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The Instant Cook    by Donna Hay order for
Instant Cook
by Donna Hay
Order:  USA  Can
Fourth Estate, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

In the frontispiece of The Instant Cook, Chef Mario Batali says that Donna Hay is 'the new Zen mistress of simplicity in both technique and presentation.' In this, her latest cookbook, Hay has assembled '177 deliciously easy recipes using fresh ingredients in fuss-free ways. From roast chicken cooked in half the normal time to simply beautiful desserts in a flash, these are dishes that make slaving over a hot stove a thing of the past.'

Though the thrust of this lovely cookbook is to save time and energy, it's easy to see that Hay did not scrimp on ingredients, taste or presentation. The photos accompanying many of the dishes are works of art in themselves. I am particularly struck by the Tomato, Spinach and Crisp Prosciutto Soup. Or the Baked Risotto with Bacon and Peas. The recipe for Chicken Roasted on Eggplant and Tomatoes had me reaching for my fork. And how about Lamb Baked on Figs and Fennel, or Oregano Veal Chops with White Bean Salad?

I'm a goner when it comes to vegetables. The Spicy Roast Vegetables with Hummus are a must. Pumpkin, Onion and Blue Cheese Fritatta oh my. And then there's Thai Red Pumpkin Curry. On to desserts Blueberry and White Chocolate Mousse. Chocolate French Toast. Toasted Sponge Cake with Pears. Have I whetted your appetite sufficiently? I have my own. Once you have a copy of this wonderful cookbook, it will never be stored on a shelf. It will be open to one page or another while you work on the recipes and learn from the multitude of tips provided.

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