Tortellini

I’m not mental, I don’t make my own tortellini. I buy it. It’s really good for babies since it’s easy for them to hold and bite/chew/gum, and it’s it’s really good for mums since it only takes 2 minutes to cook. And they’re relatively unmessy and so good for taking out and about.

Spinach and ricotta, cheese and ham, mushroom – whatever flavour you like. With or without a sauce. It’s a good idea.

Strawberries and Yoghurt

Not a recipe, just a suggestion. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of toast or cereal every morning – fruit and yoghurt is awesome. Baby can suck the yoghurt off their fingers and there’s almost nothing sweeter than a baby nomming on a strawberry. Cut them in half – it makes it easier for them to hold.

Potato, Spinach and Pea Curry

This is a curry I’ve been making for myself for years now, from a recipe my mother-in-law gave me, and it’s perfectly suitable for baby since I never really add a lot of chilli. It’s got bags of flavour though, and the texture is great – soft potatoes, melting onions, mouth-popping peas and lovely iron-rich spinach. It’s easy to make too.

This amount serves 2 adults and 1 baby.

Recipe

1 onion, sliced finely
3 large-ish potatoes, cut up, or several new potatoes – just judge for yourself how much you’ll eat.
About 150g spinach, fresh
About 100g peas, fresh or frozen
1 knob of butter
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tsp sugar
Some chilli – you need to judge for yourself depending on what kind of chilli you use. I cheat and use a jar of ready-chopped chillis – about 1/4 tsp.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the onion and cook on a gentle heat until it’s soft and just turning golden brown. Add in the cumin, coriander, chilli and sugar, stir to mix with the onions and then add the potato and stir to mix again. Pour over enough cold water to almost, but not completely, cover the potatoes. Bring it up to a simmer, put a lid on and leave it until the potatoes are cooked (about 20 mins). Add the peas and the spinach (stuff the spinach in, it’ll soon wilt down) and bring it back to a simmer. Smush a bit of the cooked potato into the liquid to thicken it. If it’s still too runny turn the heat up and let some of the water evaporate.

That’s it! Serve with rice and dhal, if you like.

Hummus on Toast

Served above with blueberries and cherries.

You don’t need a recipe for hummus on toast. You get hummus, and then you spread it on toast. It’s just a good idea. Babies seem to love hummus. You could make your own hummus, this is a good recipe (you can leave out the garnish). To be honest though, I buy it ready made. It’s fine. Yay hummus!

Ratatouille Pasta

Now, you cold make your own ratatouille. If you do, you’re a better person than I. I totally cheat and just buy a tin of it. I check the ingredients and as long as there isn’t too much salt or suger or ingredients with more numbers than letters, we’re golden.

The recipe is essentially: cook pasta, mix with tin of ratatouille. About 200g of pasta is a suitable amount relative to the amount of ratatouille in a tin and makes about 4-6 servings. It’s suitable for freezing.

Home-made Fish Fingers

These are really easy to make and are very much something for both you and baby to eat together. Who doesn’t love fish fingers? I’ve made mine today with salmon but you can use any firm fish – cod, pollock, haddock, hake, tilapia, even tuna or monkfish if you’re feeling flush.

Recipe

This makes enough for roughly 8 fish fingers, depending on the size of the fish fillets. Providing the fish hasn’t been previously frozen, you can freeze the uncooked or cooked fish fingers.

250g fish fillets, boned and skinned
75g breadcrumbs
2 large eggs

Pre-heat the oven to about 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk them together with a fork. Put the breadcrumbs on another plate or bowl. Cut the fish fillets into finger-sized pieces. Dip each finger first into the egg mixture, then into the bread, then back into the egg and back into the breadcrumbs. Double-dipping!

Place on a non-stick or greased-with-oil oven tray. Put in the oven for around 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Ta dah, they’re done!

Vegetable Pancakes

These pancakes are a handy way to give smaller veg like sweetcorn or peas to babies who haven’t mastered the pincer grip yet. I’ve made these ones with sweetcorn but really you could put anything in them – sweet or savoury. Other ideas:

Courgette
Grated carrot
Peas
Spring onions
Cabbage
Lettuce
Asparagus

I could go on but you get the idea. Combine veg or just pick one, up to you. This recipe made enough for me and baby for lunch (but I am quite greedy).

They’re also quite portable and not very messy, so handy for when you’re out and about.

RECIPE

100g self-raising flour
150ml milk
1 egg
Small tin of sweetcorn or whatever veg you choose

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Heat up a non-stick frying pan and add a couple of tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is nice and hot dollop a large spoonful of mixture into the pan and fry for 30 seconds – 1 minute until it’s going brown, then flip over and fry the other side. Set aside onto a paper towel. Once you’re confident you can fry more than one at once. I think this recipe made around 10 pancakes, but of course it depends on the size of your spoon.

For added dairy you could also grate some cheese in. I thought they were pretty tasty!

Asparagus

Asparagus is good for you, comes with its own handle, is very portable and holds together well while being nommed by ferocious babies – what more could you want?

You can steam, boil or microwave it. Steaming is traditionally best – wash well and cook them until they’re nice and soft (about 5-7 minutes). You could top with cheese – parmesan goes well with asparagus.

Cheese on Crumpets

Crumpets are great – they’re very easy for babies to hold and suck on and bite bits off and they don’t get so squished and mashed as toast can. One crumpet is plenty and you can add it things like a slice of tomato or ham under the cheese if you like. And because you’re melting the cheese into the crumpet it doesn’t just fall out like it does if you give them a sandwich.

RECIPE

Toast crumpet. Butter. Top with slice of cheese. Pop under the grill for 2 minutes. Hey presto!

Cheesy Tomato Pasta

Pasta spirals are great – easier for little hands to hold than penne or spaghetti. I find this is a good “leftover for baby” meal – make it for mum and dad the night before and baby can have it the next day. The grated cheese will help the pasta stick together when it’s cooled, making it easier for baby to grab handfuls.

One thing to watch out for – tinned tomatoes often have salt added. Find one without that if you can, obviously. The below recipe makes enough for 1 meal for mum, dad and baby.

RECIPE

Pasta – about 230g
Tin of tomatoes
Grated cheese – about 75g

Boil pasta until cooked, heat tomatoes, mix all together with grated cheese. Ta dah!

Obviously you can make it a lot more exciting than that if you choose. You could add:

Garlic
Sauteed onions
Unsalted Anchovies (they’ll melt into the sauce)
Mozarella
Courgettes
Aubergines
Peppers
Carrots
Broccoli

I’m sure you can think of others…

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