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.  


Carmen's Easy Cold Hake with 2 Sauces


Among my favourite summer suppers is fish, cooked then served cold, topped with something fresh and flavourful. 

There  are many wonderful examples from Spain, France and Italy - countries that really understand hot weather cooking - and one which I make again and again is Penelope Casas'  "Carmen's Stuffed Hake with Two Sauces" in "La Cocina de Mama."

Except that I lay the rich, red piquillo peppers and hard boiled egg slices on top of the fish (instead of stuffing them inside) which is quicker and easier - a sacrilege, I know (so sorry, Penny) - so the dish as I make it is now "Carmen's Hake with Two Sauces (and a topping)." 

The only really special ingredient is: a jar of piquillo peppers - which are good to keep handy in your larder or fridge anyway. Everything else is easy. So -

All you need is fresh hake steaks (cod will do), hard boiled eggs, lemons, piquillo peppers or pimentos, olive oil; and for the sauces mayonnaise (you can make your own if you really want to), parsley, cornichon or dill pickle, capers, minced onion, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.


Sauce 1 - vinaigrette - serves 4, leftovers can be used as a sauce for any cold vegetable salad. 

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons wine vinegar, preferably white

2 tablespoons chopped cornichon or dill pickle

2 tablespoons capers in vinegar, drained

2 tablespoons piquillo peppers or pimento cut in fine strips

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the vinaigrette: whisk together the oil and vinegar in a bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients. 

Sauce 2: mayonnaise

I use my favourite brand, but make your own if you prefer.

Fish: serves 4  (halve ingredients to serve 2 - leftovers are good too)

hake (or scrod or cod) steaks about 3/4" thick (about 1 1/2 lbs)

2 large hard boiled eggs, sliced

4 piquillo peppers or 2 pimentos cut into 1/2 inch strips

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F

Combine the water, lemon juice and oil in an ovenproof dish. Lay the hake (or cod) steaks in the dish and arrange the pepper and egg slices over the tops. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through, basting with the pan juices occasionally. Remove from the oven and cool.

Serve cold or room temperature with the two sauces in separate bowls to add as desired.












Quick & Easy Banana Salad

Easy Andalusian Gazpacho