It's a damp day. The sort that no matter how bundled up you are, the dampness finds a way to creep into your bones.

Twigs and pinecones to be used as kindling, and armfuls of freshly axed logs have been gathered from the wild, as one of the many chores of the day can be ticked off the list. It's time to put them to work and dry off after a good days jobs, jobbed.  

The scent of woodsmoke is pure magic. It dances around the fireplace and fills the air with its comforting smell, all crackles and pops, reminding me that Guy Fawkes night is just around the corner. 

With the fire alight, my tummy rumbles. Supper is calling and there is only one thing I want to eat. 

Autumn feels like the most appropriate time to celebrate the joys of smoked food, and there is none so good as a delicately smoked slab of sustainably caught Haddock from our local waters.

It has to be this, from our dear friend Gill Meller. He's cleverly gathered together some of the best things in life; smoked fish, farmhouse cheddar and beer!

A just reward for a good days graft. 



  • Pour the beer into a pan and set it over a high heat. Reduce it by half.

    Put the smoked haddock into a medium pan so that it fits in snugly. Pour over enough milk to just cover. Add the bay leaves and thyme and bring the milk up to a gentle simmer and cook for 1–2 minutes, until the fish starts to flake, turn off the heat. 

    Remove the fish using a slotted spoon, and set aside. Reserve the milk. When the haddock is cool enough to handle, break it into large flakes, removing any bones or bits of skin as you go. 

    Melt the butter in a medium pan over a medium heat until it begins to bubble, then stir in the flour and cook gently for 2–3 minutes
to cook out the flour. Gradually add about 150ml of the reserved poaching milk and the reduced beer. Stirring all the time as you do so. When the sauce is smooth and thick, let it cook for 1–2 minutes, then add the Cheddar, the mustard and some salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and keep warm. 

    Carefully spread the mixture over the toasted bread and place under the hot grill for 3–4 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Serve straight away. 

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