Spinach, onion & chorizo giant couscous pilaf

Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids

  • Peel the garlic. Jake and James love banging it to loosen the skin.
  • Cut the butter with a butter knife.
  • Peel the onions. Start your child off by cutting off the tops with a knife. Then peel the skin just enough to give them something to grip and then pull off. This is extremely satisfying at any age.
  • Measure the olive oil.
  • Cut the butter with a butter knife. 

My Cooking With Kids Recipe Diary

Jake 5 years 6 months, James 2 years 10 months

Here it was, a huge breakthrough. Proof that I’ve mucked it up all along when I’ve tried to serve herbs to James. I’ve sat next to him so many times when he’s picked bits of herb off a single macaroni or penne, or gotten cross with me because it’s deceived him and he’s got a bit in his mouth. He can’t articulate it yet, but I think it must feel like it does when we get a hair caught in our mouths. So I’d cooked this recipe using sliced spinach first, and James eventually just got sick of picking it out and got cross. When he did I realised that this anger was a product of my ambition.He’s made huge strides but I just keep pushing when I shouldn’t. 

The next time I cooked it everything changed. The pasta ends up being very green but there aren’t any bits and he ate it all, except the chorizo which is a bit hard for him. I need to give him this and other meals like this for a while, and then start trying him on meals with herbs chopped into tiny pieces, because he loves the smell of herbs and he loves picking them off the plant. It is just the texture and that won’t change overnight. 

After all this James asked for some carrot out of the blue, carrot at the table, and he said 'It’s Sunday day'. I think he figured this out because we went swimming and we call Saturday 'daddy day' and Monday is a 'school day'. These little discoveries with language as we go along are beautiful beyond words. James, Jake and I took turns to peel the carrot at the table.