Hay, Hay, It’s Donna Day In Deuces!

How did we get so lucky? In the last HHDD event (the wonderful tribute to Donna Hay facilitated by Bron Marshall) there were two winners, so each selected a recipe for twice the Donna Hay pleasure (and even in two languages)! Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? (perfect blog title!) chose a chicken satay for us, while Tartasacher of Mil Postres (thousand desserts, I love it!) selected a lovely grilled fruit with yogurt. It was the perfect pair for our lunch today.

At our house, anything that screams ‘Meat On A Stick’ sounds like a winner. I tweaked the Donna Hay recipe slightly to match what I had in the kitchen and it turned out so perfectly I’m afraid the kids will ask me to make it again and I won’t be able to repeat it! Tartlet 1, who naturally tends toward carnivorous behavior, ate *six* skewers of meat (seriously, that’s as much as pictured above!). Instead of cashews I used pistachios and I added some grated lime rind to the marinade, giving the resulting skewers an odd green tinge that wasn’t entirely appetizing at first look, but the taste was wonderful. My other modifications were minor. Thank you Meeta for choosing a winning recipe that is sure to be repeated in our house.

For the grilled fruit and yogurt, I had intended to make something slightly different but the bottle of nutmeg that I *know* I purchased this week could not be found. No doubt someone will find it in the potato bin next week or in the drawer with yogurt cups or something absurd! Instead I used the cinnamon as called for in the recipe but found other ways to make it unique.

Because I was using my homemade yogurt, made this time with whole milk, rather than a thicker commercial yogurt, I didn’t mix it with cream. I added the sugar and cinnamon and then grated some orange rind into the bowl, not bothering to clean the grater after the lime I had used in the chicken marinade, so there were bits of lime zest also. It had a lovely flavor. The kids who thought they weren’t going to like this dessert at all were practically licking their plates to get the last drops!

The sugar grilled fruit would work fabulously for dessert for two, but was a bit more time consuming for six. I was using a smallish pan and opted to only clean it after every two batches rather than after each one. I was also finding the sugar was not adhering symmetrically to the fruit so after a couple of batches I started just sprinkling some sugar in the bottom of the pan, placing the fruit slices on top, and sprinkling the tops with a little more sugar. That worked very well for me. I chose two varieties of apples — Jazz (oh, YUM!) and Pinata (not as spectacular but good), pears, and peaches for my fruit. Although I originally chose those because I like them with nutmeg, they also work fabulously with cinnamon and orange. As I said, we were all scraping up the last bits of our dessert today. Thank you, Tartasacher, for a fabulous simple dessert that the kids have already requested that I not only make again, but teach them to make also!

Recipes after the jump. Continue reading

Hay, Hay, Choux Your Stuff!

Barbara started Hay Hay It’s Donna Day long before I entered the blogosphere and encountered the addicting world of food blogs and now she has passed this wonderful event on to Bron, whom I am certain will be an excellent caretaker. Many Americans have never heard of Donna Hay and I cringe slightly at the common description of her as the ‘down under version of Martha Stewart’. Although I’ve yet to see a photo of Donna Hay, I have seen her drool-worthy magazines. In all fairness, I haven’t seen any of Martha’s magazines for several years, but the last time I looked it was full of time-consuming projects for beautifying the home, extravagant looking tables, and food that looked like a full time catering company had spent the week preparing. No wonder so many people are made to feel inferior and exhausted just by looking at her projects!

By contrast, Donna Hay’s magazine, with the motto of ‘Special Made Simple’, leaves me in a state of utter relaxation when I read it. It’s full of cool blues, greens, and white and the food styling is simple and elegant. Many of her recipes have a limited number of ingredients yet look absolutely gorgeous. It’s a style I heartily embrace as life is full of busyness and hectic activity and preparing food for family and friends shouldn’t leave you with too little energy to enjoy any of them. So while I haven’t participated in very many HHDD events, I absolutely love the concept and follow them even when I can’t join in the fun.

Our hostess this time is Suzana and she picked a choux (cream puff, profiterole, etc) recipe for her theme. Previously on this blog I have posted savory and sweet choux as well as a casserole version. I made two different versions this time. One is a plain choux that took advantage of leftover white chocolate mango mousse, from the last Daring Baker challenge, for the filling. I squiggled some white chocolate on the tops of these. For the other I made chocolate choux and filled it with ice cream and frozen yogurt (three flavors actually: vanilla, raspberry, and chocolate/vanilla swirl). I thought both of these fit well with the ‘special made simple’ concept. The chocolate version is rather like the ice cream cookie sandwiches that are so simple and fun for summer desserts but the choux pastry dresses it up for something a little more special.

Chocolate Cream Puffs

3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 heaping Tbsp. dark cocoa

1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1 c. water

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Stir together flour, sugar, and cocoa in a small bowl; set aside.

In a medium pan, bring the butter and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, continually stirring until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat.

With an electric mixer, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is smooth.

Drop by spoonfuls or pipe onto an ungreased baking sheet (I line mine with parchment paper) and bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of puff. When the puff is finished baking, the outside should be firm and slightly crusty, the puff should move freely on the sheet (if it’s stuck to the sheet, it’s not done baking), and should be slightly darker brown.

Remove from oven and cool, away from drafts. Fill as desired.

HHDD#18: Hay, Hay, It’s Coconut Chocolate Tarts!

I know, I have been under a rock for the last couple of weeks, but, man, I almost missed Hay, Hay It’s Donna Day too. Fortunately, although I missed seeing this until Friday night, the recipe was super simple and fast so I managed to make mine. I just wish I would have had some almonds on hand. Thanks for the kind words some of you have sent — we’re all finally healthy and back at full steam, I think! (Whoohoo!)

