Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Moomin's Lamb Tagine (for allergics and non-allergics)

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

There's lots to like about this recipe, not least the taste, which I'm sure is fabulous judging by the photo of Minky enjoying her lamb. However, I'm most drawn to it for the phrase 'grease of your choice', which made me splurt my tea all over my keyboard.

Fry one chopped onion in the grease of your choice (we tolerate sunflower oil).

Coat 450g of diced lamb in flour (rice flour for us), add to the onion and

Add two chopped carrots, 400g of chopped tomatoes, 200g of dried apricots
and 50g of sultanas (or raisins – what is the difference?).

Chuck in a bit of
water (200ml?) and simmer until the lamb falls apart. I left it for an hour and
a half because I fell asleep. Ahem.

Minky had this with buckwheat pasta
but feel free to choose your own carbohydrate. Couscous might be nice.

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Blackened peppers with cream cheese

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

Babybear really likes these and they are easy to make so I'm happy to oblige.

You can grill the peppers or oven-bake them but I find the easiest thing to do is stick a fork into the bit where the stem is and then lay it onto the gas ring… I mean, I'm not actually recommending that you do that as it's probably some sort of hellish fire risk so I couldn't possibly… but it's certainly what I do. Turn the pepper round when it starts to soften and bubbles of brown/black start appearing. Should smell LOVELY, by the way.

When it's done all over, stick it in a plastic bag and let the skins steam for a while. I tend to wash/rub off the burned bits under a cold running tap which has the advantage of cooling the peppers down. There was some publicity a while back about burned things having a carcinogenic effect so I am always pretty careful to scrape off any bits that are left.

Don't get me wrong, these aren't completely soft peppers, they still have a bit of bounce to them, but the gas ring thing takes about 5 minutes and really takes the edge off the raw taste which I myself amn't that fond of.

Then, you know, slice the three cheeks of the pepper and then you'll probably be left with one longer thinner bit. Oh god, you know how to cut up a pepper. I think I normally cut the bumcheeks in half (ouch!) so I end off with a good few long pieces.

Anyway, spread some Philly or cream cheese on the slices and there you have it. Babybear likes them and you can leave the pepper pieces in the fridge for a couple of days. God knows I've probably totally over-explained this 'recipe' but the point is that at least it's not more bread and cheese…it's peppers and cheese.

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Mushroom Risotto

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

It's hard to refine my mushroom risotto recipe for publication, really, as I have made it so often over the years that I just tend to fling in whatever I have in the house. Including frozen peas, which I appreciate would technically make it a pea risotto but let's not be picky.

For the three of us, but with plenty for second helpings and a bit left over for the next day to spread hot onto buttered french bread (o-ho yes…)

One medium onion

A couple of cloves of garlic

Butter and olive oil

Half a pack of Arborio or Carnaroli risotto rice, probably about 225g or so.

Home-made chicken stock, if you've got it. Roughly a litre to a litre and a half. If not, some Marigold reduced salt stuff or half of one of those no-salt Kallo cubes which I personally think taste disgusting. Or if you've got the heel of a piece of Parmesan floating around the fridge you can use that as a stock, that's what I often do, to be honest.

A good slug of white wine or Madeira (optional)

One tbsp porcini mushrooms soaked in warm water (also optional)

As many mushrooms as you can get your mitts on. I usually use at least one supermarket pack (if I haven't bought them elsewhere)  so that's probably about 250g but often I'm using up scabby old ones so loads more go in. Roughly chop into halves or quarters, so they are easier for the babies to pick up.

A good two tbsp of chopped up Parmesan cheese

Gently fry the chopped onion and garlic in a puddle of olive oil and butter. The butter is for flavour, if you leave it out you will notice I reckon. When the onion is clear, throw in the rice and keep it moving around the pan for a few minutes so it can soak up some oil. I use a wide-based pan for risotto. Put in the mushrooms, and fry them. If you think you need more oil or butter, chuck it in. If you have porcini, rinse them, drain them, shop them and fling them in as well at this stage.

Then spoon in some warmed-up chicken stock bit by bit, until it is all absorbed and the rice is sticky-slidy and cooked through and looks like little white pebbles. Well, that's what recipe books tell you to do. I tend to fling in about three-quarters of the stock or some water and a heel of cheese, along with the Parmesan, cook it for a while until the baby's portion is done. Can't really be doing with all the bit by bit business.

Then I take Babybear's out and whack up the heat, adding the rest of the liquid with the dissolved stock cube, wine, Madeira until it disappears. If this whole thing takes much longer than 20 minutes you are in trouble, as risotto should really be fast food, not taking much longer than the onions and rice to cook.

