The chat this week has been inspiration for getting into the kitchen and making something from scratch.

Although on my to-do list this year is considering writing a book, if I could inspire a group of people who don't cook to pop into their kitchen and leave the 'dingables' on the supermarket shelf for one day and try something as simple as this - a real cheats way - then I'd be happy.

If I'm struggling to get you to make a white sauce, then follow all the other steps but warm a tub of cream cheese slowly and use that as your sauce instead, still adding some cheese and finishing in the same way.

Loading article content

It honestly doesn't take too much time and effort to make a massive difference in the way you see tea time.

Also if smoked haddock is not your thing, then use plain haddock.

Remember: small steps!

Haddock mornay

675g Scottish pale smoked haddock fillet

150ml fish stock

300ml milk

45g butter, plus extra for greasing

45g plain flour

115g Scottish Cheddar cheese, grated


250g spinach, chopped

Grated nutmeg, pinch

60g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

60g parmesan cheese, grated


1 Cut haddock into four pieces and place in deep frying pan.

2 Pour over stock and milk and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 4-5 minutes.

3 Lift fish from pan and keep warm, keep poaching liquid.

4 Melt butter in saucepan and stir in flour until smooth. Cook for 1 minute, stir in poaching liquid until evenly combined.

5 Stir until sauce thickens. Stir in cheddar until melted, season and remove from heat.

6 Put spinach in saucepan, cover, cook on low heat for 1 minute until wilted.

7 Add nutmeg, transfer to greased, shallow, ovenproof dish. Preheat grill.

8 Place haddock on spinach and pour over cheese sauce.

9 Mix breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan, and sprinkle over sauce.

10 Place under grill until golden


Additions for this dish can be as simple as left over mash or boiled potatoes to line the bottom of the dish or finish with a soft poached egg.

If you are on a health kick to move towards the spring's arrival, then substitute whole milk for skimmed (don't let the milk boil) and using a light cheese will make all the difference to the calories.

However, if you are like me, then go the whole hog and add an extra loop in a brisk walk with the dogs to compensate. Dogs are optional!