Marita Says ‘Coconut Chocolate Tarts’ and I’m there. Hay, Hay, It’s Donna Day is an event started by Barbara of Winos and Foodies (who very romantically just renewed her wedding vows!) and has had some fun themes and I just can’t help but participate in one involving tarts.

I made a couple of minor changes to the recipe provided. I added a little almond extract to the coconut shells (sometimes you feel like a nut . . . ) and I made the chocolate filling a little thicker but it is still rather soft. If I would have had them, I would have put an almond slice on the top of each one. I used mini-muffin cups and I think I should have spritzed the liners with a little non-stick spray because they are pain to get off. These are cute, tasty, and really simple. They could easily be made ahead and have little baking time so would make a great summer treat, too. I will definitely make these again, possibly with some orange flavor incorporated.

Coconut Chocolate Tarts (adapted from Donna Hay)

For the shell

2 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups dessicated coconut
1/2 t. almond extract.

For the filling

1 c. heavy cream
400 g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the egg whites, coconut, sugar, and almond extract well. Spoon the mixture into muffin tins and with wetted hands (works best this way) press it out to create a base and sides for a cup. Put into the oven at bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until it begins to lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for one minute. Gently remove the cups from muffin tins and let it cool more.

While this is happening, heat the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from heat and throw in the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the cream.

Carefully, fill each cup with the chocolate. Put the cups on a plate or tray in the freezer and leave it for 10 minutes or until set. When set, remove from the freezer and serve to guests with coffee or as a dessert.

I made 24 mini-muffin sized tarts and had enough coconut mixture leftover to make six more, which I just made as knock-off macaroons. I had enough chocolate leftover to make a double batch, so if I make them as minis again, I’ll use 1/2 c. heavy cream and 200 g chocolate.

Hay, Hay, It’s A Caramelized Pear Tart!

carmelized pear tart

You know, sometimes with this blogging stuff I wonder just how much of the back story I ought to share with you. I mean, do I *really* want to tell you about my disasters or just gloss over all that and share pictures of beautiful foods and success stories? But with this one, unless I first share about the tart that *wasn’t*, I won’t have much to say about the tart that is, er, was.

When Trinigourmet announced the 15th Hay, Hay, It’s Donna Day! with a theme of tarts, well of course I had to play along . . . what else would a Fruit tart do? I saw a cover photo of a back issue of the Donna Hay magazine with a pear tart and knew that’s what I wanted to make. But I don’t have that issue and I didn’t find the recipe so I thought I’d improvise. I do have an issue of Donna Hay’s magazine with a custard tart. I thought I’d use nutmeg rather than cinnamon and I wanted to put pear slices on the top.

pear tart

I started by making my own crust with pecans in it. What I didn’t realize is that when I was removing the beans from the blind baking, I cracked the crust. When I started pouring the custard into the crust, well, let’s just say I was glad the kids were outside with The Husband. I mean, I want to enlarge their vocabulary and encourage proper enunciation, but just not with *those* words. The custard filling poured out the bottom of the tart pan through the crack in the crust and while I was trying to pour it back into a bowl the crust, or at least pieces of it, fell completely out of the tin.

slice of tart

Not to be undone over a little thing like complete failure, I threw together a new crust. This time I used my favorite shortbread crust with some pecans added to it. Then I threw a partial stick of butter in my large frying pan and tossed in a little brown sugar and white sugar and sprinkled it with some nutmeg and let it simmer until it was a thick liquid. Next, I added three sliced pears and a splash of lemon juice and let them simmer for a few minutes, stirring them in the sauce. I cooked them until the pears were beginning to get tender but still firm and opaque. They made quite a bit of juice in the pan so after I pulled the pears out and arranged them on my crust, I added a little more sugar to the pan and let it cook until it was thick again. I poured some of the caramel sauce over the pears and the rest I used to serve with the ice cream.

tart and ice cream

So, although this project was inspired by Donna Hay, it doesn’t actually include any of her recipes and doesn’t look like the picture on her magazine. But I think we’ll still call it a success and sweep the rest under the rug.

Hay, Hay, It’s Sorbet!

I was so excited when Eat Drink Live announced the sorbet theme for the next round of Hay, Hay, It’s Donna Day. I have a Donna Hay magazine that I’ve been keeping on my coffee table because the raspberry semifreddo on the front cover is so gorgeous and now is the season for cold fruity desserts.


I had several ideas for this but most were dashed by lack of raspberries and blueberries and then I forgot to buy the ginger or I would have had something very similar to Brilynn’s strawberry mango ginger sorbet! Maybe it was because of Independence Day that I got ‘stripes’ in my head, but I kept picturing a layered sorbet dessert so this is what I came up with: mango nutmeg sorbet resting on strawberry key lime sorbet on top of a pineapple slice.

Mango Nutmeg Sorbet

1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar

3 large mangoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Mix the water and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Chill.

In a blender, mix mangoes, lemon juice, nutmeg, and sugar water. Puree until smooth. Freeze.

I think I used about 1/4 t. of nutmeg in mine and it overpowers the mango so I’m suggesting less here.

Strawberry Key Lime Sorbet

1 c. water
3/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 lbs. strawberries
1/3 c. key lime juice
zest of a lime

Mix the water and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Chill.

In a blender, mix strawberries, lime juice, lime zest, and sugar water. Puree until smooth. Freeze.


I don’t have an ice cream freezer. (I’d love to have one and a copy of David Lebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop) So, I put my sorbets in the freezer in containers and I stirred them a few times before I went to bed and in the morning I mushed them up with a spoon before layering them on the pineapple and refreezing them. As I mentioned above, the nutmeg was a little too overpowering for the mango in the quantity I used — it would be better with either less nutmeg or some peach nectar or something added to give it more fruit flavor. The strawberry key lime is a keeper!