I can’t claim credit for this culinary masterpiece (!) as my boyfriend invented it. It is simple, appealing to kids but with a lovely little extra – you serve the mixture of pasta, chopped fish fingers and peas with a wedge of lemon that they can squeeze over their meal. My kids love doing this and my oldest son (nearly 6) feels all sophisticated knowing that he is adding the flavour himself. He also now knows that fish and lemon are a great pairing! Since we first had this meal my boys have suggested a couple of other foods that would go well together. The most memorable is ready salted crisps and jam – I held in my laughter and judgement and let them try it and my youngest seemed quite keen! The important thing is that they are up for experimenting with flavours and their suggestions are taken seriously.
The first time my boyfriend made fish finger surprise he added the lemon himself and asked the kids to guess what the surprise ingredient was. And the second time we served the bowls with lemon wedges. Chopped and stir fried broccoli, asparagus or soya beans would also work well instead of the peas. Stir frying or steaming are the best ways to retain the goodness in vegetables, whereas boiling gets rid of most of it.
Fish finger surprise (serves 4)
8 fish fingers, cooked as per the pack instructions
150g-200g any pasta, depending on appetite
Large handful frozen peas
Knob of butter
1 lemon, cut in to quarters
Cook the pasta as per the instructions, adding the peas a few minutes before the pasta is cooked. Drain, add a knob of butter and stir. Chop the cooked fish fingers and add them to the pasta with a little salt and pepper. Either add the juice of 1/2 lemon if you want the kids to guess the magic ingredient, or put a wedge of lemon in each bowl for people to squeeze themselves.