Here’s something a little off topic for this site, but getting prepared more often in my kitchen now than anything else; my daughter Mia’s baby food. We’ve been determined since she was born to cook all of (OK, most of) her food instead of buying it those little jars, so this is my opportunity to pass on some of what we’ve learned. Mia loves them and I’m sure your babies will too.
Most of these recipes involve pureeing, but as your little one gets older you might want to try mashing instead to start the change onto solid food.
Why not let us know about your favourites by posting them into the comments?
- Banana and oat smoothie. Simply boil 150ml or so of full fat milk with 3 tablespoons oats for 3 minutes, then throw in half a chopped up banana and blitz up with a hand blender. This is great for adults, too (idea from the River Cottage Everyday cookbook).
- Baby Barszcz (Borscht). My wife is Polish so it makes sense that Mia too should share in this great East European classic. Simply cook beetroot with potato (roughly 3/1 ratio), puree, and stir in a little yoghurt. Thin with a little boiled water if needed.
- Baby Porridge. (Note: Sticking the word “baby” in front of what is otherwise adult food seems to make it sound somehow more cute.) Mia’s dad (Me!) has Scottish blood, and so Mia gets a Scottish breakfast. 150ml full fat milk and 3 tbsp oats boiled for 3 minutes and then pureed. Yes, it’s a simple version of recipe 1 in the list above, but I don’t care – it’s delicious. Mix in any pureed fruit of your choice for a little variety.
- Guacamole. This is delicious and mild for adults so babies will love it too; skip some of the ingredients from the traditional adult version and what we’re basically doing is a puree of avocado with a touch of very finely chopped coriander / cilantro.
- Super Detox Broccoli Soup. Not that I think babies need to detox, but a baby version of my so-named soup from last year is simple and healthy. Simply simmer the broccoli florets for a couple of minutes, remove and puree, adding some of the cooking water to make a suitable consistency.
- Neeps and Tatties. Even Baby Mia didn’t miss out on Burn’s Night this year. While we enjoyed our haggis, neeps and tatties, Mia enjoyed the same – minus the haggis, of course. Simply boil 50/50 potato and swede (don’t even get me started on the difference between a swede and a turnip!) until tender, then mash as normal with a touch of butter. Mashing is a great way to make the progression from a puree to solid food.
- Rice Pudding. My confession here is that I just can’t get enough of Ambrosia Cream Rice from tins , but it is really pretty easy to make at home, too. Simply boil an equal volume of cooked rice and milk with just a dash of vanilla extract until creamy. Depending on the age of your baby you might want to puree this to make it easier for them to eat.
- Cauliflower Cheese. Simply boil some cauliflower florets until tender, then drain. Heat 50/50 flour and butter over a low heat to combine, then slowly pour in whole milk and heat for a few more minutes stirring well. Add back in your cauliflower and grate in some cheddar, then puree as required.
- Minestrone Soup. This soup is packed full of vegetables so is perfect for growing babies who need their vitamins. Sauté finely diced onion with leek, and carrots, adding peas and tomato puree before simmering in water or vegetable stock until tender. Add in spaghetti (well broken up) and continue cooking until this is ready. Finally serve either as is, mashed or pureed depending on your baby’s age.
- Risotto. A basic vegetable risotto is perfect for babies, using broccoli, pumpkin or similar; just play safe and keep the amount of salt down and you’ll be fine. As a rough guide, sweat your finely chopped veg with onion in butter, before adding your rice and stirring. Add stock a little at a time always stirring and allowing it to fully absorb. It’s also a good idea to cook it for a little longer than you might otherwise do to make it nice and soft for your little one.