The Bloke, May 6: It can’t be normal for two-year-olds to have a favourite type of pesto

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I’m in charge for the day... but there’s a culinary row brewing

IT’S a “Daddy Day”, the name my children have given to the days when normal roles are reversed and the Missus goes to work while I stay at home looking after the Terrible Twosome.

On such days I am only too aware that my every action is under the microscope.

There will be periodic phone calls masquerading as innocent checks that “everything is ok”, when in fact the reason for them is to confirm that they’re still alive and not feasting on a lunch of Wotsits and apple Tango.

The Missus is very particular when it comes to the food that passes the twins’ lips.

The tattered pages of the Annabel Carmel cookbook in the kitchen are testament to the hours spent sourcing and prepping ripe mangos, vanilla pods and other exotic ingredients I had never clapped eyes on before the age of 21, let alone two-and-three-quarters.

It’s why we’ve now arrived at a point where the twins’ top five favourite foods include olives (both black and green), humous and Scottish oatcakes.

For lunch I give them another of their favourites – avocado served with toasted pitta bread, but when it comes to dinner I decide to be a bit more adventurous.

“We’re having chicken and pesto with pasta,” I tell them.

I don’t like green pesto,” my son whines. “I not like red pesto,” my daughter adds with a frown.

I decide to conduct a taste test. Both jars are opened and teaspoons fetched. “I like red,” confirms my son. “My favourite is green,” nods my daughter.

“Hold on,” I say. “Are you two basing this on actual taste or just your favourite colours?”

The answer, it turns out, is a bit of both. My son is eventually persuaded to go with the green.
I butterfly the chicken and lightly fry it in some olive oil, adding some slices of fresh red pepper. The fusili pasta is just the right side of al dente and swirled with generous dollops of the pesto.

The pair of them devour two plate fulls each. Then they started asking for some of their leftover Easter chocolate.

“Don’t you want some apple as well?” I ask them, mindful that the Missus will not be impressed if they don’t have their daily quota of fruit.

“Yes,” says my daughter.

“No,” says my son.

I win him round by taking an apple and chopping it up for me and her to share.

“I want some apple,” he says after watching us start tucking in. I cut another one up and we pool our resources between us.

Once they’ve polished off the last chunk, I feel confident enough that the Missus will be happy with the rest of today’s diet that one small piece of chocolate each won’t hurt.

Just as they start biting into it, the kitchen door opens and the Missus walks in from work.

“What have you two had for dinner?” she asks.

“Chocolate!” they chorus.

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