See the slideshow for wizardly ways to transform braised mackerel

Photographs copyright Peter Knab

Braised Mackerel (page 293)

Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids

  • 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.
  • Peel the garlic. Jake and James love banging it to loosen the skin first.
  • Measure the olive oil.
  • Put all of the above into the pan.
  • Open the tin with as much supervision as they need. (Jake started doing this at 4 1/2.)

My Cooking With Kids Recipe Diary

Jake 4 years 10 months, James 2 years 2 months

The first time I tested this, it was with the capers, olives and rosemary. We had our friends’ kids aged 3 and 5 around for dinner and with my two who were 2 and 4. Everyone liked this. Even James ate the mackerel, sauce and the boiled potatoes I’d served it with. Jake and both the other kids had three helpings. This convinced me absolutely that there is no such thing as grown up food. For what could be more'grown up' than these flavours? Presumably the salt in the olives and capers is a little addictive, but this is good stuff, lots of oily fish, tomatoes, onions and garlic. I’d made a double recipe and it all went so I had nothing left to start testing the other recipes. There have been more than ten versions since and there have been various likes and dislikes with the subsidiary recipes, but on the whole this has been a simple and economical delight.