real life

A Donna Hay recipe saved my relationship.

My best cooking tip? Open the can. Heat. Eat.

I’m a terrible cook. Yes, I know I was on a baking show. Yes, I will gladly spend my entire Sunday afternoon toiling over a triple-layered banana caramel cake. But dinner? Ugh. I’d rather step on Lego barefoot.

But, as is the MODERN way of life, I am in an equal domestic partnership. Which is the un-sexiest term since de facto came along. But you know what was sexy? The fact that my equal domestic partnership was basically me working all day and night and coming home to a hot meal on the table. YES. EQUALITY FOR ALL!

Eventually my ever-patient partner said ‘I’m bored of doing all the cooking’ and so I promised to start trying to help. In the first week I tried to disguise takeaway by presenting it in actual crockery. In the second week, he had to tell me that while he loved toasted cheese sandwiches, he didn’t think he could eat the 8th one. And in the third week, I lovingly plated up steaks that were still raw on the inside. He re-cooked his. To prove a point, I stubbornly ate mine.

Things were starting to fray.

Yes. A cookbook. You know the things? Usually on shelves looking nice, or perched on coffee tables so people think you’re gourmet who spends their leisure time perusing Gourmet Traveller (and not eating pretzels and binge watching OITNB).

This time, I chose a recipe. I followed the recipe. It was so easy. And it was so gobsmackingly delicious that I’m now walking around the office, cocky. All puffed up like a pheasant on Maggie Beer’s farm.

My face. All day.

And as for the dishes?

I used ONE pan to make this. One. And the plates were practically licked clean.

So basically, if you’re a shit cook like me, this recipe will make you feel like you just nailed life.

This recipe is from the cookbook ‘Simple Dinners’ and I promise: the emphasis is on simple.

So thank you, Donna Hay. THANKYOU.

Chicken. Lentils. Tomato. Oh my. (pic via William Meppem)

Roasted chicken with pancetta and lentils


Vegetable oil, for frying

8 x 200g chicken thighs, bone in, skin on, trimmed

sea salt and cracked black pepper

2 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 x 150g piece flat pancetta, chopped

2 sprigs rosemary

400g can green lentils, drained and rinsed

250g cherry tomatoes

1 cup (250ml) chicken stock

½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves


Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Heat a little oil in an oven-proof frying pan or casserole dish over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper and add to the pan, skin-side down, and cook for seven minutes each side or until well browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the leeks, pancetta and rosemary to the pan and cook for four to five minutes or until it becomes golden. Stir through the lentils, tomatoes and stock and return the chicken to the pan. Place in the oven and roast for 12 minutes or until chicken is golden and cooked through. Stir through the parsley to serve. Serves four.

Sit back and wait to be lavished in praise for your culinary prowess.

My hero….

Anyway.  I talked about it on the podcast this week which is where I talk about a lot of things. You should listen. Even better, you should listen to the podcast WHILE you cook this recipe. So meta.

Listen to the full podcast either on itunes or here:

Donna’s recipe was published with full permission. Thanks,

Do you have an easy go-to dish that your partner loves? Spill. I need more, guys. MORE.