I put so much Parmesan into the rice that I don't need any more on top, just a grind or two of pepper finishes this off for me. We serve it with salad, or just by itself if we are feeling lazy. Babybear's, having cooled down, can be eaten from a spoon if I can be arsed loading it up, but I generally just give it to her on her tray and she grabs it with her hands, chewing the mushrooms for a while before spitting most of them out. (Honestly, though, try the bread thing the next day. Truly, Babybear thinks this is the best bit.)

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DanielMummy's Pizza Recipe

Monday, September 11th, 2006

…requires a breadmaker. Which would be fine chez nous, were it not for the fact we recently gave ours away because we just weren't using it enough. Typical.

I think the spinach and cheese topping sounds particulalry delish and may yet find myself experimenting using my old student standby – the tortilla wrap as pizza base.  That and 10p noodles kept me going through the lean years, let me tell you.

“Here's the recipe.  This makes two 11 inch pizzas, which Daniel
(9 months),  me and DH all enjoyed.  And there's nearly half left still, so
quantities could be reduced.



225 ml warm water

1 and a half tbsp oil

325g bread flour (I used white, but could
do a 50/50 white/wholemeal mix) 2 tbsp sugar 1 tsp dried yeast


Topping (pizza 1)

Half a tube of tomato puree

Lots of grated cheese (I used cheddar)

Selection of your choice vegetables (I used
2 shallots – chopped and fried, 2 cherry tomatoes – skinned and sliced,
broccoli – finely chopped, sweetcorn)


Topping (pizza 2)

A tub of cream cheese

6 cubes of frozen spinach (defrosted)

1 tsp fried shallot (taken from that
prepared for pizza 1)

A pinch of mixed spice

Small amount of grated cheese


Put water and oil in breadmaker.  Cover with the flour.  Put sugar in one corner. 
Make indentation in flour for yeast and make on dough setting. (Adapt this stage to do by hand, if you
haven't got a breadmaker). Grease two 11inch circular pizza tins and preheat
oven (220 deg for fan oven). Once dough is ready, divide in half between
the 2 tins. Press to a flat round shape to fill tin
(best to cover your hands in flour to avoid dough sticking to your fingers). Cover with oiled clingfilm for 15 mins.

Then do the toppings.

Pizza 1 – cover base with tomato puree
nearly to edge.  Then distribute the veggies over.  Finally, top with loads of grated cheese.

Pizza 2 – cover base with cream cheese
nearly to edge. Mix the spinach, shallot and spice together.  Spread the mixture over the cream
cheese. Sprinkle a little grated cheese over the

Put the pizzas in the oven for about 15
minutes until golden and sizzling (probably a little longer if not a fan
oven). Serve immediately for adults, but let it
cool a bit for babies.  And cut babies' portions into pieces about 1-2
inches.  (I didn't give Daniel any of the crust, but it would be nice and chewy
for teething).”


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JennT's Long-awaited Polenta Recipe

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Personally, the only way I enjoy polenta is with as much parmesan cheese as it can support without falling apart. It will take years of trial and error on my part to find out exactly how much that is. Be careful as it starts to boil, to give you an idea of how dangerous polenta is just imagine you are cooking with lava straight off the slopes of Mt Etna and you won't go far wrong.

Polenta with Herbs

75g (3oz)

Either 1 tsp of dried herbs, say, oregano or thyme, or a fistful of chopped fresh herbs, perhaps parsley or coriander? If using fresh rosemary or thyme, probably best to stick to the teaspoonful.

1 tbsp olive oil or

A whacking amount of parmesan cheese, freshly
grated, say about a fistful again. Or however much you like.

Cook the polenta according to packet
instructions, and stir in the butter or olive oil and then the parmesan and herbs as it starts to thicken. Pour into an oiled baking tray and leave to cool, befor cutting into wedges and grilling or frying until golden on both sides. 

Post Script
We made some polenta the other night but I didn't have any parmesan in and the kind that I bought claimed to have vegetables in it already and therefore didn't need anything extra. Wrong. It really needed cheese.

Anyway, I made it, and in it's plain boiled form it was distinctly unimpressive. Likewise when I spread it out onto an oiled tray and grilled it. However, I left it overnight and cut it up and grilled the pieces and we had some more success. It had started, by this time, to look and taste oddly and not unpleasantly like French Toast. Babybear ate a really big piece of it, as did I, but mine was smothered under a layer of salt. Next time, cheese.

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Cheesy beefburgers with harissa

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

The reason I love these is that they are easy to make with very little faff, and the flavour of the harissa is warming without being too hot, so the baby can eat them too. I don't really know where the recipe came from, we just magicked it up out of our own heads one day, so those of you who have your own tried-and-tested burger recipes just keep doing what you're doing. I don't add breadcrumbs because I can't be bothered making them, likewise egg (actually the combination of raw egg and raw meat makes me feel a bit gruey) so I leave it out and just stick with the beef.

