Spiced Apple and Pear Compote

Delicious yoghurt topping

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Coco and Lentil are big yoghurt fans and little tubs of raspberry, strawberry, apricot or peach flavoured yoghurt are a regular after supper dessert.  Generally, Lentil chooses one first and little Coco gets whichever flavour he discards.  I allow Lentil this little concession as I suspect it will quickly come to an end once Coco starts talking!

I like to add a bit of texture and additional flavour to their yoghurts and this little compote is a quick and tasty topping.  It helps with satisfying your little charges’ 5 or 3 (depending on which school of thought you subscribe to!) a day; can be pureed for babies; and is suitable for freezing. It also makes a good combo with creme fraiche, or adds a little healthiness to an ice-cream treat!

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Makes 4 portions.

The what:

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into kiddie bite-sized chunks

2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped into kiddie bite-sized chunks

a handful of raisins or other dried fruit

1/4 tsp of mixed spice

60ml water

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The how:

Put all the ingredients into a pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The compote is ready once the apple and pear are soft but not mushy.  If the compote starts to stick to the bottom of the pan add a little more water.

Then it’s ready to serve: on its own, with yoghurt, creme fraiche or ice-cream!  It is also delicious with porridge or muesli…..endless possibilities!

Enjoy!

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Apple, Date and Raisin Compote

A versatile fruity compote – equally delicious served warm or cold

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This quick and tasty little compote is great for jazzing up yoghurts, adding to porridge or muesli, or simply on its own.  It’s also makes a delicious fruity weaning puree if you give it a few pulses with the blender.  Run out of chutney for the cheese board?  It’s a complementary substitute for that too.  I usually make extra and pop little tubs of it in the freezer. You gotta love such simple, versatile food!

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Spinach and butter bean burgers

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It is thanks to Lorraine Pascal that we first ate homemade veggie burgers in our house. Her Spicy been burgers are full of flavour and really quite substantial: “meaty” springs to mind, although obviously they are entirely meat-free!  We try to have a couple of meat-free days a week and as Lorraine’s burgers are a tried and tested formula we make them quite regularly.  To mix things up a little I decided, last week, to try out a few combinations of my own. I was really chuffed that my first creation was an instant success: we all loved them, little Coco included!  I’ve decided it’s probably very difficult to go wrong with veggie burgers.  I haven’t suddenly acquired that illusive culinary goodness status, there is simply a fantastic range of fresh veg available these days, it’s hard to go wrong!

Makes 2 large and 2-3 small burgers

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The what:

160g sweetcorn (frozen, or of course fresh).  If using frozen, cook for 2-3 minutes.

60g spinach leaves

100g feta cheese

400g butter beans

3 large spring onions, chopped

a handful (ca. 1 tbsp) basil, chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

50g panko (or fresh breadcrumbs if you don’t have panko)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsp olive oil

Tip: As we were making these for Coco and her three teeth too, I blended all of the ingredients in blender.  It makes the burgers a little wet, so you need to fry them lightly in the pan before baking so they don’t fall apart.  But for more texture mash the butter beans and mix in the beans, feta and the sweetcorn after you have blended the other ingredients.

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The how:

In a food processor combine the basil, coriander, parsley and spinach and garlic.  Next add the butter beans, spring onions, sweetcorn and pulse a little further.  Finally add the feta, egg and panko and blend to combine.  Season with a little pepper.

For more texture (see tip above) just blend the basil, coriander, parsley, spinach and garlic. Mash the butter beans and add along with the sweetcorn, spring onions, feta, panko and mix well.  Beat the egg, pour into the mixture and stir well to combine.  Season with pepper.

Shape the mixture into the burgers.

Either grill the burgers on each side until lightly browning and cooked through or fry on each side in a little olive oil. Serve with some cream fraiche and a salad.

Enjoy!

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Chicken and sweet potato in tomato sauce

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Little Coco got her first tooth recently:  a central incisor.  Judging by growing sparkle when she smiles it looks like this little tooth will shortly be joined by another two.  In the meantime we still need to blend certain foods for her (can’t wait be rid of the blender!), although I am gradually introducing more texture. It’s amazing how strong and sharp baby gums can be!

If you chop the vegetables finely, you won’t need to blend this dish much, if at all.  The sweet potato can be mashed and the chicken shredded with a knife and fork once cooked.

