I've had a very busy time in the kitchen lately, catering for big parties and styling for TV advertisements, and I found myself wanting to make something a little therapeutic.
Nothing too exotic, and nothing that required spending time at the supermarket.
So it was that the ingredients in the cupboard dictated the recipes I have decided to make today; and they're old favourites where everyone can lend a hand with the cooking.
I always love the social aspect of sharing my kitchen, passing on tips and learning new ideas from friends.
Making gnocchi is not scary at all and it is amazingly satisfying to watch it float to the surface of the boiling water when the dough is transformed. Make plenty and put some in the freezer, and you will have a very easy dinner on hand.
I love gnocchi with a simple tomato sauce, or even burned butter and sage, paired with grated parmesan. This is a standby dinner ready in 10 minutes.
The sauce is very simple, with a taste of tangy lemon and rich blue cheese. - one of my favourites. Fresh mint and asparagus add texture and colour. Serve this as an entree or a main with a side salad.
The pizzas are small and individual, so each can be designed differently. This cauliflower pizza was a real hit when I first made it, and was brought on by an abundance of caulis in the garden. We have done our dash this winter with cauliflower in soup, curry, pickles and stir-fries, so I thought it was time for a change. The cauliflower is almost undetectable and adds a wonderful texture.
If you are cutting back on the carbs, or you're gluten-free, this is a great one for you. Try to grate your own cheese as the pre-grated cheese is covered in flour, and get creative with your toppings.
I'm traditional with my pizza toppings and don't like too much fuss.
For a real sweet treat, neenish tarts are simply the best. This batch was devoured before the day was done. Neenish tarts bring back memories of hopping off the school bus ravenous and heading for the biscuit tins, which were always full of home baking.
It was a real find when these little treats were waiting. The fillings can vary a little, but I am a lemon fan, so this version is my favourite.