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The Instant Cook by Donna Hay

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Notes about this book

  • mzgourmand on May 03, 2016

    Chilli & basil stir-fried prawns This was a delicious and quick recipe. The sauce tasted like much more than the sum of its parts. The only red chilli ( that's how it's spelled in the recipe) I could find was habanero which is way up there on the spicy scale for me, so I used less than called for in the recipe. Will make again.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Lemon, tuna and white bean salad

    • Breadcrumbs on March 10, 2010

      p. 36 - March 2010: First use of this recipe. Good results were attained but only with modifications to recipe. Acid/oil ratio in recipe is off. If a cook used the 1/4cup of lemon juice required in the recipe they'd need 3/4 cup olive to off-set this acidity (not 2 tbsp as set out in recipe ingredients). This would produce far too much dressing for this salad. I used 2 tbsp lemon juice and 6 tbsp oil. I also added some lemon zest and, roughly chopped black olives. I'd use more capers next time around and, would also substitute baby shrimp for the tuna to have another option. This would also be good with some minced Thai bird chilies for an extra kick. Topped w a light dusting of parmesan grated w a rasp.

  • Seared salmon salad

    • Lindalib on July 06, 2012

      This was quick and easy and just ok. The mixed greens we used dominated all the other flavors so it might be better with some milder-tasting salad greens.

  • Mushroom ragout pappardelle

    • Astrid5555 on November 04, 2012

      Nice fall flavors! Love the combination of mushrooms with goat cheese. Will make again.

  • Pasta with ricotta, lemon and spinach

    • Astrid5555 on June 10, 2017

      This is a real instant recipe. The sauce can be made while the pasta is cooking, great way to use up some leftover ricotta. We all liked it even though I forgot to add the basil in the end. A keeper!

    • Breadcrumbs on April 14, 2013

      p. 58 I was looking for a pasta dish to use up a little fresh ricotta I had left and this recipe hit the spot. This dish was fresh and surprisingly light tasting. We especially loved the lemon and basil paired w the ricotta. After having it w fresh asparagus, I can’t imagine it w spinach. We really liked this. As w most DH dishes, prep is quick and easy. While the pasta boils, evoo, lemon juice, parmesan, S&P and basil are combined in a bowl. Drained pasta is tossed in and plates are to be topped w the ricotta. My ricotta was a little loose so I decided to add it to the bowl and just tossed everything at one. A lovely dinner in the time it takes to boil and drain pasta…wonderful! Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/895710#7992840

  • Simple cream pasta with lemon and basil

    • vikingcook on August 04, 2016

      The spinach and smoked salmon variation is delicious.

    • Astrid5555 on December 19, 2012

      Nice for a quick weeknight meal.

  • Lime and coconut chicken rice

    • twoyolks on July 24, 2017

      I didn't care for this. The flavor of the fish sauce was too strong and wasn't balanced by other flavors. I did have to reduce the lime juice by a third as I ran out but I don't think that would've helped the overall flavor.

  • Baked risotto with bacon and peas

    • SusanN on January 18, 2014

      I have only tried the chicken & spinach version and love it! There are 3 variations to this recipe: Pumpkin & fetta Asparagus & lemon Chicken & spinach

    • kandikan on November 15, 2017

      Cooking time is key for risotto and this recipe isn’t ‘set and forget’ like many baked dishes: you have to judge when to add the frozen peas, when to add the Parmesan, and then when to stop cooking. I found a clear casserole lid was more useful than foil for checking this. Also if it looks like I’m running out of cooking time I skip the frozen peas stage, and simply thaw / warm them and add them with the cheese towards the end.

  • Chicken roasted on eggplant and tomatoes

    • Astrid5555 on December 19, 2012

      Delicious, quick and easy.

  • Simmered tomato and basil chicken

    • Astrid5555 on July 02, 2014

      Good and simple weeknight friendly recipe.

  • Thai lime and lemongrass chicken

    • Breadcrumbs on April 14, 2013

      p. 93 - A quick and tasty dish that’s ideal for a weeknight meal. The only real labour in the preparation of this dish is the chopping of a few ingredients (lemongrass, green onions and ginger). I also chopped a couple of Thai bird chilis, which I’d elected to substitute for chili flakes. I also added some chopped garlic as well. Suffice to say this came together in no time. We had some brown jasmine rice leftover from a prior meal so we served this mixture atop the rice and it was indeed delicious and flavourful. I had some chopped, roasted peanuts in the freezer so I pulled those out and put them out for folks to sprinkle atop. I would definitely use the garlic and Thai bird chilies again as we enjoyed the flavours both brought to the dish. This is a keeper, prep can all be done ahead and it makes for a fast and enjoyable weeknight meal. Next time we’ll serve in lettuce cups. Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/895710#8017774

  • Chilli jam beef stir-fry

    • cathinchley on December 11, 2015

      Paste will darken as the sugar caramelises. Added chopped unsalted peanuts over the top at the end. Could use just a bit of salt in the paste to boost it up - maybe 1/2-1 tspn. Will try to add handful of beanshoots at the end next time and serve with coriander.

  • Honey roast vegetable on pepper polenta

    • Breadcrumbs on April 14, 2013

      p. 144 I was looking for a Mediterranean-style side dish to accompany our grilled lamb chops and potato gratin and this recipe sounded perfect. As you can deduce, it’s intended to be served atop some blue-cheese and peppercorn polenta but as delicious as that sounded, I had to take a pass on the latter. Since I already had a starch, I also omitted the sweet potatoes from this dish. This was sensational. It was one of those occasions where the underdog dish on the menu outshone the rest and really enchanted everyone. mr bc (who thinks bread is a vegetable and otherwise isn’t a fan) said he preferred this to mashed potatoes…seriously! Wow. There wasn’t a scrap leftover. I’m so excited to have discovered this one! Photos here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/895710#8018418

  • Roast vegetable couscous

    • Astrid5555 on December 19, 2012

      Have made several times already - big hit with the whole family.

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  • ISBN 10 0060772921
  • ISBN 13 9780060772925
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 27 2004
  • Format Hardcover
  • Language English
  • Countries Australia
  • Publisher HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • Imprint HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd

Publishers Text

Donna Hay is swiftly becoming the source American cooks go to when they ask themselves, What should we have for dinner tonight She has a passionate global following for her fresh and modern approch to food--bringing out clean, fresh flavors with simple techniques and streamlined instructions. In The Instant Cook, she offers more than a compendium of flexible recipes; it is an elegantly simple philosophy of cooking, and of eating.


Donna Hay pulls together flavor comhinations and cooking skills from the Mediterranean and the Pacific Rim--two of the most flavorful and quick-cooking cuisines on the planet--to create delicious meals with a handful of ingredients in a few minutes. She gives home cooks the confidence to cook with instinct and with style.


Exquisite full-color photographs on every page illustrate Donna's signature look--chic yet never fussy. It reminds you that cooking is a pleasure. Pour a glass of wine and catch up with family as you cook; shop without waste or confusion; host a weeknight dinner party with little planning and less effort. The Instant Cook is destined to be the cookbook that you use everyday.



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