Makes 6 portions

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The what:

250g sweet potato, peeled and chopped

150g carrots, peeled and finely chopped

150g chicken fillets, diced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

200g plum tomatoes in natural juice

5 basil leaves, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely sliced

1/4 tbsp olive oil

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The how:

Place the sweet potato and carrots in a saucepan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until soft.  Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and onions for 1-2 minutes.  They should be soft but not browning.  Then add the tomatoes and cook for 8 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove the sweet potato and carrots from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the chicken to the cooking water in the saucepan and poach for 2-3 minutes.  Check the chicken is cooked through before removing from the heat.

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Mash the sweet potato and carrots and add the shredded chicken (or alternatively mix all three together and puree using a hand-held blender).  If blending, gradually add the tomato sauce – to minimise “splashage”. You may also want to wear an apron for this bit!.  Otherwise just stir the sauce into the mashed potato and chicken.  Coco loves this dish, although there isn’t much she doesn’t like!  Her tastes aren’t quite as selective or sophisticated yet…..

Happy weaning xx

 

A few of Coco’s favourites

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Now that little Coco is eating three meals a day, I thought I’d share a few of her current favourites with you: sweet potato and fish purée; lentils and apple, pear compote.  We still have to purée everything, although we’ve detected a glimmer of white through her bottom gum so hopefully she’ll have a few teeth soon.  I was beginning to wonder if she had any in there at all!

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Coco’s weaning diary – the next chapter

 Week 4:

Tuesday.

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More new food stuff??  Just when I thought I’d tried almost everything. I’ve eaten a lot of different fruits and vegetables, which Mummy has cooked for me over the last few weeks.  This new stuff is really yellow and quite small like those tiny pea things Mummy likes to put in everything!

Mummy calls the yellow peas “sweetcorn”.  She mixes it with some sweet potato.   “AAAGGHHH..MAAAA…GURGLE, GURGLE”. Mmm, this isn’t bad at all.  Continue reading

Coco’s weaning diary – week 3

Day 15:

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Mmmm, I’m eating some more of that lovely “but..er..nut…quash” stuff today. Papa mixes it with some peas, which I also like.

Day 16:

After some peas and potato for lunch Mummy gives me some sweet-tasting red stuff for “pudding”. Mummy says pudding is usually a sweet dessert course after lunch.  Another course??

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Mummy calls the red stuff plum and says it’s very tasty. The first spoonful is bitter and makes me shudder.  This makes Mummy smile, but then she adds a little apple to the plum stuff, which makes it much tastier.  I feel full afterwards. When Mummy lifts me up from my chair my tummy is big and round!

Day 18: 

DSC_0993aMummy, Mummy, hurry up! That thing on our kitchen wall is “tick-tocking”. That means I’m hungry!

Uh-oh, this looks VERY green!  It looks a bit like that stuff that the cows in my storybook eat. Mummy calls it spinach.  I tentatively like a tiny bit off the spoon. It’s warm and a little floury.  I think I taste some of that nice white potato stuff. I’ll have some more of this please Mummy.  I open my mouth as wide as I can.

Day 20:

Ooh, this looks promising.  I think Mummy has some yummy sweet potato for me again today. I kick my legs with excitement!  Quick, quick Mummy. Mummy sits down opposite me.  She has a spoon which she lowers into my bowl to shovel up some scrumptious food.

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Oh no, what’s that on top of my sweet potato?  Something green again! Why is there so much green food this week? I really want the sweet potato, but how do I get it out from under the green stuff?  I don’t think I can – it all goes into my mouth.  Luckily I can really only taste the yummy sweet potato.  “Asparagus”?  Is that what you said Mummy?  The green stuff is called Asparagus.  That’s a difficult word.  Maybe I should only eat things that are easy to remember, what do you think Mummy?

Day 21:

Untitled design (2)Today everything is green: literally everything! There are pictures of funny green flowers on Mummy’s iPad and phone. Mummy says they are called Shamrocks.  She says they are to celebrate Ireland’s special day: St Patrick’s Day. I think I’ve heard of Ireland before….but I’m not sure. Is it one of those food stuffs Mummy keeps giving me? No, mummy says it’s a county across the pond.

Mummy gives me something that looks like a Shamrock for lunch. Mummy says the green stuff is called courgette.

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It doesn’t look very tasty. Maybe if I turn my head away and don’t look at the green stuff, it will taste OK.  Whenever I turn my head Mummy does some strange flying arm movements with the spoon. She seems to find it difficult to put the spoon in my mouth. It’s quite funny so I laugh and before I realise it I’ve opened my mouth and the food is in.  It isn’t nearly as bad as the orange carrot stuff so I gobble down the rest of the bowl.

