This is for and about home cooks - the women all over the the world (and through the centuries) who put dinner on the table every night. They know how to cook quickly, easily, economically, healthily and satisfyingly whether for one or a dozen.

Part memoir, part diary of shopping, cooking, reading and thinking about putting supper on the table, by a former fashion/design writer/consultant whose secret love has always been food.  


Easy Haddock a la Crème

Haddock a la Creme with fresh tomatoes and orzo pasta

Haddock a la Creme with fresh tomatoes and orzo pasta

The author of “Lady Maclean’s Cook Book,” from which this recipe comes, is one of my heroines.

Born into a life of privilege, her taste for adventure led her to – among much else – taking a course in lorry driving so she could drive a seven-ton truck full of urgent medical supplies to Croatia for the people of Korcula in 1991, when she was 71.

Fitzroy Maclean, the model for 007, was her second husband (her first, Alan Phipps, having been killed in WWII); when he proposed to her in 1946 after a whirlwind courtship, she asked “couldn’t we just live together for awhile and I be your mistress?” feeling she was still in mourning. As you would expect from the prototype for James Bond, this was not an answer he would accept.

She had an amazing life, including four children, much travel “in the wake of my husband”, a hotel to run – Creggans Inn at Strachur, and several books. 

“Lady Maclean’s”, published in 1965, is one of four cookbooks, a “personal scrapbook, collected from family recipes of several generations … from my travels around the world … and from friends whose food I particularly admire.” Each recipe is printed as it was originally found – hand written, or roughly typed – adding to the charm of this absolutely enchanting book. Note: I found my copy by luck in a charity shop, however you can track it down on the web. 

Haddock a la Crème is my most often made recipe from this collection, and extremely simple – smoked haddock, cream and black pepper. That’s it.

The original recipe called for smoked Finnan Haddock, but my local fishmonger – Moxon’s – smokes its own excellent haddock so this is my adaption.

ALL YOU NEED IS: Serves 2 greedy people

Oven preheated to 200c

400 grams freshly smoked haddock (not dyed), skin removed

100 ml thick cream (or more, if you like – enough to cover the fish)

freshly ground black pepper

Place fish in baking dish. Cover with cream. Grind pepper over the top.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork and top is slightly browned.

Serve with rice, boiled new potatoes or fine pasta such as orzo. 

Easy, Quick Fried Green Peppers

Smoked Haddock Chowder with Crème Fraiche