Cooking & Food Wine & Spirits

The No Recipe Cookbook


This book will launch on Feb 18, 2021. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Is the question “What’s for dinner?” a heart sink moment?
Do you think ordering take-away is faster than cooking a simple meal?
Could your savings on household spending be put to better use?
Do you want control over what’s in your food?

If you answer yes to any of these questions then learning to meal plan, shop once a fortnight, and cook simple meals without a recipe, could save you time and money with less stress.

If you are too busy, don’t know how or don’t like cooking, Dr Samantha Pillay’s simple meal planning and methods will coax the reluctant cook into the kitchen.

As a surgeon, business owner and single mother, she had no choice but to develop a fast, easy solution to ‘What’s for dinner?”.


Cooking – It’s only a big deal if you make it

a big deal.

If you’re someone who enjoys browsing the cooking

section of your local bookshop, looking for new

inspiration, glossy pictures and recipes… put this

book down immediately! It’s not for you.

But if you can’t cook, don’t enjoy cooking, are too busy

to cook, have never prepared a meal but would like to

save money or lose weight by eating out less often, or

you just want to be more efficient in the kitchen, this

book could change your life. Learning to cook without

a recipe can take the stress out of meal planning and


My Story

While I’ve always enjoyed cooking, my career, family

life and physical limitations have meant I have never

had much time for it.

As the first woman in South Australia to complete

advanced training in urology to become a urological

surgeon, I worked long hours in the hospital during

the day and studied at night. I had no time to eat out.


In my surgical training days, there were no mobile

phones or Uber Eats. For years my dinners consisted of

a bowl of cereal or a microwaved shop-bought frozen

meal. They were unhealthy and, more importantly,

there was no joy in them. Food was simply fuel.

Then, when I became a mother, I wanted mealtimes to

be about sharing good food at home. I wanted to instil

good eating habits in my son and, as a doctor, I knew

how important it was to eat healthily. As a single mum

with a hectic full-time career, I needed a repertoire of

meals that were quick, easy and stress-free.

There was also another factor influencing my need

for simple meal solutions. Due to hip dysplasia that

was not detected at birth, despite multiple surgeries I

had a significant limp, limited mobility and hip pain

that increased with age. This condition meant that the

longer I stood for, the more pain I experienced. I only

had a limited amount of time in the kitchen before I

reached the point where I just couldn’t take the pain


A trip to the supermarket could leave me in so much

pain that I was unable to unpack the shopping

afterwards, let alone cook a meal. Heading to the shops

to buy food and then coming home to prepare a meal

was not an option. It was one or the other, not both on

the same day.

Sometimes, at the end of a day’s work, I could hardly

walk more than a few metres. My condition meant that

Introduction 3

I had to plan all my family’s meals, so everything was

there, ready to go, when I started cooking.

When I finally had a hip replacement, at the age of

48, there were still years of rehabilitation before I was

able to walk and stand long enough to manage to shop,

unpack and cook all in one day. I found the skills I had

learned stood me in good stead. The planning saved

me time and money.1 My improved mobility meant I

could take on more work, so life just got busier and I

had less time.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began unfolding, I

became even better at planning, to the point where

I only had to visit the supermarket once every two

weeks to reduce my risk of exposure, which resulted

in saving even more time and money. I was even able

to extend the shopping to once every three weeks. This

resulted in more bulk-buying, which increased my

savings. I had never realised just how much one could

save by bulk-buying. I found some items actually cost

less when bought in larger quantities. For example, a

5kg bag of potatoes could cost less than a 2kg bag.

It became a challenge to see how long I could go

between shops, maximising my time and efficiency and

reducing my spending. By carefully calculating costs

per items to compare prices and focusing on specials,

I was actually able to halve my average weekly spend

for food, groceries and general household items from

1 All references to currency are Australian dollars (A$) and all

measurements are metric. The barbecue I use is gas.


A$250 per week to A$125 per week. But the savings

were even greater than that. On my previous A$250

per week I was eating out at least once a week. But with

my two- or three-week meal planning, it was quicker

and easier to eat at home.

All this has led me to develop the method I will share

with you in this book. I’m going to show you how to

plan and prepare easy, healthy meals with a minimum

of mess. I’m going to show you how I changed my life

so you can change yours.


About the author

Dr Samantha Pillay has devoted her surgical career to treating incontinence. Her journey has broadened her interests beyond surgery to include education, writing, public speaking, business and leadership. Time management, meal planning and simple home cooking are an essential part of her life. view profile

Published on December 18, 2020

40000 words

Genre: Cooking & Food Wine & Spirits