Fish Pie

A real classic. This is something that’s suitable for the whole family, but I tend to make it in little ramekins for grub and freeze them. It’s such a delicious way to get fish in to your baby (as well as our salmon and kumara recipe!) and our boy gobbled this up from about 8-9 months old.

Perfect for those days where we are having something he can’t have (like a kumara and walnut salad with nuts being a choking hazard for him) or where you’ve had eggs on toast and he needs something a little more substantial!

You could add in any greens to this, some chopped spinach or some peas, I used rocket just because I had it in the fridge. But it does add a little peppery kick to this that’s not overpowering – give it a go! When it comes to potatoes, you can use just about any kind, but I’ve found that when I want to make a mash, the agria potatoes turn out to be much more smooth and creamy.

For smaller grubs, where you may want to freeze this in ice trays so you can defrost a smaller amount at a time, I would mix the mashed potato in to the fish and sauce and make it one big mash-up. Then divvy up in to your ice trays.

This’ll make enough for 6 ramekins, so just double or triple it if you want a big family meal and bake in a large oven-proof dish. Freeze this before or after the baking, it’s up to you. I tend to do it afterwards so that there’s minimal faffing when you want to use them!

Ingredients:

  • 300gm white fish
  • 3 agria potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 75gm butter
  • Dash of cream
  • Handful of parsley
  • Handful of rocket or spinach

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Peel the potatoes and boil in a pot of boilng water for about 20 – 30 minutes until soft.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop your leek and melt 50gm of the butter in a saucepan. Once melted, add the leek and sauté for about 10 minutes until soft.
  • Chop your fish up in to bite-sized pieces and add to the leek, cook until the fish is white. Add in your parsley and chopped rocket at the end, just until the rocket is wilted. Remove this from the pan and set aside.
  • Mix your vegetable stock and milk together in a jug.
  • In the same pan, melt the remaining 25gm butter (you’ll need about 1tbsp). Once melted, add in your flour and whisk until a sticky paste forms.
  • Then slowly add your milk and vegetable stock mixture, constantly whisking for about 6-10 minutes or until you’ve got a thick sauce. Remove from the heat.
  • Add your fish and greens mixture to the white sauce and then stir in your cheese.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, mash with some cream and a little extra butter until smooth.
  • Put your fish mixture in to the ramekins or a large dish and then top with potato.
  • Bake in the oven at 180c for about 10 – 15 minutes until the potato is a brown and crispy on top.

Creamy Spinach & Mince

We all know how good our greens are for us, and yet for little people who aren’t quite eating salads just yet (will they ever?!), it can be quite difficult to get them in (for more on ways to do this, read this blog here) .

I was having to be creative in the kitchen when we realised he might have a tomato allergy. He would come up in this awful bumpy raised rash that almost stretched up to his eyes! It was there for a good few weeks and when I took him to the doctor they gave us some anti-fungal cream (no home remedies seemed to work). We used that but then also noticed that if he had citrus or tomato-based foods it would flare up. I didn’t think it would be too difficult to avoid these, but um… hello?! Slow-cooked lamb? Tomatoes. Lasagne? Tomatoes. Spag bol’? Tomatoes. A lot of other pasta sauces or curries? Tomatoes! Now I was really challenged.

We resorted to mum’s middle eastern chicken which is a creamy based curry (delicious by the way!), baked fish dishes, chicken carbonara and any curries that were tomato-free. Then I came across creamed spinach. Oh yes please.

This is something I devised when I was trying to make a pasta sauce with mince. Grub loves this and so do we actually. It can be served over pasta or mashed potato and you know it’s good for you when you see how green it is! And it’s also full of iron, protein and calcium. I definitely feel good seeing him wolf this down.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bag of fresh spinach, washed and chopped or 100gm frozen (defrosted)
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 4tbsp parmesan or cheddar cheese
  • Pinch or two of nutmeg
  • 300gm mince

Method:

  • Heat a frying pan and melt butter over medium heat, then add the chopped spinach. Sauté until wilted.
  • Add in the cheeses, milk and nutmeg and stir through until the cheese is melted.
  • Transfer to a food processor (our nutri-bullet worked well too) and blend until smooth.
  • In the same pan, brown your mince in a little oil until cooked, breaking it up as you go. Once cooked, remove from the heat and stir through the spinach mixture.
  • Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes.
  • Suitable for freezing.

Lentil Coconut & Kumara Curry

This is something you can introduce to your little grub from a pretty early age; we did from about 7 months old and it was one of his favourite’s. When some of my dishes didn’t make it past two or three mouthfuls, I’d try this and it’d all be gone! Yes, we had those frustrating days too.

