"I hope people pick up the book, maybe find a few recipes they'll add to their own repertoire, but I hope they find some motivation to, say, call up a couple of girlfriends and say come over on Friday night and I'll just do a big, what I call, a chatter platter, and we'll hang out.
I'm like everyone else, over the past few years many of us have lost that confidence, or we think it's a bit hard, or we feel everyone is too busy but there's something quite special about having people over.
No one cares if your house is a mess, or the food's not fancy, just cook a big bowl of pasta and serve it with a salad.
Ultimately it's all just about being together. It's about belonging, being looked after, looking after others in return and feeling like you're part of something, even if it's only for a night.
And I promise if the food is tasty, the table has been set with a little care, the drinks are flowing and the music is playing, it will be the best of times. And don't we all need more of those?"
Chocolate, hazelnut and espresso cake
"I have been making this cake for many years. It was a staple and popular dessert item when we used to run farm tours and lunches every month and here's why: it's really stable, in the sense that you can make it a day or two ahead, wrap it tightly and it will be even nicer. Plus, the flavour combination of chocolate, hazelnut and coffee is a proven winner, and it's not at all hard to throw together. I've served this with poached pears on the side, with ice cream, with cream and just on its own. It's always beautiful.
This recipe makes quite a large cake but it does last well for a few days and a little slice with coffee makes a lovely morning tea. Plus it freezes well."
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 shot espresso coffee
2 3/4 cups chopped dark chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, chopped
100g hazelnut meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
thick cream, to serve
fresh raspberries, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease a 24cm spring-form tin. Line the tin with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and half the brown sugar for at least five minutes or until pale and fluffy and doubled in size.
3. Combine the remaining brown sugar, coffee, chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring often until you have a smooth, shiny mixture.
4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture and very gently fold together. Add the hazelnut meal, baking powder, vanilla and salt and gently fold together.
5. Transfer the batter to the cake tin and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake feels just set in the middle. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the tin.
6. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature, with cream and raspberries.
Serves 6-8 (with leftovers)