Mummy’s edit 

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Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and I guess I am hoping my daughter shares my enthusiasm for this perennial plant.  However, I discovered that you really do have to love asparagus to make an asparagus purée.  The blender alone is no match for it.  Having blended it for some time, I had to call on Mr Mummyummygoodness for help. There were still too many chunky bits in it for little Trouble.  The pestle and mortar eventually did the trick, but it is a lot of labour for very little produce!

When I made the spinach and potato purée, I was a little eager (or just completely sleep deprived) and threw all the spinach into the potato at once.  The result was a very, very green purée, which I doubted my daughter would find appetising.  Oh well, it was too late.  I’d used all the potatoes.  To my surprise, it really didn’t taste bad at all and Coco wolfed it down.  The green colour simple masked the amount of potato that was actually in the purée.

We’re on to 3 meals next week.  Aggghh, how will I keep up?  And she’s still waking up at least twice a night for a milk feed!

What mummy made:

Plum purée – makes 3 portions

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Bring some water to the boil in a large sauce pan.  Place 3 plums in the boiling water until the skin starts to split (about 3 minutes).  Remove the plums with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water.  This should make the skin easy to remove.  Cut the plums in half to remove the stone and then chop and blitz with a hand-held blender.

Add some baby rice for a thicker consistency or mix the plum purée with another fruit purée, such as apple.

Spinach and potato purée – makes 5 portions

Peal and chop 3 medium-sized potatoes.  Place in a saucepan of boiling water, bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes (or until soft).  Wash 100g of fresh spinach and remove any woody stalks.  Place the spinach in a microwaveable steamer and steam in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Alternatively steam over a saucepan of boiling water.

Once the potatoes are soft, drain off the water, add a knob of unsalted butter and some of your baby’s normal milk and mix.  Mash the potato using a potato ricer or a masher.  Add more milk if needed to achieve a really smooth consistency.

Once the spinach is done, squeeze it using a fork to remove any excess water.  Add to the potato and mix well.

Asparagus purée – makes 2 portions

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Steam 85g of asparagus, woody ends removed.  Puree using a hand-held blender and then break down any remaining lumps using a pestle and mortar.  This is best mixed with another purée such as potato or sweet potato.

Courgette purée – makes 6 portions

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Slice 260g of courgette and place in a microwaveable steamer.  Steam for 5 minutes.  Remove and purée using a hand-held blender.

Happy weaning!!

Coco’s weaning diary – week 2

Day 8:

DSC_0870aI feel all at sea. Being six months old is really, really hard! So many new things to learn and remember: I don’t think Mummy and Papa realise how confusing it can be. Having turned my world upside down last week with this new “food” stuff Mummy decides to give me even more food this week – twice a day! And the food stuff keeps changing. Just as I get used to the sweet potato stuff, she gives me something else.

Today Mummy gives me something she calls “papaya”. She says it’s a lovely fruit from the Carica tropical fruit tree.  I wonder if that’s one of the trees in our garden that Papa likes to show me with the birds on it that say “tweet, tweet”?? I’m not so sure about eating things from trees though….

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I try the papaya.  Uhmm….no, I’m not liking this.  Mummy says it’s bath time next. I love bath time. I kick my legs a lot and water splashes everywhere, sometimes even in my brother’s face, which is funny…hehe.  I really want to have a bath so I eat another few spoonfuls of papaya.

Day 9:

DSC_0817aMummy sometimes calls me a little princess and once, at bedtime, told me a story about a princess and a pea.  At lunchtime today Mummy tries to feed me peas.  I don’t recall the princess in the story having to eat the pea and I’m not sure about this: the peas are very green.  Mummy mixes the peas with some potato.  It’s white, not like the orange “sweet potato” I like. It doesn’t taste too bad though and I my tummy feels a bit empty so I eat one whole portion of the peas AND a portion of potato.  Mummy is very pleased.

Day 10:

DSC_0847aI don’t think this eating business is going to stop.  Mummy just keeps giving me more food and now I have to eat everyday as well as drink milk and sleep.  So many things to do and remember!

Today Papa gives me some food.  It looks like that “apple” stuff, but with something else yellow on top.  Papa calls the yellow stuff “mango”.  The apple still makes me blink a lot and the apple and mango are a bit cold (not like the warm pea and potato).  I spit some out and try to tell him I prefer warm food, but he doesn’t seem to understand and puts more apple and mango into my mouth. Why are these parent people so silly sometimes?

