The Joy of Cooper

Recently our gorgeous three year old grandson, Cooper came for a sleep over, I am not sure who was more excited…

Our son, Christopher and Cooper visited me at work, and we made all the purchases for the weekend ahead. I asked Chris if Cooper liked fish fingers, and he said he likes food if he can hold it. So included in our purchases where some lovely little flatty (flathead) tails, freshly in from Lakes Entrance, along with some favourites, bananas, blueberries, strawberries etc. They left with all our purchases while I continued to work for the rest of the day – Cooper was super excited about seeing his Papa.

By the time I arrived home that night, it was quite late, so we kept it very simple. A BBQ with everyone hopping in to help.

The next morning I had to go to the market and of course Cooper wanted to come too. We left his dad and Papa at home while we went to meet with my friends from Coltish Pork – we were having visitors the following night and I had ordered a large slab of pork belly for the occasion. We had a wonderful conversation with Vicki and Keysa, and Cooper ‘paid’ for the pork before we went in search of some locally grown broccoli. With pork and broccoli in the basket, the next stop was the cup cake stall where he selected four different cup cakes to share when we got home – his was to be the one with marshmallows on top…

Then the jumping castle, just for a little fun of course, and finally a really big, red fire engine!

Cooper and Fire Enging in Sale

Back home Christopher was ready to head off to a wedding at Dargo, in the high country about an hour and half drive from here. His partner, Olivia, was a member of the wedding party and was already there. Cooper said good-bye and was ready for a sandwich and freshly made banana smoothie – and then a nice long nap.

On waking it was time for a drink, some fruit and then a little adventure. Along with Papa we were going to Maggie’s garden to feed the chickens, gather the eggs and pick some produce. Maggie was away at the time and we were helping to look after things for her. While he found the garden and chickens a little daunting in the beginning, with a little encouragement from his Papa and Granny, our little man was soon scattering grain and helping to collect the eggs, put them in a basket and finally into the carton to keep them safe for the trip home.

Next we went into the garden – we needed to pick zucchinis and beans. I found a monster ‘cchini and when I suggested it might be too big for him, he kindly informed me that he was strong and could carry it, so off he struggled around the path with a very, very big ‘cchini to put in the big basket.

He then collected his little basket and brought it back and we continued to fill it with more (smaller) ‘cchinis and purple beans.

All this hard work creates an appetite, so with a couple of apples from one of Maggie’s many apple trees, we set off for a little fun at the Avon river, but alas, we discovered a park with dinosaurs (aka Loch Ness Monster) and a castle! Happily munching on the freshly picked apple, Cooper was in his absolute element, singing I’m the King of the Castle, growling like a dinosaur and trying to extract the sword from the stone…

Back at home, he couldn’t wait to make fish fingers. I set everything out – flour, egg, breadcrumbs, and of course, the fish. With him standing on a little stool by my side, I floured and egged the fish, and once I had showed him how, he crumbed them, superbly, I must say. Every one that he crumbed, he claimed as his! In the end there were ten, four for Papa, three for Cooper and three for Granny.

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Now one must ask – does Cooper like fish fingers – you bet he does …

Crumbed Flathead Tails
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 mins
Total Time
16 mins
I love flathead, it is a beautiful firm, white fleshed fish and "flatty" tails make perfect fish fingers. I particularly loved being able to make them with my three year old grandson, Cooper.
Category: Fish & Seafood, Main Course
Quantity: 4 serves
Author: sbaskitchen
  • 12 flathead tails
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  1. Remove the skin from the flathead tails.
  2. Choose three bowls large enough to hold the fish.
  3. In the first bowl, combine the flour with a pinch of salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Break the egg into the second bowl and lightly beat.
  5. Place the bread crumbs in the third bowl.
  6. Take flathead tail, coat with the seasoned flower, then egg and finally coat well with the breadcrumbs and then lay on a large plate. Repeat with remaining flathead tails.
  7. Heat a large fry pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the flathead tails and cook approx 3 minutes each side until the crumbs are golden and the fish is cooked.

  8. Remove the fish from the pan and drain paper towel.
  9. Serve immediately.
  • Flathead tails are the lower end of the flathead fillet, they are perfect for making fish fingers as they are boneless.
  • I use fresh or dry breadcrumbs.


To finish the night as a real treat, there was his favourite – Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake.

And the following day, because he had been such a good boy, he got to have another piece of Nana’s Chocolate Cream Cake – this time with a frog popping out of it,

and yes, we returned to Maggie’s garden to feed the chickens, gather the eggs, pick the vegies and grab another couple of apples before a quick play with nessy.

Finally back home it was family night, his dad, Olivia, her son Sammy, and her mum and dad joined us for a Sunday roast with the pork belly as the star of the show …

Slow cooked pork belly with super crunchy crackle...

Slow roasted pork belly with the crunchiest crackle….

To share my love for cooking, gardening, and picking fresh fruit and veg, with our little grandson was the most amazing experience you can imagine. Introducing him to new things, helping him overcome the apprehension with the chickens, as well as having fun together playing and reading books… Really, life doesn’t get much better than that.

Until next time…

Bon appétit! & happy gardening.



4 thoughts on “The Joy of Cooper

  1. Wonderful. The look on Cooper’s face and his Granny’s says it all. What fun you all had. Seeing Cooper gathering eggs, eating freshly picked apples …… Beautiful.

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