Monday, 28 February 2011

More than Mashed Banana - Baby Cuisine

As I'm posting this, I have a feeling it's appeal will be extremely limited to the handful of folk that normally keep an eye on this blog. Sorry peeps! It's an entirely selfish post, to enable me to record and remember the successful varieties and recipes of food I've been making for Mini-M. It's unlikely to inspire you to rush out and make it (unless you have a weird penchant for puree - or indeed a small baby), but bear with me - normal cakey/crafty service will be resumed in the next post - promise!

So, Mini-M is still very much non-dairy, which means that a lot of the exciting jars of baby food are off the menu. Apart from the fact that they are pretty expensive, there's only so much carrot and potato puree a girl can handle. And since we get our veg from a box scheme, we never know what we're going to get, so can't easily follow any of the published baby weaning food programmes (that and the fact that Ms Karmel truly terrifies me!!!).

I realised that I had built up a fairly weird and wonderful selection in the freezer, and couldn't resist the photo-op. Coupled with the fact that Mini-M seems happy to wolf them down with relish, I decided it was time to blog. So here goes...


Clockwise from top left:

Cherry Banana & Almond (makes 7 baby sized portions)
Wash and pit about 150g (a couple of handfuls) of cherries. Put into a small sauce pan with 2 tbsp ground almonds and about 100ml water. Simmer until the cherries are soft and take off the heat. Slice in 2 small bananas and then blend until smooth.

Carrot Apricot & Cinnamon (makes 7 baby sized portions)
Peel and dice 2 medium carrots. Chop up 6 dried apricots. Put carrots and apricots in a small sauce pan with 1/2 a tsp of cinnamon, and enough water to cover. Simmer until the carrot is soft, topping up with water as required. Take off the heat, allow to cool slightly, and then blend until the desired consistency is reached - I left this one quite lumpy as an experiment - Mini M still ate it.

Peach & Coconut (Makes 6 baby sized portions)
Drain 1 medium tin of peach slices in juice (not syrup). Add 2 tbsp of tinned coconut milk. Blend until smooth. This makes quite a runny puree, which I generally mix with some rice or porridge before feeding.

Apple & Pineapple (Makes 6 baby sized portions)
Peel, core and chop 2 eating apples and put in a small pan. Add 3 pineapple rings from a tin (again, in juice, not syrup). Add about 50ml water and simmer until the apple is soft, topping up with more water if necessary. Blend until smooth once cooled.

Parsnip Apple & Coconut (the white one just poking into the picture at the bottom) (makes 7 baby sized servings)
Peel and dice one large(ish) parsnip, or two small ones and put in a small sauce pan. Peel core and chop one large eating apple, and add to the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened dessicated coconut, and about 150ml water. Simmer until the parsnip and apple are soft, topping up with more water if required. Blend once cooled. The dessicated coconut will not blend away, but gives it some texture, which is good for introducing lumpier foods.

Spiced Celery & Potato (a tiny edge of this one is just visible in the bottom left corner) (makes 7 baby sized servings)
Finely chop 1 very small onion, or half of a larger one. Finely chop 1 big celery stick, or 2 smaller ones. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small sauce pan, and sautee the onion and celery for a few minutes. Once they are soft, add a pinch of ground turmeric, a pinch of ground ginger, and a pinch of ground cumin and cook for a few minutes more. Peel and chop 1 large potato. Add to the pan, then cover with water. Crumble in a small piece of a baby-friendly stock cube (i.e. without salt or msg). Simmer until the potato is soft, topping up with water if need be. Mix in 1 tsp of chopped parsley. Allow to cool, and blend. I wasn't sure how well this would go down, as it had considerably more complex flavours and spices than Mini-M had previously had, but she seemed to really enjoy it.


Sweetcorn & Spinach (Makes 6 baby sized servings)
Finely chop 1 very small onion or half of a larger one. Sautee in 1 tsp oil until soft. Peel and chop 1 medium potato. Add to the pan and cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Add 2 tbsp sweetcorn kernels - either fresh or tinned (but in spring water, not salted water). Chop 1 very big handful of spinach and add to the pan. Add half a baby-friendly stock cube, and simmer until the potato is soft. Blend once cool enough. I added too much water, when I made it, which didn't evaporate off enough, so this was quite runny - so I just mix it with some rice flakes before serving.

Pear & Fig (Makes 5 baby sized servings)
Peel and chop 1 large pear, and put in a small pan with about 50ml water. Add 4 chopped dried figs and simmer until the figs are soft and the pear starts to break down. Blend briefly. This makes quite a runny puree, which is even runnier after freezing and defrosting, so I mix it with porridge before serving.

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