Off The Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry

Off The Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry

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by Donna Hay

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In Off the Shelf, Australia's bestselling food writer Donna Hay shows you how to fill your pantry with convenient and basic ingredients. Save time with these easy to put together recipes — for everyday meals or special occasions, and especially when unexpected guests arrive.

Off the Shelf is packed with the information and inspiration to


In Off the Shelf, Australia's bestselling food writer Donna Hay shows you how to fill your pantry with convenient and basic ingredients. Save time with these easy to put together recipes — for everyday meals or special occasions, and especially when unexpected guests arrive.

Off the Shelf is packed with the information and inspiration to create a great meal at short notice — anything from a simple pasta dish or the slippery slurp of Asian-inspired noodles to a tempting berry tart. All you need is a well-stocked pantry and a handful of fresh ingredients.

An essential handbook for everyone who loves to cook and to eat.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
“No need to spend hours at the store. Find gastronomic bliss with no fuss, no muss, no bother.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
Donna Hay, bestselling Australian cookbook author, gets credit for teaching cooking to members of the younger generation who were brought up on microwave dishes but now want to turn out Martha Stewart look-good food. She expands her franchise in this stylish, well-illustrated, oversize book, through more than 190 fast, fresh, and simple solutions to the nothing-for-dinner dilemma.

Hay starts by restocking the pantry with basics like pastas, grains, lentils, and rice. Combine those basics with a few fresh ingredients, using quick cooking techniques, and you've got a Donna Hay dinner on the table.

Her Pasta chapter, for example, offers ten good-looking recipes, some tips for cooking pasta and keeping it warm, followed by nine short-order recipes (summer pasta, fettucine with rocket and ricotta). Chapters on rice, noodles, Mediterranean, and Asian follow a similar format.

Hay's recipes go from short to shorter and don't follow the usual format of ingredient list followed by directions. Here's an example, for Pear and Almond Galettes: "Cut ready-rolled puff pastry into 15 cm (6 in) squares. Sprinkle ground almonds over and top with slices of pear, leaving a border around the edge. Brush the pear with melted butter and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake in a preheated 180° C (350° F) oven for 20 minutes until golden." As you can see, there aren't too many details addressed (what kind of pears, should they be peeled, and can brown sugar substitute for demerara sugar). Cooks who need detailed instruction may flounder, but cooks who just want the basic idea will be serving up the dish in no time.

Hays also offers a tip I've not seen before -- an alternative to using a propane torch for a crème brûlée that she calls "spoon brûlée." You heat a large metal kitchen spoon over the gas until it is red-hot, and -- using an oven mitt -- run the hot spoon over the sugar on top of the tart in a circular motion until the sugar caramelizes.

Published initially in Australia, Off the Shelf lists its measurements first in grams, then parenthetically in ounces, and its temperatures first in Centigrade, then in Fahrenheit. (Ginger Curwen)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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9.00(w) x 11.62(h) x 0.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Marinated Chickpea Salad

Combine 2 x 400g (14 oz) cans drained chickpeas with 1/3 cup (21/2 fl oz) lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and sea salt. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving with baby spinach leaves as a salad.

Seared Salmon on Coconut Spinach

4 x 180g (6 oz) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
coconut spinach
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons Asian chilli paste
2 cups (16 fl oz) coconut cream
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 bunches English spinach, stems removed

Place the salmon in a shallow dish with the ginger, sesame oil and soy. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes on each side. Heat a frying pan over high heat and cook the salmon for 1 minute on each side.

To make the coconut spinach, place the garlic, chillies and chilli paste in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes. Add the coconut cream and lemon juice and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the spinach and toss until wilted.

To serve, place some spinach on each plate and top with a piece of salmon. Serves 4.

Off The Shelf. Copyright © by Donna Hay. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

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.

Visit Donna online at
"Like" Donna on Facebook: donna hay
Follow Donna on Twitter: @donnahay _tweets

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Off The Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book while living in Australia (where Donna Hay is THE Martha Stewart cooking guru). It's a great book and I now own almost all of the books. They combine beauty and elegence in the photos and simple but delicious photos. I've cooked many of the recipes and they often take 15-30 minutes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Donna Hay's recipes are simple, fast and tasty. Each recipe has a beautiful photo to go with it, a must in my opinion. Each recipe has a short ingredient list and straight forward instructions. This book is peppered with informative notes and tips from the author and the concept of this particular book is inventive. There usually ARE the makings of a great meal in most peoples pantries. You must buy this book and if you do, you'll more than likely go ahead and get her others as well. If you're lucky enough to be living in Australia or New Zealand, you'll also have the opportunity to buy the 'Donna Hay Magazine' which comes out seasonally. It follows the same principles as her cookbooks! Delicious!