Interview: Donna Hay for Royal Doulton
Donna Hay has been hailed as Australia’s leading food editor, and her range of cookbooks top the best-seller lists. Donna uses basic ingredients and simple preparation, creating time-saving recipes that are beautifully presented. Her kitchen and dining range for Royal Doulton reflects the pared-down nature of her food: classic, modern and sophisticated. Visit our Dining Room on the 3rd floor to see it for yourself!
Donna took some time to answer a few of our questions…
How did the Royal Doulton collaboration come about?
I love homewares and have collected both vintage and new pieces over my full working life. Numerous Royal Doulton pieces make up my personal collection and those used in my shoots and work. So it was a privilege to be approached by the company and share the journey of developing my own homewares range.
What was your vision for the range?
I worked to create a range of premium multi-purpose everyday pieces. The addition of cake stands, pierced cake coolers and glass domes adds to both the practicality and fun that can be had with everyday meals plus making simple occasions special with a few extra touches.
I was inspired by my years as a food editor and stylist and revisited some vintage pieces I had collected to re-purpose them and create a range that is both modern and nostalgic.
What do you look for in good kitchenware?
They have to be practical and good quality. I love pieces that have some multi purpose elements so they can be enjoyed everyday in a number of ways, even if it’s a little unexpected and personal to your needs and style. For example, using your favourite teapot as a vase or serving each course and a mixed dinner service where there is a staple element such as an all white base.
What are your top three must-haves for the kitchen?
A good quality mixer, such as a Kitchenaid, great mixing bowls with a pouring lip and a well stocked pantry with all the essentials. I know the last one is a cheeky must-have! But quick meals mean taking some time making sure you have the basics to create something from pantry staples mixed with a few fresh ingredients.
What are your top tips for stress-free cooking?
Start with only a few fresh flavours and keep things simple, they taste better! Also make sure you plan ahead and don’t be afraid to take a shortcut, then the results are even more satisfying
Could you give us a recipe that you think would be the perfect thing to serve on the collection?
I would suggest yoghurt and passionfruit syrup cake from my cookbook Seasons. This cake is great for an afternoon tea or as dessert after Sunday lunch in the warmer months, and with yoghurt as an ingredient it also keeps incredibly well.
The cake looks beautiful served on one of the footed cake stands or for a more rustic approach. Present the cake on the pierced cake cooler, the syrup dripping through the holes is visually tempting (who wouldn’t want to scoop some up with their finger!) and place the glass dome over to keep the cake ready for the sure-to-be requested second helpings.
150g butter, softened
1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (280g) thick Greek-style natural yoghurt
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup (250ml) passionfruit pulp
½ cup (125ml) water
½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (320 Fahrenheit). To make the passionfruit syrup, place passionfruit pulp, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 10-15 minutes or until syrupy. Set aside.
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 10-15 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add yoghurt and beat until well combined. Fold through flour. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 24cm Bundt tin* and bake for 35 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Remove cake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Spike all over with a tiny skewer, drizzle cake with syrup and serve while still warm. Serves 8.
*A Bundt tin is a round, fluted cake tin with a hole in the centre.