Cooking in the face of adversity

I chose a tried and tested recipe for Monday’s evening meal. Simple and unfussy cod with tomato and thyme sauce, it’s one of those dinners you know you can rely on.

However I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so gruelling. I always used to think I wouldn’t last five minutes cooking in the extreme pressures of a professional kitchen. But I wonder if a chef could turn out a decent meal if they were dealing with half of the stuff that goes on in the space of 30 minutes in my house.

To give myself a bit of breathing space I set Sam up in the garden with one of his ‘experiments’. I gave him different pots of ingredients, a big bowl and a wooden spoon and let him make a mixture. This distraction lasts approximately three minutes and then he’s inside wanting more and more indredients and then it ends abruptly with the ingredients being dumped all over the kitchen floor.

Arlo then starts climbing to the top of the slide and Sam ‘helps’ him down by pointing him head first towards the paving slabs.

Arlo then tries to scale a folded step ladder, and when I take him off it he unexpectedly takes his very first steps! 🙂

The celebrations of this landmark moment are cut short by a phonecall from the local garage with a lengthy explaination as to why they’ve not fixed our car, which I know I’ll have to relay to Matthew when he gets in from work.

I’d be taking notes but both boys decide I shouldn’t be on the phone and both start yelling at me.

Only then do I remember I put the onions on to soften when Sam started his ‘experiment’, and of course when I lift the lid of the pan they are now soot.

So I take a deep breath and start again. Clean the pan and chop another onion.

Arlo is now head-banging the floor out of frustration that his tea’s not ready, he’s getting four molars through at once and he’s absolutely exhausted coz he didn’t have his afternoon nap.

Sam has inexplicably taken off all his clothes and is throwing our camping equipment in the paddling pool.

It’s a miracle there was any food on the table this evening. But thanks to Matthew returning from work the situation was instantly diffused. I hold my hat off to anyone who does this alone.

The ‘five o’clock flashpoint’ as I like to call it should be a new challenge on Masterchef!

Cod with tomato and thyme

Olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp light brown soft sugar
4 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 fillets of sustainable cod or other firm white fish

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and soften for 5-8 mins until lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, thyme and soy, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 mins.

2. Place cod fillets on top of the sauce, cover and cook on a gentle heat for 8-10 mins until the fish flakes easily.

I served it with potatoes boiled and mashed with butter and creme fraiche. The sauce is lovely and sweet – a great match for the simple cod and perfect for being mopped up with mash.

It’s healthy and nutritious and goes down well in this house.

Let me know if you have any tips for keeping the littlies at bay when you’re cooking dinner!


About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea!
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4 Responses to Cooking in the face of adversity

  1. This looks fabulous! Seems like a great one to try!

  2. God tell me about the five o’clock flashpoint… I end up giving mine cubes of cheese whilst I heat up microwave pouches of rice when that happens. This cod looks great!

    • rhwfoodie says:

      I don’t know what I’d do without cheese or cheerios for that matter! When i’m cooking I throw scraps of food at Arlo’s tray like he’s at the zoo… I’m such a slapdash mum at times 😉

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