Here goes.

A pack of good-quality lean minced beef, you know, the normal size, whatever that is. Say 500g or so? That should give you four or five good-sized burgers.

One medium onion, finely, finely, finely chopped.

One clove of garlic, but not essential.

A good hunk of cheese, roughly grated. The amount depends how cheesy you want your burgers, how strong the cheese and how much you happen to have in the fridge. I have used half a normal-sized pack in my time.

A teaspoon or so of harissa. I prefer rose harissa, as it isn't so much of a paste, so that's what I use. You can get it in delis and in the Sainsbury's fancy-pants section. It's about £3 but it lasts for ages and a spoonful of it in a bowl of yoghurt or creme fraiche is lovely as a dip for tortilla chips or whatever if people swing by unexpectedly. With regards to the burger, the kind of harissa you buy in the tube would be fine too.

A spritz of olive oil for frying.

Gently, always gently, fry the onion and garlic in oil or butter in a frying pan. When it is transparent, remove from heat and leave to cool briefly while you mix the minced meat and the cheese and harissa, before adding the onions to the mixture. Really get your hands in about it and give it a good squidge.

Then roll into balls and flatten, to whatever size of burger you fancy, and then fry them to as cooked as you wish, roughly five minutes each side (but I like 'em a bit rarer, to be honest.) The cheese keeps them together and it goes crispy and oozes out of the burger as it cooks. We tend to have them in toasted pitta breads, so we make them roughly to fit, with sweet potato chips.

Smaller ones are lovely in mini pittas, and little children love making them and eating them in my experience. I often make double the amounts so I can freeze these between layers of greaseproof paper and then just defrost what I need.

Babybear feasted on a good lump of burger this evening, hence the recipe. I gave her a couple of well-cooked fist-sized bits and she was gorgeous with them. Bit some off and then sucked and slurped at it in a most ignoble manner. When it started to break up she jammed as much as she could into her mouth, so really very little was wasted. Especially when her father scooped up any leftovers and ate them himself, the good boy.

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Beef and Beer Casserole – THE perfect BLW foodstuff

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Not kidding. It's spot-on, if you think about it. A stew of baby-fist-sized meat and chunky veggies bound together by the unifying theme of gravy but each piece utterly recognisable and distinct from the other… it's absolutely ideal. Oh, and apparently the beer is fine so long as you boil the alcohol off. Huzzah, I love winter… bring on the cold weather food I say.

500g lean stewing beef, cubed
Olive oil
Large onion
Plain flour, not much more than a heaped tablespoon is necessary
Two carrots
6 or so new potatoes
Three-quarters of a pint of beer. If the beer is dark make it half a pint.
Water for adding extra liquid
Two bayleaves or a bouquet garni
Salt and pepper

It's really the Husband who is in charge of beef casseroles in our house (I make beautiful ones myself but he showed an aptitude when we first got together and I saw no reason to discourage him). He somewhat pompously insists that the secret to a good casserole comes from drying the meat with kitchen towel before dipping it in seasoned flower. He reckons, and I am inclined to believe him, that if the meat is wet it poaches briefly on contact with the oil and isn't as nice. You might want to leave out the seasoning as it's for the baby, but I know that he puts in only a couple of turns of the salt grinder and most of it gets left behind anyway.

So he takes 500g or so of meat (we get ours from the farmer's market, it's actually from Highland cows, the hairy ones with the horns. I was horrified when I realised but they taste soooo nice). He dries it, as mentioned, dips it in a wee bowl of salt and peppered flour and then drops it into some hot oil and butter in the pan. Say four or five cubes at a time, dependant on the size of your frying pan/casserole dish. Sometimes we cook a kilo of meat up and freeze half.

Once you've finished with that, leave your browned meat in a dish to the side and crack on with your onions and whatever else you fancy. There will probably be some flour stuck to the bottom of the pan but don't worry, it will come off during the course of the cooking and 'it's all flavour', as my Grandma used to say. Chop your large-ish onion, add some more oil (and a spot of butter for flavour) keep the heat down and slowly cook your onion. We find this takes about eight to ten minutes – it's a source of some confusion to me that recipes seem to suggest that onions cook in a flash. They do if you're burning them, I suppose.

