Annabel Karmel shares a few of her favourite recipes from her new book Baby-Led Weaning
Words Holly Kirkwood
She’s the lady every new mum turns to when it comes to getting your little ones onto solids. Over the past 25 years, Annabel has fine-tuned her expertise and firmly established herself as the leading light when it comes to making healthy food tempting for children.
Traditionally known for her puree recipes, her latest book provides a refreshingly relaxed approach to Baby-Led Weaning. Annabel says you don’t have to choose between BLW and purees – you can combine the two easily. Here she shares few of her favourite new recipes with Mama. Simple and delicious, they’re a great way to introduce a range of flavours and textures early on.
Sweetcorn fritters weaning recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Makes: 20 small fritters
** 198g / 7oz tin sweetcorn, drained
** 100g / 4oz wholemeal flour
** 1 teaspoon baking powder
** 2 large eggs
** 3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
** 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
** handful of basil, chopped
** 10 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
** 100g /4oz grated halloumi cheese
** sunflower oil for frying
1. Blend 100 g/4 oz of the sweetcorn in the bowl of a food processor, or in a mixing bowl with a stick blender, until finely chopped.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder and eggs in a bowl. Whisk in the sweet chilli sauce and finely chopped sweetcorn. Add the remaining ingredients including the remaining whole, unblended sweetcorn kernels. Season to taste (if using).
3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. When hot, fry heaped tablespoonfuls of the fritter mixture for 1–2 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Transfer to kitchen paper.
Colourful Quinoa salad weaning recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes (excluding chill time)
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 6 child portions
** 250g /9oz cooked red and white quinoa (or 150 g/5 oz dried quinoa)
**198g / 7oz tin sweetcorn, drained
** ½ sweet red pepper, deseeded and diced
** 4 spring onions, finely sliced
** 4 tablespoons chopped cashew nuts (optional)
** 30g / 1oz sultanas or raisins
** freshly chopped parsley, to garnish
** 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
** ½ garlic clove, crushed
** a pinch of sugar
** 6 tablespoons light olive oil
1. If using dried quinoa, rinse it in a sieve under cold running water before following the instructions on the packet. Once it is cooked and all the water has been absorbed, remove from the heat and leave uncovered for about 5 minutes, then fluff up the quinoa with a fork.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the quinoa and season with salt and pepper (if using).
3. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl, pour it over the salad and mix to combine.
4. Chill for 30 minutes then garnish with parsley to serve.
Amazing veggie balls weaning recipe
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 15 veggie balls
** 1 large white potato (about 440 g/15 oz)
**40g / 1½oz dried or Panko breadcrumbs
** 50g / 2oz carrot, grated
** 4 spring onions, chopped
** 50g / 2oz brown mushrooms, chopped
** 40g / 1½oz grated Parmesan cheese
**1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
** 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
** 2 teaspoons soy sauce
** 1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
** 1–2 tablespoons plain flour
** 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1. Prick the potato and bake it in the microwave for 7–10 minutes until soft. Leave to cool, then cut it in half and scoop out the flesh – you will need 250 g/9 oz potato.
2. Put the cool potato and remaining ingredients (except the flour and the oil) in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper (if using) and shape it into 15 equal-sized balls.
3. Place the flour in a bowl and lightly coat the balls in flour. Transfer them to plate and chill for 15 minutes.
4. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry the balls for about 2 minutes until golden all over and heated through. Serve with cucumber sticks and halved cherry tomatoes, or a mayonnaise dip with sweet chilli sauce.
Little Chicken and Leek pies weaning recipe
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Makes: 4 child portions
Suitable for freezing
** 225 g/8 oz potatoes, peeled and diced
** 225 g/8 oz carrots, peeled and diced
** 20 g/¾ oz butter
** 2 small leeks, trimmed and roughly chopped
** 185 g/6 oz cooked chicken meat, cubed (or 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 cm/¾ in cubes)
** 3 mushrooms, thinly sliced
** 2 tablespoons plain flour
** 200 ml/7 fl oz whole milk
** 50 g/2 oz grated Cheddar cheese
** 25 g/1 oz tinned drained sweetcorn
** A little salt and pepper (for babies over 12 months old)
1. Put the potatoes and carrots in a saucepan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10–12 minutes until soft. Drain, then mash until smooth.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 minutes, until just soft, then add the chicken and fry for 2 minutes. Next, add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the plain flour, stir for 1 minute, then gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. While it’s simmering, preheat the grill.
3. Add three-quarters of the grated cheese to the sauce, season with salt and pepper (if using) and add the sweetcorn. Divide the mixture between 4 ramekins.
4. Spoon the potato and carrot mash on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
5. Place under the grill for 4–5 minutes, until lightly golden on top and bubbling
Strawberry and rhubarb crumble weaning recipe
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Makes: 6 child portions
25 g/1 oz ground almonds
400 g/14 oz trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1.5 cm/¾ in lengths
100 g/4 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
4 tablespoons caster sugar
150 g/5 oz plain flour
A generous pinch of fine salt
100 g/4 oz cold butter, cubed
75 g/3 oz demerara sugar
50 g/2 oz ground almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
2. To make the topping, mix the flour with the salt in a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the demerara sugar and ground almonds. Alternatively, place the ingredients in a food processor and blitz briefly.
3. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the base of an ovenproof dish (about 17 cm/7 in diameter). Mix the rhubarb and strawberries with the sugar and tip them into the dish.
4. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping and sprinkle over a tablespoon of water (this will help to make the topping crispy). Bake for about 25 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Read more recipes like this at www.annabelkarmel.com
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