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Traditional potato gnocchi with butter and sage dressing

Gnocchi is something which triggers for me fond childhood memories of clambering on one of gran's chairs, with one of her aprons wrapped a few times around me, to reach her massively long dark oak table and "help" her make gnocchi. Looking back, I cannot imagine I could have been much help to her at all - regardless, I was always rewarded by her turning a blind eye to me stuffing some raw gnocchi in my mouth. With such a rich sentimental value, it will come as no surprise to you, that I love gnocchi more than I love rice. Or pasta. Or meat. Potato gnocchi is not the only type featured in the Italian tradition: you'll find gnocchi made with semolina flour (Gnocchi alla romana), stale bread or pumpkin. But potato gnocchi is what I grew up with, so this is what I decided to share with you all.

A regional leftover cake – the “Macafame”

The name of this cake is a dialect word from the province of Vicenza which literally translates into beat the hunger. The name refers to the fact that this is a rather heavy cake and it WILL stifle your hunger. The beauty of this cake originates from the concept of re-using and using up cupboards ingredients and leftovers, to avoid wastage. For this reason each family has a slightly different version of it, made with ingredients ranging from sultanas, raisins, peel fruit, dried figs, almonds and many more. These are the fancier ingredients - the base ingredients are rather "poor" ones and the staple is really leftover and/or stale bread, alongside some milk and eggs. You don't have to necessarily use stale or old bread - fresh bread will work just as well. As you can see from my photo above, this cake is not really supposed to look perfect or refined - it is a simple, rustic dish, so focus on the taste rather than the looks.

“Lockdown” Prosciutto & Funghi Pizza

Pizza is one of the most iconic Italian dishes and even though getting amazing take-away pizza is pretty inexpensive in Italy, I grew up with mum's home-made pizza being one of my favourite options. Mum's version is a little different from the traditional take-away pizza: a little more bread-like, fluffy and doughy (unless you are lucky enough to have a wood-fired pizza oven in your house!).

In my case I have enlisted the help of my loyal bread maker to make the dough - if available it can be a good option for a less floury mess and a practical option if you have other tasks to concentrate on (or are working from home, like so many of us now). But don't despair if a bread maker is not available to you - good old kneading in a bowl will be just as effective.

Lancashire Hotpot

Chicken bone broth for the skin and soul

Steak and chips

Pease pudding

Pease Pudding

Pease pudding is a comforting savoury spread, often loaded into sandwiches or smoothed onto fresh bread, either hot or cold.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Caulifower cheese soup

Combine two comfort classics - baked cauliflower cheese and a bowl of steamy soup! You’d never believe that this rich and creamy soup could be vegan, or be so easy to prepare.

zesty bread and butter

Zesty bread and butter pudding

This traditional British pudding is delicious, comforting and warming on a cold winter’s day. There’s no need to use vegan butter on the bread, as the vanilla–marmalade custard absorbs and moistens it beautifully.

Chilli Bean Crumble

Chilli Bean Crumble