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Crohn’s, Cooking and Me: Reflecting on a year of Covid-19 and turning to great food for comfort

baked kedgeree.
Debbie Hamilton.

In her latest column, Debbie Hamilton looks back on a year of Covid-19 and brings us an appetising recipe for creamy baked kedgeree.

Hello May, I’m not sure where the spring weather has disappeared to – feels more like we are still stuck in winter!

This month sees a further easing in restrictions. This makes me feel both excited and nervous. Excited to be getting back to normal, but nervous in case we have to go back into lockdown again.

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think I could deal with that for the third time.

I feel fortunate to have received my second dose of the vaccine, it gives me real peace of mind in terms of my own health and that of my family and friends.


I know the devastation that coronavirus can and still causes. My dad sadly lost his life last year to the virus after a life-changing stroke left him vulnerable and at risk.

The upset that it caused knowing we couldn’t be with him when he passed, then the utter devastation that followed because we couldn’t grieve together as a family.

Debbie before her second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

My dad’s funeral should have been packed with all his family and friends, there were only seven people there. I was advised to not attend as I was shielding, so I spent the day at home with my daughter.

Making that decision was unbelievably hard and still stays with me to this day. Trying to find the closure that a funeral brings has been very difficult emotionally and in turn my Crohn’s disease would be problematic.

It was at this point the link between my emotional wellbeing and my physical health was becoming clearer.

A whole bulb of roasted garlic with your baked Camembert is completely socially acceptable right? Asking for a friend 🤷🏽‍♀️#crohnscookingandme #crohnsdisease #crohnswarrior #crohnsandcolitis #camambert #garlic

Posted by Crohn’s, Cooking & Me on Saturday, 8 May 2021


This month I have struggled to stay focused on my mental and physical health

I have, at times, been tired of constantly having to think about the food that I am eating and keeping my head in check. I have felt a little resentment, the question “why me?” has been turned over in my head many times.

But why not me? I am strong enough to deal with what this disease throws at me, I am enjoying adapting recipes to suit my digestive system, I have a fantastic support network and this disease has provided many opportunities and has set me on a course I could have never imagined before.

Lamb cutlets with a creamy mustard and leek sauce, served with buttered carrots (touch of sugar added to the butter to…

Posted by Crohn’s, Cooking & Me on Friday, 7 May 2021

I would not be where I am now without my Crohn’s, I wouldn’t have the mindset that I have now without it.

A good friend once said to me “it’s only a part of you it’s not all of you” this always stays with me and pulls me through those darker days.

Home cooking

This past month I have been trying to take traditional home cooking and lifting it slightly.

I experimented with a roast chicken, roasting it with a variety of Moroccan spices to create a hearty and wholesome dish with a little zing and heat from the floral and vibrant flavours associated with the region.

A delicious breakfast cooked by Debbie.

I have enjoyed using local produce to make a great breakfast with gluten-free sausages, grilled bacon, mushrooms sautéed in organic butter and smoked garlic from the local farm shop, scrambled eggs and avocado smash.

As you know, I love my visit from the fish van and made some amazing mussels and prawns with garlic and chilli.

Some mussels Debbie has enjoyed.

Kedgeree is one of my many favourite fish dishes, I decided to change the way I traditionally cooked it by adding the cream that I used to poach the smoked haddock and baking it in the oven.

It created the most delicious, sticky kedgeree and by adding a poached egg to your plate at the end resulted in, in my humble opinion, a heavenly dish.

Creamy baked kedgeree

(Serves 4)

baked kedgeree
Creamy baked kedgeree.


  • 150g long grain rice
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 x natural smoked haddock fillets
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parsley, chopped
  • 4 x poached eggs (one per serving)


  1. Cook your rice, drain then put aside. Next add your cream to a pan, bring to a simmer then add your haddock. Cook until the fish starts to flake slightly when you touch it (roughly around 5-6 mins).
  2. Now flake the fish. I usually do this while it’s still in the cream, then add your spices, salt and pepper.
  3. Next add your rice to the cream and haddock, stir well and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Cook at 160C/Fan 140C/315F/Gas Mark 2 for around 20 minutes.
  4. Once cooked plate up then make your poached eggs and add to the plate finishing with a flurry of chopped parsley and serve.

More in this series…

Crohn’s, Cooking and Me: Restrictions and shielding may be ending but they have helped Debbie indulge passion for cooking

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