Mackerel, prawn, chorizo & lentil 'gumbo' (page 300)

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.
  • Pick the thyme leaves of the stalks.
  • Measure the sauce.

My Cooking With Kids Recipe Diary

Jake 5 years 1 month, James 2 years 5 months


Jess and I ate this dish at lunchtime when she got back from work; James had eaten at day care and went straight up to sleep. Jake is, to my continued sadness, at school all day. I just can't bear him not being here. I saved a tasting portion for him to try with dinner. I re-heated it slowly in the microwave for him to eat alongside the mackerel with brandade that was my evening test. He has eaten Puy lentils and mackerel in many forms for most of his life but he has just started to eat prawns. At 5 he finds the chewy texture fun rather than off putting.


James ate the mackerel, some bread and some of the sauce. He was so happy and proud of this 'See Daddy, eating fish,' that I helped him to finish the rest so he could have his yoghurt afterwards.


We are trying a new system for James in the morning. It had become impossible to get him to the table to eat his breakfast so we are now skipping his morning bottle of milk. Instead, we put a jug of milk on the table for him to pour onto his cereal and bananas. This is working wonderfully. But it's only been three days so I am going very slowly with my optimism. I also have to remember not to interrupt him when his eating rhythm is good. This morning, just taking a bit of his milk out of his bowl was enough to get him cross. Letting the boys be independent is not one of my strengths; I've been a dad for more than 5 years and I still feel lost most of the time.