Day 12:

Maybe Papa did understand me when I said I prefer warm food as yesterday he gave me some warm sweet potato for lunch – yummy! I ate two portions so he would know I really like it.  He was very happy.  I really wish he would tell mummy I like sweet potato.  Today before bath time Mummy tries to give me some more carrot stuff mixed with PEAS!  Yuck! The pea with the white potato was OK, but this is disgusting.  What is Mummy thinking?  I spit out the first few spoonfuls, but Mummy tries to give me more so I stuff my whole fist in my mouth so she can’t put in anymore.

Day 13:

Oh no, is that more carrot Mummy has in the bowl?  It’s orange like carrot, but Mummy says it’s “butternut squash”.  That’s a really long name, I don’t think I can remember that.  I’ll try a little but if it tastes anything like carrot, I’m stuffing my fist back in my mouth!

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Ooh, it’s quite nice.  I think I like it more than that other orange sweet potato stuff.  It’s nice and sweet tasting.  I think I’ll eat all of this…quickly before bath time.

Mummy’s edit 

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Following a shaky start last week, little Coco seems to have taken to her food a bit better this week.  Having started with one meal a day, for weeks 2-4, I am giving her two meals: one at lunchtime and the other at tea time, both followed by milk.

Coco is doing quite well with the vegetables, particularly the root vegetables, but is not yet a fan of fruit.  One would expect the opposite! It’s just a case of persevering, discovering what foods and tastes she likes and what she doesn’t like.  I have started to introduce a couple of tastes together in one meal such as the potato and pea and apple and mango. Over the next few weeks I’ll introduce more new foods and continue to give her those she likes, such as butternut squash, sweet potato and potato and pea.

I might dispense with the carrot for a while….she really seems to dislike it, which makes the clean up operation a nightmare!  Coco may come to like it or it maybe her one food hate, like celery is to me!

What mummy made:

Papaya purée – makes 3 portions

Peal a papaya, slice in half and remove all the seeds. Chop up and blend using a hand-held blender.  Papayas are quite juicy so add 2 tbsp of baby rice to the purée to thicken it up.

Pea purée – makes 3 portions

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Add 200g frozen peas to boiling water and bring back to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Drain the peas and add 1-2 tbsp of your baby’s milk. Blend using a hand-held blender, adding more of your baby’s milk, if needed, to achieve the right consistency for your baby.

Potato purée – makes 8 portions

Peal and half 3 medium-sized potatoes.  Add to a pot of boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes until a knife cuts easily into the potatoes.  Add a knob of unsalted butter and 4 tbsp of your baby’s milk.  Mix together well and pass through a potato ricer, to give a really smooth mash.  If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can mash with a standard masher instead – it’s just takes a little muscle to achieve a smooth purée!

Mango purée – makes 3 portions

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Cut a mango on either side of the central stone and discard the stone leaving you with two halves.  Cut through the flesh (but not the skin) of each half vertically and then horizontally.  Then invert each mango half into a hedgehog so you can easily cut out the cubed flesh.  Blend with a hand-held blender.  If needed, you can use a pestle to grind any remaining lumps.

Butternut squash purée – 1/2 half makes 5 portions

Pre-heat the oven to 200 (180 fan). Slice a butternut squash in half and remove the seeds.  Place the butternut squash flesh side up on a baking tray.  Melt a knob of unsalted butter in a pan or in a microwaveable dish in the microwave and brush over the fleshy side of the butternut squash, including the cavity.  Cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and scoop out the flesh.  Blend with a hand-held blender, adding some of your baby’s milk, if needed, to achieve a smooth purée. If you only use half the butternut squash for the purée, why not use the other half to make some of my “Wise Owl Risotto” http://bit.ly/1AdFBgi

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Tip: You can freeze the purées in ice-cube trays and cover with a freezer bag. Just pop a cube out as and when you need it. As your little ones get used to solids, you can increase the number of cubes you give them. Alternatively you can use little freezer-proof pots and label each with the date and contents.

Happy weaning!!

Coco’s weaning diary – week 1

Day 1:

DSC_0697bMy mummy, papa and brother all put weird colourful things into their mouths when we sit down at the long wooden thing in our kitchen.  I just have milk – I love my milk.  Today mummy tries to put some very strange orange stuff in my mouth using a blue and pink thing, which she calls a spoon.  Mummy says the orange stuff is “baby carrot”. I really don’t like it and screw up my face in disgust.  Mummy says I should try a little more and before I can wobble my lower lip and threaten tears, she puts another spoonful into my mouth. I try to swallow it but it makes me gag and then it all comes back out again.  Ha! Mummy won’t try that again!

