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Life just seems to go mad at this time of year so having some quick and easy dishes to get you through is essential. This extract from One Pan Perfect by Donna Hay fits that bill.
Australian home cook Donna Hay is the queen of making tasty, easy dishes, sweet or savoury.
Her ingredients lists are always short and most can be found in the pantry. Her latest book One Pan Perfect is no exception.
The idea behind this book is ‘‘all-in-one’’ meals that are made in a single pan, pot, tray or dish using quality ingredients.
She has also given a ‘‘flavour upgrade’’ to some of her favourites like pavlova and zucchini slice.
The aim is to make mid-week cooking a breeze as well as help cooks out with weekend lunches and sweet dishes that are no-fuss, nutritious and don't require a lot of clean-up.
Upside-down summer pavlova
All the summertime sweetness without the fuss! This recipe literally turns the classic pav on its head so there’s no assembly needed.
6 white or yellow peaches or nectarines, stones removed and sliced into wedges
6 plums or apricots, stones removed and quartered
1/3 cup (40g) fresh passionfruit pulp
1½ cups (185g) fresh or frozen raspberries
whipped cream, to serve
225ml egg whites (about 6 eggs)
1 cup (220g) raw caster (superfine) sugar
1/4 cup (35g) coconut sugar
1 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1½ tsp white vinegar
Preheat oven to 160degC.
Place the peaches, plums, passionfruit and raspberries into a deep 25cm x 35cm baking dish. Set aside.
To make the meringue, place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.
Combine the caster sugar and coconut sugar in a bowl. Add the mixed sugars to the egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition has dissolved before adding more.
Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk for a further 10-15 minutes or until thick and glossy.
Place the cornflour and vinegar in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Add the cornflour mixture to the egg white mixture and gently fold through.
Spoon the meringue mixture over the top of the fruits. Reduce oven temperature to 140degC and bake for 1 hour or until the meringue has crisp edges. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream.
Note: I recommend a freestyle approach to the fruits you use in this pavlova just look to the season for inspiration!
Pepita-crusted chicken with avocado and edamame salad
Crunchy golden chicken is always a good idea. This super-charged version is loaded with flavour-rich miso and nutty toasted pepitas.
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp white (shiro) miso paste
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1½ cups (240g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds), finely chopped
3 x 180g small chicken breast fillets, halved horizontally
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Avocado and edamame salad
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp white (shiro) miso paste
1 Tbsp water
4 cups (60g) mizuna leaves (Japanese mustard greens)
1 cup (16g) coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 large avocado, quartered
1 cup (140g) frozen shelled edamame beans, blanched and cooled
Preheat oven grill (broiler) to high.
Place the egg whites, miso, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the pepitas on a flat plate.
Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then gently press both sides into the pepitas to coat. Place chicken on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and drizzle generously with oil.
Grill for 4-5 minutes each side, until the pepitas are crunchy and golden and the chicken is cooked through.
To make the avocado and edamame salad, combine the oil, rice wine vinegar, miso and water in a large bowl. Add the mizuna leaves, coriander, avocado and edamame beans and toss gently to coat in the dressing.
Serve the pepita-crusted chicken with the avocado and edamame salad.
Note: Salty-sweet miso takes this chicken to a new level of yum, but if you can’t find mizuna, use any mustard greens or rocket (arugula) leaves.
Zucchini, spinach and mozzarella lasagne
Take everything you love about lasagne - golden, bubbling top, crisp edges, gooey centre - and refresh with nourishing greens for this lighter take.
850g English spinach (about 4 bunches), stems removed
4 cups (1kg) fresh ricotta
1 cup (80g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra
1 cup (56g) chopped mint leaves
1 cup (52g) chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper
3 x 30cm or 6 x 15cm square fresh lasagne sheets, blanched
4 zucchini (courgette), thinly sliced using a mandoline
3 x 100g fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Preheat oven to 200degC. Place the spinach into a large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 10 seconds, then drain. Press the spinach between absorbent kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture.
Roughly chop the spinach and place into a bowl with the ricotta, parmesan, mint, parsley, salt and pepper, and mix to combine.
To assemble the lasagne, place 1 lasagne sheet into the base of a lightly greased 22cm ovenproof frying pan.
Top with 1½ cups of the spinach and ricotta mixture, a layer of zucchini, and then a layer of mozzarella.
Repeat layering with remaining lasagne sheets, spinach and ricotta mixture, zucchini, and mozzarella, finishing with zucchini.
Brush the zucchini with oil, sprinkle with extra parmesan and bake for 1 hour or until golden-brown.
Note: Every fresh ricotta is different so if your ricotta mixture is a little dry, add a tablespoon of milk.