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Craving comfort food during winter and another Melbourne lockdown? Master Chef’s Pia Gava shares her survival recipes.

Craving comfort food during winter and another lockdown? We are finding ourselves drawn to the kitchen with a desire to cook now having more free time on our hands.

Both Winter and the Lockdown have stimulated our survival impulse and as we know winter warming food such as bread, pasta, cheese, and cakes can soothe our blessed little souls.

Many have turned to cooking for the first time in their lives and are finding this to be channeling their anxieties and fears. As we know keeping busy controls that mind of ours that tends to get out of control during difficult situations.

Cooking during this time may be a solo activity but there are other ways to share and connect. Let me introduce you to Pia Gava, Master Chef contestant and author of Pia’s Table. Pia’s Italian upbringing and food memories are strongly kept alive today, with recipes like her homemade pasta, special occasion sweet treats, and of course comfort food.

Pia says, “I want to share my passion with you so everyone can have the same experience. This was one of the reasons why I applied and became a MasterChef Australia 2017 contestant – to share and show my recipes can be created by everyone!”

PIA’s Winter Lockdown Comfort Food Recipes.

Dinner/PastaIt’s always time for pasta!

A favourite is hand-rolled cavatelli and I love how quick and easy it is to create, using only semolina flour, water, and a pinch of salt. This cavatelli dish is served with a quick cherry tomato sauce with olive oil, garlic, s/p, and basil. Simple but epic deliciousness 

Dinner

My peperoni ripieni al forno (oven baked stuffed capsicums), delish comfort food!

“I remember standing at the market trying to decide which capsicum to buy and which colour to choose with their varying flavour. Of course, I chose all 3 for a mini rainbow version! In this bake, I deliciously filled my capsicums with risotto in a sugo (sauce) mixed with herbs, spinach, and pecorino cheese then topped with a little breadcrumb and a bit more pecorino. Sometimes I may even mix through or top with feta, even use leftover roasted vegetables/meats mixed through a sugo to create a spectacular filling, vegetarian or not…there’s no waste!

Even adding capsicum ‘hats’ back after the filling looks cute. The result is always another reward of gorgeous, comforting flavours for a delicious dinner!”

Snack/afternoon or whenever!

Lockdown Bread

“My no kneads bread version; this recipe is so easy and absolutely no-knead. Well, a tiny bit of kneading but really no effort at all. It produces a gorgeous crunch and a light soft centre. After you’ve baked a loaf, I can assure you it won’t last long, and you’ll quickly bake another!

The result is a crunchy crust and perfect centre to slice and devour with heaps of butter.”

Full Recipe here https://www.piagava.com.au/single-post/easy-no-knead-bread

Savoury Cheese & Rosemary Scones

“My savoury cheese & rosemary scones with my spiced tomato relish. So easy and quick to create and you’ll create more than one batch. Trust me you’ll love the relish; it can be used in many other dishes.”

Full Recipe here https://www.piagava.com.au/single-post/cheese-and-rosemary-scones-topped-with-mascarpone-and-my-homemade-spiced-tomato-relish

Dessert

Pia’s Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing.

“I had tried so many recipe versions, but some were either too sweet or dry, etc and I needed to create my own and I’m so glad I did! I’ve shared this a few times on my socials and had an overwhelming response to this recipe, so many beautiful people have created this cake and forwarded so many of their cake photos.”

Full Recipe here https://www.piagava.com.au/single-post/carrot-cake-with-cream-cheese-icing

Pre Covid cooking at home was on the decline with us time poor and lacking in skills. Now we see daily stories on Instagram of recipes being shared and us sharing the love and excitement of our end result. Cooking and baking have given us a chance to share and connect via socials. So spread a little joy, cook something new and share with us all.

Please enjoy more of Pia’s recipes here https://www.piagava.com.au/table

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