Cooking was the one thing that kept me sane in 2020 - a year, that like many, I found the most mentally and emotionally challenging of my life and which has changed the way we live forever, even once the pandemic is over.
Planning elaborate meals, researching recipes on Pinterest, ingredients shopping and queuing to get into a supermarket to do so, became rituals and "events", offering me a sense of routine and a purpose while the whole world had been put to sleep by a virus that no one could really get ahead of.
I fried, I baked, I fermented, I poached and I never tired of the satisfaction of tasting that final beautiful dish I had created, even after 84 recipes cooked and posted on the blog since the first lockdown in late March.
Of course, lockdown life also taught me that half the fun of cooking lies in the feeding and company of others, seeing the smiles on the faces of guests you are hosting and having those deep dinner conversations while they take in the flavours of whatever has been plated up in front of them, and when this all over I cannot wait to have many, many dinner parties where no distance has to be kept and no veil of worry, of catching the virus or giving it to others, lies on top of every action we take.
So take your pick at these 10 recipes and let's hope we get to cook them with the ones we love in the new year. If the pandemic has made me realise one thing, it is that truly love cooking and that for me it offers a sense of calm and an outlet for my creativity that I will continue to cultivate even when we return to some sort of normality.
HOMEMADE SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI IN A SAGE, GARLIC & BUTTER SAUCE
CREAMY SAFFRON PASTA WITH PRAWNS, CRAB & FLAKED ALMONDS