Cookbook Review: Donna Hay’s Simple Dinners

My rating 4 stars


As is typical of Donna Hay, this book has impeccable styling, chorizo, and canned caramel.

I made her cheat’s chocolate and salted caramel tarts which were very sweet but a quick win.

Donna has some really great ideas that are simple to make and seem pretty tasty.  I like it better than her last book Fast Fresh and Simple (review here). It also avoids some of the dreadful editing mistakes from that book.  I also like this better than Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals (review here).

This book is perfect for the busy or lazy cook. They are pretty much pantry ready and if not, then the ingredients are easily found at a supermarket. Unless you want thin chocolate biscuits! (see below)

Above: Miso Grilled Fish, Salmon and Dill Pie

Above: Pork and Sweet Potato Curry, Asian Pork Spare Ribs

Above: Caramelised Chilli Pork Neck

Above: Spiced Lamb Pies


Above: Caramelised Onion and Potato Frittata, Soft egg and crispy pancetta pasta

Cheat’s chocolate and salted caramel tarts

  • 12 thin plain round chocolate biscuits
  • 1/4 cup store-bought caramel filling or dulce de leche
  • sea salt flakes, to serve
  • dark chocolate filling
  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) single pouring cream

Preheat over to 140C 275F.  Place the biscuits into a 12 x 30 ml capacity lightly greased shallow patty tin.  Bake for 5 mins or until soft.  Using a clean tea towel, press the biscuits into the tin to form a shell and allow to cool.

To make the chocolate filling, place the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.  Spoon filling into the biscuit shells and refrigerate until firm.  Top the tarts with the caramel and sprinkle with a little sea salt to serve.  Makes 12.

Call me ignorant but I couldn’t find really thin chocolate biscuits so I used chocolate ripple biscuits.

Tons of leftover chocolate filling (Tip: Freeze it and use it later as a sauce). Also tons of leftover caramel which I made into icecream.

This book isn’t high on originality. In fact its really the better version of Fast Fresh and Simple.

Nevertheless this is good modern Australian cuisine done in a simple beautiful way.

My rating 4 stars.

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Simple Dinners
Simple Dinners


  • July 2, 2012 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Looks pretty yummo. Just wondering what brand of caramel you use? I’ve never cooked with caramel filling. Is there much variation between brands?

    • admin
      July 2, 2012 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Hi Clarey
      I just used the nestle can from the supermarket. I’m blogging from Australia if that helps.

  • July 3, 2012 - 7:44 am | Permalink

    Cool. I was worried it was something fancy :) I’m making this on the weekend! (I’m in Aus, too)

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