

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

Risottogirl's picture

(post #62698, reply #13 of 13)

Apparently Rachel Ray does something similar. My 7 year old niece was watching her program and she dragged me in and informed me she wanted THAT chicken for her birthday dinner the next day AND she wanted to help me prepare it.

This from the child that balks at anything that isn't a vegetable. Except for boiled ham.

RR uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts and she coats them with shredded parm not grated. No egg, but it sticks! Just cook them in a non-stick pan. Sort of tastes like a crispy parmesan tuile wrapped around chicken. It was pretty good. I'd have served it as DH suggests with a salad, but her highness wanted roasted asparagus, green beans with "peanuts" (actually hazelnuts) and "white broccoli with toast crumbs" (cauliflower gratin).

Not that anyone here is complaining about a child that requests three different and not exactly "plain" veggies.

My sister told me yesterday that my niece makes this chicken at home now, with help from her dad of course.

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor

Bobby Flay

Edited 4/17/2006 11:46 pm ET by Risottogirl - because I cannot type today

Edited 4/18/2006 7:15 am ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

a1wang's picture

(post #62698, reply #9 of 13)

I've gotten a couple of her magazines this year since one of the food tasters at our local Trader Joe's recommended it (and also Delicious, another Australian food mag). I then ended up buying both Classics 1 and 2, as well as New food Fast, although I am usually skeptical of glossy photos that promise more that the book delivers.
I cooked the fish with cherry tomatoes in Classics 1 and it was as beautiful and simple and delicious as the full page photograph that accompanied the recipe. Also, the fish with parsley sauce in New Food Fast is very similar to the herbed tilapia dish in the current FC.
My overall impression is that the recipes bring a truly "fusion" element to simple home cooking. she seems less "forced", more approachable and down to earth than Martha Stewart, without sacrificing flavor or good taste.
Have fun!