It’s half-term hell here in the UK. For non-Europeans, this means that you children stay at home from school (or, as in our case, nursery) for a week, twice during the school year - at the end of October and February – for no discernible reason whatsoever. It has clearly been devised by someone who really really hates parents. The weather is inevitably shite – the two worst weeks of the year - and all child- or family-related activities come with a half-term “premium” which is about 600% of the normal price. And so you wake up every morning with a feeling of pure dread and terror at the hours stretched out before you, then leak – in fact, burn - money as soon as you step outside the front door.
The trick, obviously, is to postpone stepping outside for as long as possible.
This isn’t always easy with young kids – mainly because they are awake at the crack of dawn (the Girl is, these days, sticking her middle finger up at Gina Ford and waking at the crack of a dawn which is several time zones ahead of ours; the Baby has bronchiolitis, and so is more or less awake all night), and also because they then bounce off the walls until you leash them up and bring them out.
Unless... you keep them in their pyjamas for as long as possible and promise them chocolate for
Doesn’t it look like dessert? In fact it’s almost health food, and was inspired by the lovely Crumbs sisters’ Chocolate porridge (if you’re not familiar with Crumbs, go visit them and have your daily oh-shit-they-need-to-eat-what-will-I-cook hell resolved forever. They’re brilliant. AND lovely. Sickening.)
This is what it looks like when it’s stirred up (by Batman herself):
(In fact it’s best when stirred up, because I’ve cheated on the chocolate “sauce”, making it from cocoa powder, which isn’t hugely palatable to kids on its own). It’s not so much a recipe as an assembly-job (and an inducement to good behaviour – the Boy could literally not believe his deaf little ears when I agreed to his demand for banana split for breakfast. “Really Mummy? Really? Did I hear you right? Are you making a joke? Can you say it again?” Bless him and his reduced hearing).
- Make your porridge (one cup of fine rolled oats, two cups of cold milk, bring to the boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer for about 5 mins, shaking the pan every now and again)
- Add chopped bananas, a dollop of natural yoghurt and a squeeze of honey.
- Spoon some pretend chocolate sauce on top: one tablespoon of cocoa powder, two of sugar, mix to a paste with a tablespoon of hot milk / water, then add another couple of tablespoons of hot milk. (Actually I added two tablespoons of whipping cream, because I had some to hand).
- Top with chopped nuts if you have any (I didn't).
Serve, while gleefully acting like you’re breaking every parenting law known to man. Then get them dressed in their thermals and rain gear, go spend £347 on 2 hours in a soft play area, and work out what you’re going to do with the other 6 hours of your parenting day.