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T. S. Eliot may have deemed April the 'cruellest month' but my vote goes to January. Having had the welcome Winter distractions of Christmas and New Year one is left with a bereft bank account and nothing to occupy the mind but your tax return. Why anyone would consider this a suitable moment for temperance is beyond me. Surely this is a time to stoke up the fire and seek what comfort you can from the cellar and larder.

A happy recent discovery has been that potato gnocchi can be dowsed in boiling water, drained then oven-roasted with hugely gratifying results. I've had to wait half a century to find this out but I'm making up for lost time. They can be paired with all manner of vegetables, herbs and spices to yield hot and tasty suppers on a relatively modest budget.

 

Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Chestnut Mushrooms

Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Chestnut Mushrooms

 

My favourite cookery book of 2018 'The Green Roasting Tin' features two such recipes that have already become weekday 'standards' chez Yapp. The first is vegan and combines peeled and diced butternut squash with chestnut mushrooms and sage to great effect. Around 30-40 minutes in a fan oven at 180 degrees C. ensures everything is nicely cooked and the pièce de résistance is a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, chopped pine nuts and fresh basil. The second deploys sliced red and yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, rosemary, garlic and chilli flakes. It is a brilliant winter warmer served with spoonful's of fresh ricotta to mitigate some of the heat.

 

Gnocchi with Peppers and Chilli

Gnocchi with Peppers and Chilli

 

I'd be drawn to an aromatic wintery white like this month's Pfalz: Pinot Gris vom Kalkstein 2016 to partner either dish but a supple, Southern organic red like the 'Meli Melo' might help keep chills at bay so could serve equally well.

 

January Wines of the Month: £59.00 per case (of six bottles) delivered, saving £17.70 on list prices.