Australia’s favourite cookbook author, Donna Hay, embarks on the ultimate food adventure, taking simple recipes that kids adore and giving them her signature healthy makeover. By making the recipes super easy for the whole family to cook, everyone can master the basics, then turn them into brilliance.
Basics to Brilliance Kids is an eight-part series hosted by Donna Hay, with a group of little cooks starring along the way. Each episode features a fun-filled kid’s adventure – from sleepovers and surf safaris to backyard cinema nights – as Donna introduces kids to the magical world of cooking with tasty meals and better-for-you-snacks.
Episode 1: Movie night
Donna Hay is joined by her little helpers, Jimmy and Sarah, as they get set to host the ultimate backyard movie night. It’s packed with healthy change-ups of everyone’s favourite cinema snacks, made in their outdoor kitchen with a harbour backdrop.
With plenty of hands-on fun for the kids, Donna involves her little helpers with cooking tips and tricks for measuring, plus insights into clever new ingredients. Together they explore some exciting movie-night party themes.
Episode 2: Surfers
Donna Hay heads to the ocean for a nostalgic surfing safari, joined by three girls, Lucy, Jada and Milla, who love the waves just as much as she does. A fun day of salt and sun means they’ll need plenty of nourishing snacks to keep them going. In front of their beachside shack, the girls help Donna make classic milk-bar favourites at home for a wholesome, energising feast. Between dips in the water and games on the sand, they learn simple tips and tricks for cooking up a big colourful breakfast, better-for-you burgers and smarter sweet treats like baked doughnuts.
Episode 3: Sleepover
As the mother of two boys, Donna Hay is super excited to be hosting an all-girls sleepover for a change. Miel, Juno, Ayla and Salina arrive, overnight bags in-hand, and it’s inside for a night of pizza, dress-ups, sweet snacks, cubbies and stories – all the good girly stuff. Donna and her little friends make easy pizzas at home instead of dialing out for takeaway, finding out just how simple (and yum!) it is. After constructing a magical canopy for sleeping under and doing some glamorous dressing up, the girls mix fudgy chocolate pudding cups that are ready in a flash. Tucked into their beds, it’s sweet dreams for all – a morning of fresh breakfast juices and fluffy pancakes awaits.
Episode 4: Treasure hunt
Donna Hay helps her young friends Charlie and Alex prepare for a mystical treasure hunt with their mates. They’ll need lots of sustenance for a big day of hunting, so Donna and the boys are ready to prepare some nourishing, low-GI snacks, plus some almost-good-for-you banana brownies and jewel-like jam drop cookies to serve as the precious treasure. In their outdoor kitchen by the harbour, surrounded by big trees, a fort, some washed up ships and plenty of rocky hidey holes, the three of them talk vegies, sugar and their favourite after-sport snacks, while blitzing mean-green broccoli pesto, assembling simple tortilla hand-pies for on-the-run and baking up a storm. Clues are written and treasure is hidden, all before their friends arrive.
Mean green pesto with orecchiette
Episode 5: Orchard
Donna Hay and her little helpers, Maisie and Lily, spend the day in a fruit orchard in the country. Preparing for an afternoon picnic with all sorts of delightful treats, the girls use plenty of fresh ingredients from their luscious surrounds. The leafy orchard is a lovely place to learn about where produce comes from, whether it’s fruit picked straight from the tree or honeycomb harvested from the beehive. It’s also the perfect spot to enjoy games and a sunny picnic with friends.
Episode 6: Vegetable garden
Happy memories of holidays at her grandparents’ house inspire Donna Hay to spend a day in the garden with her young friends, Maddie and Oscar. Together they plant and harvest vegies and use their bounty of produce to make some delicious (and healthy) snacks along the way. It can sometimes be a bit tricky to get all the serves of vegies we need in a day, so Donna is sharing her tricks for incorporating as much freshness as possible into the tastiest of recipes. Between scarecrow building, fun mini boat races and collecting eggs, the team creates creamy cauliflower mac and cheese, vegie fritters, clever zucchini ravioli and better-for-you carrot cake.
Episode 7: Sunday lunch
It’s a warm, sunny Sunday morning and Donna Hay and her little helpers, Freya and Jayla, are hosting a relaxed lunch at home for their friends. A long lazy catch up with loved ones calls for an easy-to-share, healthy menu that kids and grown- ups will adore. Between games and chats around the long table in the garden, a simple feast is prepared. From quinoa sushi cones and tasty lamb pitas to a summer peachy tart, the girls use plenty of fresh ingredients to create their shareable lunch. They also learn lots of Donna’s top tips for feeding a crowd.
Episode 8: Bake sale
For many people, Donna Hay included, their first memories of cooking as kids are of baking sweet treats. Donna has given some of these classic childhood favourites a healthy change-up (while leaving in all the fun and flavour). She’s helping keen young bakers, Gracie and Natasha, make them today for a charity bake sale in their neighbourhood. Their stall will be selling Donna’s ultimate chocolate fudge cake, jars of her crunchy granola, her better-for-you chocolate crackles and, of course, cupcakes!