So far we’ve skipped the topic of breakfasts, which is bad because it really is the most important meal of the day and vital for setting up kids for school. There’s loads of things you can have for breakfast but a lot of shop-bought stuff is packed with sugar, which won’t keep children going all day and is no good for their teeth. In winter there’s nothing better than porridge to warm kids up when it’s still dark outside, and it’s full of slow-releasing energy so will keep them feeling fuller for longer. Make it exciting by serving it with lots of toppings the kids can choose from – if they get to choose they’re more likely to enjoy it. Try sliced banana, fresh berries, honey, raisins, different jams, ground cinnamon, crushed almonds, or desiccated coconut.
From one brilliant comfort food to another – the humble crumble. It’s one of those dishes we all used to learn from our parents because it’s so simple, yet somehow completely individual. It’s also great for the kids because they get to get down and dirty, rubbing the butter into the flour to make the crumble topping while you deal with the fruit on the stove. Jamie has a great recipe for crumble, but you can just take the topping and then get inventive for the filling. Ask the kids what they want – apples, blackberries, rhubarb, pears, ginger, cinnamon and so on. It’s up to you, but whatever you do, serve it warm with some hot, steaming custard. There’s no better way to round off a beautiful wintery roast.
On the theme of warming treats, kids love hot chocolate, but it’s much more delicious made at home and is great for showing them what goes into their favourite food and drinks. Jamie has a brilliant (he calls it epic) hot chocolate recipe that’s much better than the shop-bought stuff and it’s really fun to grate the dark chocolate and mix all the spices and cocoa powder. If you knock up a batch afterwards and they don’t like it, ask them how they would make it tastier –you can then work together to adjust the mixture.