Basics to Brilliance, Donna Hay

Thursday 9 November 2017

Australia's bestselling cookbook author returns with a stunning new book, Basics to Brilliance - and a TV series tie in. Australia's most trusted and best-selling cookbook author, Donna Hay, wants to take you from basics to brilliance.

Basics to Brilliance is exactly as the title suggests — basic recipes that will make brilliant feasts. As Donna says at the beginning of this book, “Just like anything you want to be good at, I believe that mastering the basics is how you build confidence in the kitchen.” Donna shares with us in this book her basic recipes, tried and true foundations of the best classics and modern essentials.

Basics to Brilliance is divided up into three beautiful chapters: Savoury, Need to know, and Sweet. There is also an indepth Glossary and Index.

Most of the recipes are the basic version followed by variations and simple flavour change-ups so one recipe becomes many and your repertoire grows naturally.  For example, buttermilk fried chicken also becomes crispy chicken burgers, southern-style crispy chicken salad with buttermilk dressing and buttermilk fried chicken and slaw slider. Prawn dumplings can also become ginger, chilli and prawn dumpling soup and crispy golden prawn dumplings, and perfectly cooked steaks with a few additions become grilled beef skewers, with a chimichurri sauce or Korean Steak Tacos with Kimchi.


Other standout recipes include sticky maple and bourbon pork ribs, salt and pepper squid, wok-tossed chilli crab, spelt loaf, dark chocolate and raspberry tart, vanilla snap biscuits and raspberry and cream layered sponge cake ... with each recipe looking more amazing than the last.

As with all of Donna Hay’s cook books, the layout and photography is second to none and will inspire you into the kitchen to try your hand at such beautifully constructed meals.  Each recipe is delivered simply, with step-by-step instructions, helpful notes and tips to help you on your way.
Basics to Brilliance really is a recipe book for the keeping.

In terms of cooking and recipes it's a great book for those less confident in the kitchen, as well as those who already have some experience in that field and want to broaden their skills. The recipes are not complicated, instructions clear and easy to follow, the ingredients widely available despite the author living in Australia.

There are recipes for "basics" like roast chicken, meatballs, pork belly, beef and sweet things like sponge cake or brownies. Each "master recipe" explains how to make your dish foolproof and also how you can simply change it to create entirely new dish! For example, with a simple addition of different spices, a slightly different cooking method,  or even simply using your leftovers to create a completely new dish.

This is a beautiful book. A real joy for the eye with high quality paper, great photography and a very pleasant layout. It's a book sure to inspire and one that would make a a perfect gift for someone who likes cooking/baking.

At the age of eight, Donna Hay skipped into a kitchen, picked up a mixing bowl and never looked back. She moved to the world of magazine test kitchens and publishing, where she established her trademark style of simple, smart and seasonal recipes all beautifully put together and photographed. It is food for every cook, every food lover, every day and every occasion. Her unique style turned her into an international food-publishing phenomenon as a bestselling author of 20 cookbooks, publisher of donna hay magazine, newspaper columnist, and creator of a homewares and food range. Donna is a working mum of two beautiful boys, Tom and Angus, and resides in Sydney, Australia.

By Donna Hay
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (5 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1460751426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1460751428 

Note - I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of reviewing it.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange.  Any and all opinions are my own.


  1. Replies
    1. I already had all of her other books, so it made sense to me that this would complete my collection. It is a really nice book! xo


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