Babies (and grown-ups) will love these three internationally influenced recipes taken from nifty new cookbook, Young Gums
Words Katy Gillet Recipes Beth Bentley Photography Haarala Hamilton
As far as cookbooks for growing families go, Young Gums has reliable credentials. It’s written by mama Beth Bentley, previously a brand strategist for global food and wellness brands and a strategist on early childhood health and wellbeing policies at the Department of Children, Families and Young People. Now she’s training as a nutritionist – and also happens to come from a long line of midwives. So if you want access to 60 easy baby-led and spoon-fed weaning recipes that are simple, nutritious and varied, you know where to turn. Here, Beth shares great options for breakfast, dinner and dessert.
Serves: 2 adults + 1 little one
• 1 onion, finely diced
• 1 pepper, finely diced
• splash of olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 × 400ml can of plum tomatoes
• ¼ tsp ground cumin
• 3 eggs
• large handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
In your pan, soften the onion and pepper in a glug of olive oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes over a medium heat, stirring often.
When the vegetables are softened but not yet brown, squish/grate in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir to combine, bashing up the tomatoes with your spoon as you warm the mixture through.
When things are looking well combined and sauce-like, create a dent in the sauce with the back of your spoon and crack the eggs in. Leave the pan on a very low heat for 4-5 mins (without stirring) while the eggs poach in the sauce.
When the eggs are thoroughly cooked (the yolk should be set, not liquid), use a large spoon to carefully lift or slide the eggs and sauce into your bowls. Scatter with coriander and allow the little one’s food to cool to a safe temperature. Depending on the teeth situ, serve shakshuka straight-up or fork-mash together.
Baby Green Curry
Serves: 2 adults + 2 little ones
Green Curry Paste:
• 2-3cm peeled fresh ginger
• 1 garlic clove, peeled
• ½ red onion, roughly diced
• hand-sized bunch of coriander (stalks and leaves)
• 1 tsp low/no-salt Thai fish sauce (a potent reduction of anchovies, rich in the rare-ish savoury flavour umami)
• 4 tbsp water
• 1 tsp coconut oil
• 1 butternut squash, diced
• 1 × 400g can chickpeas, rinsed • ½ of a 400ml can coconut milk (200ml)
• 1 mugful of cold water + 1 tsp salt-free vegetable bouillon/stock or 1 mugful of baby-friendly bone broth (see p.119 in the book)
Put all the green curry paste ingredients into a blender and whizz smooth.
Warm the coconut oil in a medium-sized saucepan and pour the paste in.
Heat gently for 2 minutes, then add the butternut squash and chickpeas.
Stir to coat everything in curry paste, then add the coconut milk and stock/broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 12-14 minutes, lid on.
Next, the secret weapon: a potato masher. Softly mash the mixture to break down the squash and chickpeas, achieving a creamy-textured curry that you won’t need to put through the blender for your baby.
Serve family-style over rice. Grown-ups can top theirs with sliced fresh chilli, lime and soy sauce. Wear bibs… everyone!
Serves: 2 adults + 2 little ones
• 2 teacups of plain thick Greek yoghurt
• ½ banana
• large handful of chopped soft fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
Put the yoghurt and banana into your blender and whizz until smooth. Spread into a shallow dish (I use a deep rectangular baking tray to achieve 1cm thickness) that you’ve lined with clingfilm, and scatter your berries evenly over the top, pressing some in and leaving others on the surface.
Freeze for 2 hours, then use the clingfilm to lift the bark from the dish and break it up into shards as big or small as you like.
Spare pieces will keep in the freezer for a month.
If you’re concerned about the berry pieces, just whizz the berries into the yoghurt-banana mix to create smooth bark that has the same nutritional goodness.