Kids hate being cooped up. If it were up to them they’d be playing in puddles and jumping in mud, but they probably did that this morning. If winter’s all about comforting, warming dishes, why not warm them up by getting a hearty stew on the go. Let them pick what seasonal veg to put in the stew, and tell them about how cooking for longer allows all the flavours to combine and makes the meat really juicy and tender. If they’re old enough you could start to teach them knife skills, and supervise them as they peel and chop up carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and so on. And you can get kids of any age to touch, smell and taste some of the different ingredients, especially herbs.
And don’t forget that brilliant day at the end of this month – Halloween! It’s great for getting kids’ imagination going, and food can be part of that. So, for a start they’ll want to make a pumpkin. If they’re too young to cut out the faces themselves, get them to draw the face with a felt-tip pen and then cut it out for them. Of course, they’ll be expecting some sweet treats too, so why not make them yourself? They’re bound to be tastier and you’ll know exactly what’s going into them. Keep it seasonal by getting the kids to help you bake some butternut squash muffins by cracking and beating the eggs, mixing the cake mix and spooning it into the cases, then decorating the muffins at the end. You can make them really scary by adding natural food colourings to the sponge and icing – try a frightening green or a blood red. Spooky! If you can’t find natural colourings, try mashing raspberries in a sieve to collect the juice, and then mix that with some runny icing. You could do the same with lots of fruits and get the children doing it – blueberries, blackberries and strawberries all work great.