The Small Girl is going through what child experts call a developmental phase. In other words, she is turning into one of those children that kicks, screams, wails – and refuses to eat. I know it’s not about me, but it breaks my heart when she pushes away the things I’ve made for her, even if it’s a piece of toast. Actually, toast is one of the few things she will eat. Toast, plain penne, peas and crackers. Her attitude to food reminds me of a sign I once saw above a racecourse cafe: “If you can’t fry it, don’t buy it.” Now I know why people end up feeding their children Turkey Twizzlers and McDonalds, because they are emotionally ruined by years of tantrums at dinner time.
But before Social Services come and take me away, I want it on record that the empty fish finger packet in our recycling bin is not a sign of my unfit mothering. No, I bought fish fingers (‘Simply Natural Oat Crumbed Hoki Fillets’) because I genuinely love them. I KNOW they’re only 50 per cent fish and that the crumb coating is nothing more than a cellulite enhancer, but there’s something about fish fingers that I find inherently comforting. They have to be crumbed though – I haven’t fallen so far that I’ll eat those vile faux tempura ones. Anyway, every now and then we have them with the Boy Wonder’s home made oven chips and my new favourite invention, Yoghurt Tartare Sauce. It makes me feel less guilty about my culinary failings and momentarily distracts me from my maternal ones.
Yoghurt Tartare Sauce
Pour about a cup of natural, unsweetened yoghurt into a pretty serving bowl. Add the zest and juice of a lemon, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a tiny clove of garlic (crushed with some salt), a tablespoon of capers and a few finely chopped gherkins (about 1/3 of a cup). Stir gently to mix, then taste for seasoning. Good with fish and chips, even if they’ve come out of a packet.