We normally just have this with mushrooms in it but in deference to Babybear's new-found ability to eat solids we put in a couple of sliced carrots and a good handful of quartered new potatoes. Fry them off gently, then slowly pour over a  bottle of  beer, something like an 80 shilling, not too dark not too light and let cook for five minutes to take off the alcohol. Add a couple of bay leaves or a bouquet garni, then return the meat to the pan cover with  lid and cook at 325F/170C/Gas Mark 3 for 1 and a half hours, checking it every so often for sticking or extra liquid. Because of the potatoes we served this just with some petits pois, which are a story in themselves. We left her bits and pieces to cool and put them on Babybear's highchair tray while we ate our meal, and she really absolutely adored it. There were some leftovers which, of course, tasted even better the following day.

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Vnmum's Chicken and Apple Sausages

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

VNmum's campaign to get us all eating our apple a day continues… they sound great. I've made kind of sausagey things before but they weren't damp enough for my liking, so maybe the apple will help…

Chicken and Apple Sausages

1 chicken breast, diced

1/2 eating apple grated

1 small onion, finely chopped

1-2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Seasoning of your choice eg Italian herbs, paprika, chinese 5 spice

plain flour

Whizz the chicken for a few seconds in a food processor then add the
rest of ingredients, except flour, and whizz together for few seconds. If the mixture seems quite sloppy just add more breadcrumb until it
sticks together better.

Take a handful and shape into whatever size sausage shape you want,
this again will make however many sausages you want depending on size.

Roll all the sausages in the flour to seal and fry in vegetable oil.

Can be frozen.

I found that if the mix was slightly wet, they held together for
cooking and then fell apart nicely as DS was chewing. as he gets more
teeth I will probably make them drier as it will be easier for him to

Both this and the pork buger recipe can be tweaked to your liking with consistency and seasoning, they went down a treat with ds, served with homemade oven chips and salad.

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Vnmum's Pork and Apple Burgers

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

These sound rather delicious, I must say, and I am very interested in the substitution of olive oil for egg. Does that mean that you use an 'egg-sized' amount of oil or is it just a slug, vnmum?

My poor friend's wee boy who is, I think, about 7 months or so was just rushed to hospital after discovering he had an egg allergy, so I'm sure she'd be interested in any egg allergic substitutions. I am too, by the way, as I have decided to hold off on giving Babybear some French toast (ooooh, I've been dreaming of French toast…) for a good while now after hearing my chum's horror story.

Pork and Apple burgers

250g pork mince

1/2 eating apple, finely chopped or grated

1 small onion, finely chopped

5 – 6 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

1 – 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

italian herbs to season

One egg ( I use olive oil instead as DS is egg allergic)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, until mixture is sticking together nicely.

Make however many burgers you want depending on the size you want them.

Grill or fry

I dont see any reason why these cant be frozen either raw (as long as mince was fresh not frozen) or cooked.

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Breaded Chicken

Monday, August 21st, 2006

We were in Edinburgh the other day enjoying some culcha (actually The Jim Henson Muppet Show which I may have enjoyed more than Babybear) and when we went to buy lunch I noticed that the Italian deli place had some breaded chicken pieces ready to put into sandwiches.

I hardly need point out that despite doing this baby led weaning business with a pure heart and therefore knowing that I could just buy something to eat when we got there, I had packed enough provisions to sustain Babybear through a journey to the North Pole.

Nevertheless, I just had a sneaking feeling that besides all her porridge pancakes, bread sticks, peaches, banana and cheese, she might enjoy a spot of fried chicken in breadcrumb. I mean, what's not to like?

So I get home, tell The Husband and his beady wee eyes light up… we're going to get to eat fried chicken? He's liking baby led weaning more and more…

So here is my version, which I made and froze yesterday and ate tonight with great success.

Find some manky old bread and whizz it to make breadcrumbs. We had the ends of an old multigrain, which contains all sorts of seeds and therefore plays fast and loose with potential allergens but it was all I had and I was in the mood for experimentation. Fling in a couple of cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika (fast becoming my flavour enhancer of choice now that salt is off the menu) and whizz some more.

Slice up some chicken breast pieces to a goujon-ish size (or finger/chip-sized if you will) and dip them in the breadcrumbs. I thought that I might need some egg to make it stick but it was fine.

I layered them in a tupperware between greaseproof paper and stuck them in the freezer because I didn't want to eat them immediately and I knew that my chicken pieces were fresh and tonight I heated the oven up to 180 degrees, oiled a baking tray with my trusty oil squisher then put them in for about 25-30 minutes (after another wee squish on top with the oil.)

Serve with loads of lemon juice on top and some peas and sweet potato chips and you are laughing (particularly at the baby, who still doesn't have much of a pincer grip and spent much of the time chasing petits pois round her highchair tray.)

If anything, they were probably a bit overcooked by the time they came out but I was feeling a bit paranoid about that woman sallymonella at the time, so if you are doing this recipe I'd check to see if they are piping hot in the middle by eating one at about 20 minutes in.

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