Creamy mackerel, tomato, potato & onion bake (page 294)

Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids

  • Peel potatoes with as much supervision as your child needs.
  • Pick the leaves off the parsley stalk.
  • 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 sauce.
  • Mix the tomato sauce with the cream.
  • Grate the cheese with as much supervision as they need.

My cooking with kids recipe diary

Jake 5 years 1 month, James 2 years 5 months

A month later


The month since I last tested this has been chaos. Jake has started school, James has started playgroup and Jess has started working lunchtimes. I miss them all at lunchtime; I've been so spoilt by having them with me every day. I've been away a lot too and it seems as if we have barely eaten together. In the middle of it all my mum came to stay, the first time we’ve been together in six years.


This was a great recipe to roll us back into the book. James is still not eating many vegetables, but he got through two portions of the bake. The second portion was going very well but then I tried to give him some more mackerel from my plate. He had a little problem with the skin, got upset and stopped eating. I must learn not to push him. If he's going at a good rhythm I should just leave him to it. Jake, who weighed the cheese, grated the cheese, picked the parsley and mixed the sauce with the crème fraiche, said –

'Dad, do you know the one thing I don’t like about this dish?'

'Go on.'

'The parsley gets stuck in my teeth.'

'I’ll cut it a bit smaller.'


First Try


This was a great hit. First on Wednesday with Casey, Jake and James then with our Thursday friends. So five out of five aged from 2 to 8 ate it all. The down side to having a surprise mackerel in the middle is that James doesn’t like it when I stash something inside a dish that he hasn’t expected, even if he likes the ingredient itself. So he got half way through then he got mad.


This same group of kids had eaten the hero mackerel together and really enjoyed it except that Peter (5) doesn’t like the olives. James eats around the olives, I need to do one more test with this, so I'll try chopping the olives very finely. James picks larger chopped bits of herb out of any dinner, even if he has helped me to pick the leaves off the plant. I find this devastating, not only because he doesn’t eat it, but because it works against my theory that if kids can help with it, then they will eat it.