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 Mermeester: Baked Prawns, Eggs & Cream


Mermeester – a quickly assembled mix of prawns, chopped hardboiled eggs and cream, topped with breadcrumbs and grated cheese, then popped into a hot oven for 15 minutes – was one of my favourite easy suppers when my first son was born.  I could put it together while he was sleeping and then pop it in the oven just before we wanted to eat.

The recipe comes from Habitat’s 1975 Cook’s Calendar, written by Cynthia Wickham and illustrated by Ian Beck ( early in a prolific career which includes children’s and other picture books, album covers (including Sir Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.) film trailers and extensive editorial work.

I have just three  –1975, ’76 and ’77 – of those published between 1971 and 1981, with recipes in tune with Habitat’s then revolutionary simple, practical design concept.  

The recipes were essentially farm-to-table well before that idea began – a few fresh ingredients, easily put together for an unpretentious meal, much inspired by the work of Elizabeth David and including Scandinavian and North African ideas as well.

Mermeester is probably from the Netherlands but Googling the name brings up exactly nothing!  Nor, without more extensive research, can I find this recipe under another name. Perhaps it is unique to the writer’s family? Whatever, it’s is a very useful dish.

ALL YOU NEED IS: for 2 or 3 – served with toast or rolls and a salad

NOTE: use half recipe to serve one person

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

100 grams (about a cup) of prawns

1 tablespoon mustard

½ cup cream (or crème fraische or sour cream) – more if you like

3 or 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

3 or 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

3 or 4 tablespoons grated cheese

1 tablespoon butter

salt and pepper


Mix chopped eggs, prawns, mustard, cream and choppe parsley together in a baking dish. Scatter top with breadcrumbs and grated cheese, dot with butter.

Bake in preheated 200C/400F oven for 15 minutes until hot and lightly browned on top.

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