Salmon fish fingersĀ 

Daddy’s away with work for nearly four weeks. Today’s only day two but I’ve already been told Bert’s cross with him four times. When we walked the dog on the heath by the hospital this afternoon, Bert pointed at a man aged, I don’t know, 90, and said ‘is that my dad?’ I thought the man didn’t hear but he gave us a bleary wink and said ‘I wish I was!’ 

As we approached someone sitting outside the hospital, Bert said, ‘that my dad? Oh no,’ dismissively and loudly, ‘just old man.’ ‘Not old!’ I said brightly, ‘and not a man!’ 

Then Bert repeated, with great pleasure and not for the first time, his version of the birth story I told him last time we were here, since this was the hospital he was born in. ‘Didda in Bert’s punny [tummy]. Very big bottom. Huge! Mum take Bert hospital and Didda come out Bert’s punny. We put nappy on Didda and blanket and take him home.’ 

I guess sometimes missing people comes out in funny ways. And, sometimes, a story can put an image into your brain that can never be undone.

Makes 6

2 salmon fillets

1 tablespoon cornflour

50ml milk

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

Olive oil

Cut the salmon into strips about a centimetre deep and a couple of centimetres wide. There’s often a thin end of a fillet so cut that off and slice the remaining piece horizontally in a parallel line to the surface of the fillet. Arrange the flour, milk and mixed crumbs and cheese in three bowls and production-line dip the fish in flour then milk then crumbs & cheese. Fry in olive oil on a medium heat for six minutes, turning after three.


Honey and soy salmon stir fry

salmon stirfry

About two months ago I made Bert a story book from scratch. I did all the illustrations, including pictures of his favourite things, like his blue car and some flowers he’d picked for his dad. I wrote the story based on one of the ones I tell him every night at bed time after lights out – all adventures with Bert as the hero and all to do with our every day life. I rewrote and rewrote it till it rhymed and scanned. I redrew some of the illustrations till I was happy with them. I got it self-published as a hard back book with a slip cover – on the front was a picture of Bert and his blue car. In the inside cover it read, ‘for Bert’.

Whenever I get it out he says ‘no Bert book’.

This week I made this totally toddler-friendly meal from scratch. Bert ate all the plain noodles, carefully separated from the veg and salmon to avoid cross contamination, and, when I suggested he try some honey marinated salmon, he cried.

You win some…

Serves 3

3 salmon fillets

1 inch of fresh ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Splash of sunflower or veg oil

3 carrots, peeled and cut into batons

1 courgette, cut into batons

1 red onion, sliced

3 nests dried egg noodles

1 tablespoon sesame oil

To serve:

1 table spoon soy sauce

1 dessert spoon sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan first if you can be bothered

Combine the soy, honey, garlic and ginger in a shallow bowl and add the whole salmon fillets to the mixture, turning so both sides are covered in the marinade. Cover and chill in the fridge for about an hour.

Take the salmon fillets out of their marinade, put on a baking sheet and cook at 220 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. (That’s two rungs up in the roasting oven for our Aga – in our oven they’re done after 12 minutes.)

Cook the noodles in boiling water according to packet instructions. Heat the oil in a wok till very hot, add the onion and cook for a minute, add the carrot and cook for two minutes, add the courgette and cook for another minute. The veg should be cooked through but still firm. Add the marinade from the salmon and heat through. Then add the cooked noodles and sesame oil, and combine the lot, stirring through the extra soy and sprinkling on the sesame seeds. (I separated Bert’s noodles and veg first due to the toddler cross-contamination terror.) Serve with the whole pieces of cooked salmon on the side.




Lawn salmon


Photo evidence of first ever haircut klaxon!

I’d hesitate to call this a recipe, but should I die: Tony, this is how Bert likes his salmon. It’s also very toddler and baby-at-the-finger-food-stage friendly. Quick too.

Serves 2

2 salmon steaks

2 dessert spoons pesto

Spread the pesto on top of the salmon to form a small lawn and put on a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees (or near the bottom of the Aga roasting oven) for about 15 minutes. As I write, Bert is wheeling some golden syrup and two AA batteries around in his miniature wheel barrrow.

We had ours with buttered new potatoes and odd ‘green’ beans that were yellow and curly (fresh, I hasten to add). Nice though.