Day 2:

DSC_0726bOh no, mummy is insisting on putting weird stuff in my mouth again! Despite my obvious disapproval, there is more orange stuff today.  It tastes different to the “carrot” stuff, but is still yucky.  Mummy calls this new orange stuff “sweet potato”. She says Lentil liked the orange stuff when he was a baby. Well…mummy should know by now that I have my own mind, even though I’m only very small.  She also says that this stuff she calls “solids” or “food” will help me sleep better. I really don’t mind waking up at night for milk and I always smile at mummy when I do. So why all the fuss about this food business??

This new orange stuff also makes me gag and this time I not only wobble my lower lip, I cry very loudly with proper big tears.  It works, mummy gives me some milk!

Day 3:

DSC_0687bEven after all the tears yesterday, Mummy tries to give me carrot again today. Although it doesn’t make me gag as much as the first day, I still don’t like it.  I just want my milk.  I spit most of it out, knock over the little tub and throw the spoon thing on the floor.  I get it all over my face and hands and make as much mess as possible.  Mummy doesn’t seem to mind the mess: she has covered me in a big plastic thing with birds and flowers on it, which she calls a “bib”.  She even gives me an encouraging smile to get my hands stuck in! What do I have to do to get her to stop giving me this orange stuff??

Day 4:

OK, message received: no sign of any orange stuff today!  Oh no, what’s that? Some weird white and green stuff.  It is a little sour tasting and makes me blink and shake my head. Mummy says it is called “apple”.  I haven’t had any milk for lunch yet and am quite peckish so maybe I should try a little. Some of it falls back out landing on the “bib” thing, but Mummy says I have done very well.  I’m not sure if that is good: does it mean I have to have more??

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Day 5: 

It seems it does mean I’ve to have more! New green stuff today.  Mummy calls it pear. It looks just like “apple” to me.  It tastes OK and I eat a little, but I still prefer my milk.

Day 6:

Uh-oh, it’s the orange stuff again today.  I don’t think mummy is going to give up.  I try a little to humour her.  It actually isn’t that bad.  It tastes sweeter than last time, more like my milk.  Maybe this food stuff isn’t so bad afterall and I still get to have my milk afterwards.  I do hate it when mummy is right though….

Mummy’s edit 

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“Every child is different”.  This certainly rings true when it comes to weaning.  I started Lentil on carrot puree and although he turned his nose up at it a little on day one, he has devoured almost everything I’ve put in front of him since! Coco, on the other hand, is taking her time to adjust to solids.  I panicked a little on day three and wasn’t sure she was swallowing anything; her bib was covered in orange puree!  However, it is a big developmental leap so one can understand why their little bodies and minds need time to adjust.  You just have to stick with it and introduce a variety of tastes.

I also learnt that my little daughter seems to have inherited her Papa’s sweet tooth (not that she actually has any teeth yet)!  Once I started adding a little milk (you can use breast milk or formula) to the purees, she gobbled them back.  If you’ve ever tasted breast milk (I have thanks to airport security), you’ll know just how sweet it is – I was really shocked! Anyway, it seems to do the trick so I’m sticking with it for the moment…..

What mummy made:

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Carrot purée – makes 3 portions

Peal and slice 4 sweet baby carrots and steam over a pan of boiling water for 15-20 minutes until soft. If you have a microwaveable steamer, steam for about 4-5 minutes.  These really are fantastic and not expensive at all.  Add a knob of unsalted butter to the hot carrots and purée with a hand-held blender.  Add a little of your little darling’s normal milk, if needed, to achieve a really smooth puree (or to satisfy that little sweet tooth!).

Sweet potato – makes 6 portions

Peel and chop one large sweet potato. Steam in a microwaveable steamer for 6-8 minutes until soft.  Alternatively, place in boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until soft. Add some unsalted butter to the hot potato along with 1-2 tbsp of your baby’s milk or some of the water from the steamer / pot.  Mash with a potato masher or purée with a hand-held blender.

Apple purée – 3 portions

Peal, core and chop a Bramley or other dessert apple.  Cook on medium heat in a pan with 2 tbsp of water for about 8-10 minutes.  Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.  Once soft, puree with a hand-held blender.

Pear & cinnamon purée – 4 portions

Peal, core and slice 2 conference pears.  Place in a pan with 2 tbsp of water and 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon.  Cook on medium heat for about 6-10 minutes  (depending on the ripeness of the pears) until soft.

Tip: You can freeze the puree in ice-cube trays and cover with a freezer bag. Just pop a cube out as and when you need it. As your little ones get used to solids, you can increase the number of cubes you give them. Alternatively you can use little freezer-proof pots and label each with the date and contents.

Happy weaning!!