Lockdown midterm guide: Take four ideas to perk up your Tuesday

Meatballs for dinner, a new Pixar film on TV and back to basics with indoor paper games

Cook...

What kid won’t like the sound of meatballs? Here’s a perfect autumn recipe by Domini Kemp – flavoursome but not too spicy for little ones.

MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE

Four servings
For the meatballs:
250g minced lamb
250g minced beef
1 large onion grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
30g ground almonds
1tsp sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp harissa paste
Salt and pepper
Pinch cinnamon
Few knobs butter

For the sauce:
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
30g butter
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
Squeeze honey (two big ones)
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp harissa

Method:
1
Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Celsius/gas mark 4.

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2 To make the meatballs, place all the ingredients in a bowl and with clean hands, mix them together thoroughly.

3 Form into small balls – about one-and-a-half inches across. Arrange on a roasting dish, sprinkle with a few small knobs of butter, and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, make the sauce by sweating the garlic and cinnamon stick in the butter until soft, and then adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the flavours are well mingled.

5 Remove the meatballs from the oven, pour the sauce over them and bake for another 25 minutes. Serve with a crunchy green salad.

Watch...

Onward is one of the latest big offerings on the Disney+ platform, and this Pixar-produced delight – the studio’s first original offering since the delightful Coco in 2017 - has already been called “Frozen with Boys”. Touching on childhood grief and brotherly bonding in the most accessible way possible, this quest movie features two lovable blue-skinned elves (voices by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) who discover a secret magic that helps to reunite them with their late father. Packed with that lovely Pixar magic, and great fun for smallies.

Get outdoors...

Seeing as we’re keeping things simple today, get some inspiration from Kunak McGann’s brilliant book Red Rover, Red Rover (O’Brien Press), where she provides instructions of the best-loved outdoor games from an Irish childhood. Inside, you can refresh your memory on how to play French Elastics, Sevens, Marbles, Kerbs and even Tip The Can. There are 80 games to choose from, most of which are perfect for social distancing in the back garden, a quiet road on an estate, or even a green space near your house.

Play indoors...

Want to ditch the screens for the afternoon? There are hundreds of enjoyable indoor games for kids that need next to no equipment. The paper game, for example, invites you to ball up pages from yesterday’s newspaper (we don’t mind if it’s this one) and use an old laundry basket as a target. Or, you could try balance beam, where different coloured tape stuck onto the floor can have different rules (for instance, they have to balance and walk on one leg on green, or they have to try walking on their hands on the red tape). An indoor obstacle course can be created with kitchen chairs, blankets, exercise balls, hula hoops and even a sweeping brush. Why not go right back to basics with Xs and Os, Dots and Boxes, or Hangman? Check out YouTube for one of many videos showing you how to make a paper fortune-teller (also called whirlybirds).