Donna Hay’s Back to Basics: Here’s Three Simple, Delicious Recipes to Thrash This Summer

With the promise of a long dry summer ahead – hopefully perfect entertaining weather – we’ve got a batch of delicious, genius recipes from Donna Hay, that you’ll soon have on rotation!

One of Australia’s most high profile food editors and cooks, Donna Hay is renowned for her simple, seasonal, beautifully presented dishes which work every time. Her bestselling cookbooks have sold over eight million copies worldwide. And now, she haas released her much anticipated cookbook, Even More Basics to Brilliance, the companion to her bestselling Basics to Brilliance. This book presents more of the much-loved recipes everyone needs in their repertoire. Donna offers simple switch ups and clever variations to signature dishes to present new tricks for the modern cook. 

Za’atar lamb skewers with whipped feta

  • 700g lamb backstrap (loin), cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar, plus extra
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 200g soft feta
  • ½ cup (125g) plain thick yoghurt
  • warm flatbread, lettuce and cucumber, to serve

Step 1 Combine lamb, oregano, lemon rind, garlic, oil, za’atar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Step 2 Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat.

Step 3 Thread lamb onto 8 metal skewers and cook for 6–8 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked.

Step 4 Whisk feta and yoghurt together. Top flatbreads with lettuce, cucumber, lamb skewers, the whipped feta and extra za’atar. Serves 4

Ricotta fritters

  • 4 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • ¼ cup (10g) finely chopped basil leaves
  • ¾ cup (60g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • ⅔ cup (100g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups (720g) firm fresh ricotta+
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying
  • lemon wedges and extra basil leaves, to serve

Step 1 Place the eggs, lemon rind, basil, parmesan, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix to combine. Sift over the flour and baking powder and mix to combine. Add the ricotta and stir to combine.

Step 2 Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook ¼-cupfuls of the mixture in batches, flattening slightly, for 3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through.

Step 3 Serve with lemon wedges, extra basil and parmesan. Serves 4

Cook’s note: For the fluffiest fritters, choose fresh ricotta from your delicatessen or supermarket deli rather than the pre-packaged tubs.

No-fuss flatbread

  • 2 cups (300g) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1¼ cups (310g) plain thick yoghurt
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

garlic and parsley oil

  • ⅓ cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

Step 1 Place the flour and baking powder in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the yoghurt and salt and mix until a rough dough forms.

Step 2 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal portions. With lightly floured hands, roll each portion into a ball, then lightly dust in the extra flour. Roll each ball between sheets of non-stick baking paper to an 18cm (7 inch) round.

Step 3 To make the garlic and parsley oil, place the oil, garlic and parsley in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

Step 4 Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Brush one side of the flatbread with olive oil and cook, in batches, for 40 seconds–1 minute. Brush the other side with oil, flip and cook for a further 1 minute or until cooked through and charred.

Step 5 Transfer the flatbread to wire racks and brush with the garlic and parsley oil while hot, if desired. Serve warm. Makes 6

Cook’s notes: For the fluffiest results, keep the dough as wet as possible, and try not to overwork the dough when rolling it. Store the flatbread in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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