Whole kippers ready for cooking Kippers (more properly, kippered herring) are whole fish which have been split apart, soaked in brine and then smoked to preserve them.

There's all sorts of ways of preparing kippers - you could grill them or jug them in boiling water, both of which are very traditional - but this is a really simple and modern approach to cooking kippers, using a microwave oven, which works very well.

So, this is my attempt to answer the age-old question: how to cook kippers without making the kitchen stink for the rest of the day!

Use good-quality whole kippers from the fishmongers - don't bother with the rather naff ready-filleted kind! Wash each fish, and place (skin side down) on a plate large enough so that it doesn't hang over the edge. (You can carefully cut off the tail fin, or even the whole head, with strong kitchen scissors if necessary.)

In the central depression of each fish, add a splash of olive oil. Then, cut a large lemon in half and, from each half, cut a single thick round. Squeese the juice from the remaining half-lemons onto each fish, and then place the lemon round on the centre depressions. Grind some black pepper over the top - but no salt. (Kippers are naturally very salty.)

Cover each plate of fish with microwave-safe clingfilm, and pierce in a couple of places. Stick the covered plate in the microwave at full power and cook for about two-and-a-half minutes (for a 800 watt oven). The film keeps the smell of cooking inside, of course, as well as protecting the inside of the microwave from splattering.

When the kipper is cooked, remove the film carefully - it will be hot! - and serve immediately with toast, or even freshly-sliced brown bread. Delicious!