The kitchen is the central point in my house. Some families might gather around the television or the game console, others may have hobbies that form the focus point. Food, for me, is not just necessity or nourishment but a means of bringing people together and sharing.

Whilst we were renovating the house — haven’t read about that? well, click here — I was insistent that I wanted a ‘L’ shaped island. One part would be for the practicalities of cooking or food prep and the other would be for guests to perch and maybe have a glass of wine.

I always have something on the go. Whether it be preserving tomatoes, peppers or zucchini during the summer months, or feeding my sourdough starter and making hearty casseroles in the winter.

As much as possible, I make from scratch. I grow my own vegetables in a decent-sized, east-facing allotment just next to the house and I like to incorporate as many different grains and legumes (things like: buckwheat, spelt, and old-fashioned lentils…) as possible.

Italy is a great country to be in for this diversity. People think that Italian cuisine is restricted to pizza and pasta, but scratch the surface and you’ll find a wealth of chick peas, beans, grains, seeds, all easily available.

If you’re interested in making vinegar, kefir, fruit-vinegar shrubs, click here to find out more.