I particularly loved giving him this one as I knew he was getting a great source of vegetarian protein with the lentils, he was getting some good fats with the coconut cream and of course all the greens in the world with the spinach I add in.

This is a slight adaptation of a recipe from Detox Insta which is a great website for inspiration. I removed some of the spices, especially when making this for the first time, but now I’d use them all as it’s not really a hot curry.

It’s suitable for freezing and defrosts well, making it even better! If you’ve got a little grub, puree the curry, if you’ve got an older one, you could just mash it up a bit at the end before serving. I never bothered with the rice when he was little; it’s just as good on its own and is a bit like a soup really. However, if I’m making it for all of us I’ll serve over some brown rice or quinoa if we’ve got it.

Give this one a go and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 large kumara
  • 1 large carrot
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder (omit if serving to young babies)
  • 3 ½ cups water (or vegetable stock)
  • 3 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • ½ cup coconut cream

Method:

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onion until it’s golden. Add the lentils, kumara, carrot and spices and stir to combine everything
  • Add the water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the kumara and lentils are soft.
  • At the 20-minute mark, stir through your spinach and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Once everything is soft, stir in ½ cup of coconut cream.

Hubby’s Pancakes

This is one of about five of my husband’s ‘dishes’ that he proudly says he could cook for dinner when I put him on duty! And sometimes, we do have it on a Sunday as a treat when we can’t be bothered with anything else. But mostly we have it on Saturday mornings for breakfast; when you normally would!

These are absolutely baby/toddler friendly as they have no sugar in them and are soft enough to swallow or break down if there are no teeth yet. Having said that, I wouldn’t give these to my 6-month-old, as the texture of them could be a potential hazard if the pancake got stuck to the roof of their mouth or back of their throat. You’ll know when they’re ready for these.

There are a few tips and tricks here that the other half says are ‘must do’s.’ These are:

  • Use a smaller frying pan
  • Use a dot of butter (has to be butter) in between cooking each pancake, less than a teaspoon! And swirl it around the pan until melted, then pour your batter in
  • For each pancake, use enough batter to cover the base of the pan, then swirl the pan around so that the mixture spreads out and covers it – you don’t want these too thick
  • And remember; the first one is always the trial run!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 25gm melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup water

Method:

  • Add all ingredients to a nutri-bullet (or something similar) and whizz around for 20 – 30 seconds until all well blended
  • If you don’t have a nutri-bullet, sift the flour and add it to a bowl and make a well. Add the wet ingredients and whisk until you’ve got a smooth batter and there are no lumps
  • Melt a little butter in a frying pan and add however much batter you’ll need to thinly cover the base of it (as above, this depends on the size of your pan)
  • Serve with puréed apple and cinnamon, maple syrup or lemon and sugar

Marvellous Meatballs

I’d never really grown up with meatballs; we’d always had spaghetti and it wasn’t until we had a little grub milling around who was funny about the texture of mince, that I thought about meatballs. And man; had I been missing out! These truly are marvellous! There’s something about chewing down on a juicy meatball, rather than having spaghetti sauce slopping all over the place, that’s really satisfying. Well…to me anyway!

I needed to ensure our boy had meat at least three times a week for his iron needs and he was interested in starting to feed himself. These hit two birds with one stone; he enjoyed them and he could do it without my help. My spaghetti bolognese would have to wait – he hated the texture but the meatballs were different as I run the mince through the food processor first.

These are really versatile as the flavours here aren’t overpowering so I can add them to any sauce I’ve got on hand. They’re also great for those busy nights after daycare where I need to grab something quickly out of the freezer. My experimenting in the kitchen ended with these bad boys that all of us really enjoy.

They’re great if you’re looking for finger food ideas as they can be served on their own. But, they’re equally good served over pasta or mashed potato with a tomato passata sauce. Drizzle over some grated cheese…yum! They’re also good for snacks on the go as they taste just fine at room temperature/slightly cool. Enjoy!

meatballs 2
The finished product – ready to devour!

Ingredients:

  • 500gm mince
  • 100gm feta
  • 1 courgette, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 very small red onion
  • Oil for frying

Method:

  • Finely chop the onion and place in a food processor along with the mince and tomato paste. Whizz around until the mince has broken down a bit more and the ingredients are well incorporated. Place in a mixing bowl.
  • To the mince mixture, add the courgette and egg and mix well
  • Crumble the feta and stir through.
  • Form the mixture in to balls about the size of 1 tbsp and fry until brown on both sides and cooked through