Smoked salmon pasta salad

This summer pasta salad of smoked salmon, avocado, fennel, lime and preserved lemon managed the high accolade of ‘my favourite pasta salad ever’. It’s easy to make and filling. You can also leave out the pasta for an easy, grain-free option.

Tuna, tomato and basil pasta

We have a few standard car-camping meals, and the tuna, tomato and basil pasta is one of them. It tastes great, it can be cooked in a trangia (or over a campfire, but not in summer, alas), and it needs very little preparation. It’s also very healthy and full of calories, which is important when there’s another day of walking to come.

Macaroni cheese, served with iceberg lettuce

A lighter macaroni cheese

Our family’s version of the centuries-old macaroni cheese comes from the one my mother prepared when we were little. I’ve cut down the amount of cheese, and our white sauce is lighter, but otherwise the dish has changed very little. The big innovation (my mum’s) was to go from making the white sauce the old-fashioned way to something that takes only seconds in a blender.

For starters: green shallots with tagliatelle pasta

Easy and elegant: shallots with tagliatelle

It’s almost too easy. This combination of creamy, melt-in-your mouth shallots and tagliatelle is so simple it makes a perfect entree on a busy night. And it looks great. The bulbs cook down into a creamy sauce for the pasta while the tops hold their shape and colour, just to make it all look good.

Silverbeet (chard) or spinach pasta salad with crushed walnuts

Silverbeet, spinach pasta salad

Warm pasta salads are ideal weekend lunches in the cooler, autumn weather. You can use any spinach/silverbeet for this: baby spinach/silverbeet will have a more delicate flavour, adult spinach/silverbeet will be stronger and need a few more minutes in the wok to cook through.