Good Food for Hard Times
I have put together a collection of some of my favourite storecupboard recipes for bread, pasta, pizza, rice and beans, which are simple, delicious and won’t break the bank!
Cooking from scratch is not only healthier but you can make it fun and get the family involved. Perhaps you’ve never made your own bread or fresh pasta – it’s a great skill to acquire and nothing beats that magical moment when the bread dough rises and the freshly made loaves are taken out of the oven still amazes me, even after years of cooking and baking. Kids will love to make their own pizza and fun pasta shapes. With just a few basic ingredients, flour, yeast and water – the possibilities are endless.
Don’t forget to raid your storecupboard for those tins and packets of beans and pulses. Combined with a couple of fresh ingredients, you can make simple, delicious, hearty meals in no time.
“ These are the foods and dishes of my childhood, a time when food was never wasted and good nutritious meals were always cooked from scratch. I hope you enjoy recreating these recipes, not only during this challenging time, but also for many years to come.”
Stay safe, happy cooking and buon appetito! Gennaro xx
Insalata di Pane Bagnato
This recipe has peasant origins. During the warmer season in areas of southern and central Italy, farmers would wet pieces of stale bread with home-made vinegar and eat them with whatever produce was available in the fields – tomatoes, cucumber, peppers.
The vinegar really enhances the salad and makes you want to eat more. My daughters loved to dip crunchy vegetables into vinegar when they were younger, so why not try it out on your children for a healthy lunch.
I’m sure they’ll be impressed with all the wonderful colours of the salad and, of course, you can substitute with other vegetables, depending on what you have available. This is the perfect dish to use up leftover bread.
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 slices of good country bread, about
1cm/1⁄2 inch thick
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 firm plum tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small yellow (bell) pepper, deseeded and cut
85g/3oz cucumber, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced a handful of fresh basil leaves
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to
salt and freshly ground black pepper a pinch of dried oregano
- Dilute the vinegar with 4 tbsp water. Place a slice of bread on each serving plate. Rub the bread with garlic and drizzle with the vinegar mixture.
- Place the sliced tomatoes, onion, pepper, cucumber, celery and basil leaves in a bowl, add the extra virgin olive oil, season with the salt, pepper and oregano and toss well.
- Divide the salad between the slices of bread and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.