Celebrity cook Donna Hay reveals her 'secret flavour weapons'

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Australia’s iconic cookbook author Donna Hay has shared her ‘secret flavour weapons’ and the go-to ingredient for taking simple dishes to the next level.

The celebrity food stylist said she always keeps a selection of pastes and garlic confit in her fridge as it’s her secret cooking shortcut for ‘throw-together’ meals.

‘Confit garlic makes a simple stir fry, grilled chicken or salmon exceptionally tasty,’ the queen of cooking told SmartDaily.

‘Red chilli coconut paste, lime and lemongrass paste are secret flavour weapons.’

© Provided by Daily Mail Australia’s iconic cookbook author Donna Hay (pictured) has shared her ‘secret flavour weapons’ and the go-to ingredient for taking simple dishes to the next level

Donna Hay’s must-have ingredients

– Homemade garlic confit

– Red chilli coconut paste

– Lime and lemongrass paste

–  Canned beans like black beans and chick peas

To make confit, simply add garlic cloves (with or without skins), olive oil, and herbs like bay leaves and thyme in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the ingredients on low for 40 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Set aside to cool then store in a glass jar.

Garlic confit can be served on toasted bread or added to cooking to boost flavours. The jar can be refrigerated for three to four months.

A well-stocked pantry with canned beans is a must for the mum-of-two.

‘It’s always great to have things in the pantry that you can cheat with,’ Hay said.

‘You can add black beans to a taco mix, or add chick peas to a simple falafel recipe.’

Her tips come just years after Hay revealed how she’s always coming up with a ‘repertoire of cheats and shortcuts’ in the kitchen, especially when she’s time poor.

‘My ideal scenario is a collection of delicious mid-week meals that use a mix of store-bought and fresh ingredients to create dishes that look and taste good but leave you with more time to do the things you love,’ she told SBS Food in November 2019.

‘It’s a lovely idea to make everything from scratch but sometimes life gets in the way. I’m a busy working mum so I’m always on the lookout for simple meal ideas that are big on flavour but low on fuss.’ 

© Provided by Daily Mail The celebrity food stylist said she always keeps a selection of pastes and garlic confit in her fridge
© Provided by Daily Mail The celebrity food stylist said she always keeps a selection of pastes and garlic confit in her fridge

Hay previously revealed her all-time favourite kitchen utensil was a box grater.

‘I’m not a big fan of getting out the food processor when I’m trying to get homework done with two boys, so I just grate veggies with a box grater,’ she told Lifestyle.

‘Broccoli even has a handle already here for you, which I find genius.’

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