Posts Tagged ‘donna hay’

Review of Life in Balance

It’s clear from the start that “Life in Balance” does not apply to the bank balance, because this is a book full of trendy food, incorporating fashionable ingredients that are expensive and not always easy to find. Lots of chia seed, spelt flour, ground almonds, and rice malt syrup. And lots and lots of vegetables, in places you would not expect them – like spinach in a smoothie!

The baking section is, not surprisingly, largely gluten-free, despite the scientific consensus that unless you have coeliac disease, gluten will not hurt you. But then, there isn’t a lot of science in foodie trendiness…

That said, this is a beautifully-presented book, with sections explaining the more unusual ingredients, where they come from, and why they are believed to be good for you. The food photography is excellent, and the book has a good limp binding, that sits nice and flat on the bench. There is a detailed glossary, and a proper index.

The only quibble I have with presentation is that many of the recipes are printed white on black, which can be harder to read. As for the content, if you are about to embark on the trendy diet, then this may well be a great book for you.

As for me, I’ll be pushed to find many recipes I can even begin to attempt with what I have in my (reasonably well-stocked) pantry.

Fourth Estate

Supplied by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui


Review of The New Easy – Donna Hay

Posted: January 13, 2015 in cookbook, Review

The New Easy

It’s a recipe book for sure… a very short introduction and straight on into the cooking, but it looks and feels like a coffee table book. For one thing it’s rather large, heavy, and almost square. The sheer size of the book means that it does sit nice and flat on the kitchen bench, but it does make it a bit unwieldy to actually read. It is lavishly illustrated with huge pictures, and possibly a bit too much white space. There is an irritating oddity in the typography (since when did anyone mention typography in a book review?). For some reason the designer has chosen to emphasize words like “AND” and “WITH” in recipe titles with capitals, bold and underline. I don’t know if this is going to be a trend, but if it is, please stop it!

And so to the actual content. There are an abundance of interesting things to cook in this volume, divided into chapters headed “weekdays”, “weekends”, “salads and sides”, “baking” and “desserts”. As you might expect from Donna Hay, it’s a very fashionable collection – lots of pasta and rice dishes, not so much for the humble potato, which is a pity since it’s a major source of vitamin C. There are plenty of other vegetables though, especially in the “salads and sides” section. The “baking” section offers some inspirational ideas too, like the “salted caramel chocolate brownie” which was greatly appreciated by my family and friends. One of the cleverest concepts in this book is the “re-style” options for some of the recipes which demonstrate alternative ways of serving these dishes.

However, I’m not sure how well the recipes have been tested, which is a bit of a worry. For example, I just tried the chicken and mushroom pies – nice idea, a chicken and mushroom filling in a hot water pastry, and they were very tasty. But, the oven temperature is not given, and the ratio of liquid to dry ingredients in the pastry is simply wrong. I checked against the ever-reliable Delia Smith and she uses just 50ml of liquid to 1½ cups of flour, while Donna Hay has 500ml to 4½ cups of flour (with equivalent amounts of fat). No wonder I found myself adding more flour… I’m sorry, but that kind of thing is enough to make me wonder whether this book can be trusted.

Fourth Estate

Supplied by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui