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.  


5 Fast, (Almost) No-Cook Suppers

Shrimp salad

Shrimp salad

Tomato and cucumber salad

Tomato and cucumber salad

This week was a major challenge.

A friend arrived from New York to a packed schedule. No time to shop, much less cook, as we rushed home from a hot and hectic day to change, grab something to eat and head out for the evening by 6:30pm. Somehow I had to stock the kitchen with a variety of simple, quick to assemble items that could make a meal in minutes..

This is what I did (but note: this was not the moment for economy; speed and efficiency was the priority):

I bought:

Meats/fish: chicken breasts, steaks, smoked duck breast, smoked salmon, freshly cooked shrimp

Dairy: large plain whole milk yogurt, 5 different kinds of cheese – all good sized pieces

Good breads/crackers: a nice selection

Vegetables: an assortment of lettuces, cucumbers, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, spring onions, fennel, lemons, garlic, parsley, dill – plus baking and salad potatoes, olives

Sweets (if we had time): sorbet waiting in the freezer, cookies, chocolates

Supper 1:

Chicken in yogurt served cold (see recipe earlier in this blog): made early in the morning before the day started and left ready to serve in the fridge.

Green salad with parsley, capers and oil/lemon juice dressing

Cheese (2 kinds), bread/butter and crackers


Tomato and fennel salad

Tomato and fennel salad

Baked half potato with yogurt

Baked half potato with yogurt

Supper 2:

Shrimp salad with lettuce in yogurt/dill dressing (try to buy shelled shrimp or shell shrimp in morning)

Potato salad with olive oil, whole grain mustard and red wine vinegar dressing (potatoes were boiled and dressed in the morning and left ready to serve in the fridge)

Cheese (another 2 kinds), bread/butter and crackers

Supper 3

Steaks – 2 minutes each side in hot non stick pan

Baked half potatoes: sliced in half, brushed with olive oil and baked in pre-heated, 200C oven until done, served with butter and yogurt (Note: these were put in the oven as soon as we got home, baked while we changed and readied the rest of supper)

Tomato and cucumber salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing

Supper 4

Smoked duck breast, thinly sliced

Tomato, pepper strips and fennel salad with spring onions and capers, oilve oil/vinegar dressing

Cheese from those remaining, bread/crackers/butter

Supper 5

Smoked salmon with yogurt, lemon, bread and butter

Lettuce, mushroom and tomato salad with olives in olive oil/lemon dressing

Cheese (all remaining) and crackers


Simple, Quick, Grated Carrot Salads

Vegetable Garden, Chelsea Flower Show, 2011