COOKING for one can be difficult but food writer Janneke Vreugdenhil says there a plenty of positives in solo cuisine.

The Dutch critic used her own personal experience to discover the advantages of preparing a meal without having to consider the taste buds of others.

It was not an easy journey for Janneke but she has now written a book to share her tips on how to make the most of lone dining.

She said: "After my husband left me three years ago, at first, I couldn't eat, food was the last thing on my agenda.

"I was so sad, I wasn't hungry. I was losing weight and I felt miserable. Because divorce is not very good for your self-confidence and self-love, I didn't love myself enough to think I was worth the trouble of cooking."

It was after around six months of living alone that Janneke finally seared herself a lone wolf of a steak.

That process of swapping dinners of crisps, supermarket soup and bowls of oatmeal, led to her rediscovering her joy of food, and to recipe ideas, and finally to Solo Food, a cookbook of dishes perfect for one.

She said: "After a while, I didn't eat dinner in front of the television. I decided to sit at the table and properly eat my food with a knife and fork and have a glass of wine with it - and have a proper meal."

In Solo Food, she shares a lemon cake in a mug, a bowl of stir-fried prawns to dunk in harissa mayo, ideas for using up stuff across multiple days without rice-fatigue setting in, and a favourite green slush of quinotto that Janneke admits is "not something I would make for someone else, it doesn't really look good, it's a bit messy, but it tastes really, really nice".

Making dinner for one can be an opportunity to experiment and indulge "So many people live solo for some time in their lives," says Janneke. "Whether you're alone by choice or by chance, it doesn't matter, cooking for yourself is a very precious - and fun - thing to do.

"I'm doing really funky stuff because there's no one to say, 'Oh, you can't have that with that!' I put all my leftovers together and sometimes it's amazingly good, and sometimes it doesn't work at all and I do have to order pizza, but it's a real opportunity to cook on instinct, and by heart.

"Restaurant meals, takeouts, ready meals - they're made for the average palate," she adds, but when you're only feeding yourself, you can be specific, decadent, selfish even - you can spoil yourself.

Janneke added: "You can make your salad as sour as you want, your soup as velvety as you want, your Chinese food as spicy as you want, you can really follow your own palate. You don't have to please anyone else."

Solo Food by Janneke Vreugdenhil, photography by Floortje van Essen-Ingen Housz, is published in paperback by HQ, priced £16.99.