My own ancestral link to chowder would have to be the hard tack eaten by sailors. These days there seems to be a lot of cream in chowder, but I don't think cream would have survived for long out on the Grand Banks. More likely a mush of hard tack and water. I imagine the cod fisherman eating saltfish chowder on the outbound journey and fresh cod chowder on the return ...

Basic ravioli and mezzelune

I started making mezzelune when teaching English through cooking. Thought I had invented the name, and then saw some in Tesco's a week later. These are finished in the oven - I think it makes for a more delicate mouthful. It's best to choose only a few ingredients, as on a pizza. But here I am suggesting two different fillings and a sauce. If you think making the ravioli is too fiddly, just roll out the dough in thin rectangles and make lasagne instead.

A salad of beetroot and Ticklemore, Virginia

Beetroot are sweet and earthy. Once I thought that they were red, but this is not so. They may be pink or creamy, little or big. They absorb flavour and make rich soups and crisp pickles. They are a perfect ingredient in a vegan goulash. But to my way of thinking they are perhaps at their most appealing in a cold weather salad. And to this version, I have added an English goat’s cheese.

Cup a soup

My sister's cooker went off the other day . She went out and for the first time ever bought one of those soup packets that you can rehydrate with boiling water. I waited until I knew she had proper food again before pot roasting a chicken - just couldn't have eaten it eat it knowing she only had a soup packet. But a whole chicken poses problems for someone living alone. After the first night, and sandwiches, what to do? I made soup.