Donna Hay Fresh + Light raw cacao ice-cream with hazelnut praline

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Donna Hay, Australia’s popular food editor and cookbook author, so you can imagine how excited I was to be able to interview her, and discover fascinating little facts about her life and what she would describe as her ‘dream meal.’ Donna is, without a doubt, one of my favourite Aussie chefs; I’ve grown up cooking many of her amazing meals. So please take a look at my exclusive interview with the remarkable Donna Hay.

  1. What fitness activity do you schedule into your daily routine to keep healthy?

I am an early riser and I love going for an invigorating run first thing in the morning by the coast – I like to put my headphones on and do a 5km loop around Bondi. I really find it helps clear my head and sets me up for the day ahead, and it always leaves me feeling great.

  1. Describe your dream meal – what could we expect to find on your plate?

I love simple food cooked outdoors on the grill, especially seafood. My favourite dish is Moreton bay bug tails, cooked with lime and lemongrass – I always make it when people come around to my place. When I eat out, I love Japanese food, particularly sushi and sashimi, or meals with lots of fresh, green vegetables. Everyone knows that I have quite a sweet tooth, too, so ideally, every meal should finish with ice-cream!

  1. Who’s your go to style icon – who have you always admired for their style, and why?

My style has always been very classic; I love admiring beautiful things with clever but simple details. It’s hard to choose one icon or look though – with my job any one day might include wearing running gear in the morning, jeans if I’m styling in the studio, a pretty dress for a meeting, a cossie for paddle boarding after work or a black tie gown for a red carpet event!

  1. What’s a childhood habit or mannerism that has followed you into adulthood?

A lot of people don’t realise that I have always been quite shy – I’m trying to work on that this year though! I like to keep myself busy all the time, too – I have a habit of doing a million things all at once, so I can get distracted quite easily.

  1. Name three things you can’t leave the house without and why?

In the mornings I can’t leave without my green smoothie – I make it in a plastic cup so I can take it with me on the drive to work and drink it throughout the day. I always make sure I also have some almonds to snack on with me, too (if I have some healthy options on hand to fill me up, I’m less likely to eat something a little less virtuous when I get into the kitchen studio in the office). Lately I’ve also had to make sure I don’t leave the house without my son’s sport shoes – he keeps forgetting them and I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to make an emergency dash to his school!

Thanks Donna!

And please take a look at Donna’s fantastic new Fresh and Tasty magazine, which is filled with delicious and simple recipes. I was thrilled to receive some of Donna’s beautiful bliss balls in the mail recently: it’s not an exaggeration to say they did not last very long! My kids enjoyed them so much, they were gone in 60 seconds! They said "Donna makes the most amazing chocolate balls!" and my clever 4-year-old Zali said, “Is that nutmeg I can taste Mama?"

Raw Cacao Ice-cream with Hazelnut Praline

½ cup (50g) raw cacao powder ⅓ cup (80ml) maple syrup 2 x 400ml cans coconut cream 400ml can coconut milk Hazelnut praline ⅓ cup (45g) hazelnuts, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Place the cacao, maple syrup, coconut cream and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour the mixture into 2 large zip-lock bags, pressing out as much air as possible, and seal.

Lay the bags flat on a baking tray and freeze for 2 hours or until just frozen.

To make the hazelnut praline, preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

Place the hazelnut and maple syrup on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and toss to combine. Cook for 6–8 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool and break into small pieces. Set aside.

Remove the cacao mixture from the freezer and, using your hands, bend the bags to break up the mixture into small pieces. Place the mixture in a food processor, in batches, and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor. Spoon the ice-cream mixture into a 2-litre-capacity tin and freeze for 3 hours or until just frozen. Sprinkle with the hazelnut praline to serve. Serves 6–8.

If you haven’t discovered Donna Hay yet – please discover her now! And for the fellow Donna fans out there - do you have a favourite Donna Hay recipe?

Xx Dani

Your Everyday Fitness Food Motivator