My last meal mussels with tomato compote (page 184)

Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids

  • Prepare and wash the mussels.
  • Weigh the spaghetti.
  • Weigh the tomato compote. 
  • Measure the olive oil.
  • Measure the water.
  • Pick the basil leaves off the stalks.

My cooking with kids recipe diary

Jake 5 years 5 months, James 2 years 9 months


Mussels are tender and entertaining to eat and spaghetti is just so much fun. Mussels are also a very cheap way of getting protein. For this recipe I got 1kg of mussels for £2.50 from the supermarket. I cooked an extra two portions of pasta that I had left from another test with garlic butter but we only used 500g mussels and there was plenty for all of us.


When you decide to have spaghetti or other long pasta for dinner, decide first of all that you are going to have to spend a couple of extra minutes cleaning up and then just go for it; slurp and spill and enjoy it. The same goes for mussels. By the way, I pureed the mussels from this recipe and they make a lovely puree, excellent mixed with polenta. 

Today we had a meeting, the parent consultation, with Jake's teacher, Mrs Hopkins. We sat in kids chairs beneath Chinese lanterns that the kids had made. To my right were pictures of birds that the kids had coloured in. Beneath the pictures were fluffy birds that made the real tweeting sounds. All around us there were words and colour and pens and crayons. Mrs Hopkins said some lovely things about Jake and Jake wrote 'I like scool' on his report. She showed us his news book, where he draws on a Monday what he did on the weekend. This Early Years class could be called magic years.  We all need to do more to support teachers, people who create a room and an atmosphere like that deserve to be called names like genius and great. People who create a room and an atmosphere like that deserve to be highly paid. 

Jake drew a kingfisher and his drawing got put up in reception. They are my favourite birds and Jake draws them to make me happy. Oh, it makes me happy Jake.