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Baby Led Weaning

Fish Cakes from the Store Cupboard

Beyond the design of the tins there are many reasons to have tinned fish in your store cupboard at all times. They will pull you out of a tight spot at supper time any day of the week.

We love fish cakes in this house. I always make more than I need so I have a good stock of them in the freezer. Far nicer than fish fingers and just as easy to pop in the oven when you’re short of time.

This tinned fish version I make has an advantage over its fresh couterpart in that you eat the whole fish bones and all. The bones are a good source of calcium and mackerel and sardines happen to be one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D which means the calcium has what it needs to be absorbed.

I serve them with either salad or vegetables and a big dollop of Greek yoghurt.

Tinned Fish Fish Cakes

1 tin of sardines

1 tin of mackerel

4 medium potatoes – peeled and chopped

1 large sweet potato – peeled and chopped

A little flour on a plate for dusting

Preheat oven to 180°C – makes around 16 fishcakes (more or less depending on size!)

  • Boil your potatoes until they are cooked. Drain and set aside – the longer the better as it will let the water out.
  • Open the tins and drain the fish.
  • Mash the potatoes until they are fluffy either with a fork or a ricer.
  • Put the fish into the bowl and fork it through the potatoes until they are well combined. If you are worried about the bones get your fingers in there and you’ll see they just crumble in.
  • Now you can shape your fish cakes. I use a tablespoon measure to portion each cake.
  • Roll each fish cake in the flour and pat dry.
  • Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes in the oven.
  • Once out of the oven let them stand for a couple of minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato Falafel

The day after Betsy had her first proper meal was our annual street party. Inspired by some Waitrose sweet potato falafels I decided to apply my recipe to sweet potatoes for one of the side dishes.

My best friend (and Betsy’s namesake) was holding Betsy in one hand and a falafel in the other. Betsy leaned over and plucked the sweet potato falafel from her hand and tucked in. An absolutely hilarious moment and 100% baby led weaning. Needless to say we fixed her up with her own falafels which you can see her eating in my baby led weaning video.

Sweet potato falafels are a great picnic food and are a great veggie dish to have in your repertoire. I like to roll them in sesame seeds which are a good source of calcium and iron and as the sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C you know that iron is going to have the best chance of being absorbed. If you have reason to be cautious about allergens you may wish to leave them out – this won’t cause a problem. If in doubt talk to your health professionals for advice.

Sweet Potato Falafels

2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 small onion
1/2 small bunch of fresh coriander
1/2 small bunch of fresh parsley
1 small clove garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp of gram flour (optional – see method)
1tbsp of sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Bake the sweet potatoes wrapped in tin foil in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes until they are soft all the way through. I often do this the night before when I’m cooking supper then let them dry out in the fridge overnight.
  • Peel off the skin and mash the flesh in a bowl. If you have time let them dry out as it will give a nice texture but if you don’t have that luxury stir through the gram flour (chickpea flour) which will help soak up the excess moisture.
  • Put the onion, coriander, parsley, garlic, cumin and cumin seeds into a food processor and whizz up until finely chopped.
  • Stir the mixture through the sweet potato until well mixed.
  • Roll the falafel into balls (size them to be easy for a baby to grasp).
  • Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over a medium flame. Put them on a plate then roll your falafels in the seeds.
  • Lightly oil a baking tray, place your falafels on the tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Serve with pitta, hummus and salad leaves or cucumber slices.

Find more recipes for BLW in my Baby Led Weaning section and for all the family in Housewife Recipes.

Cinnamon and Apple Sauce No Added Sugar Flapjack Recipe

I love flapjacks all melty and oaty – perfect Autumn snacks. When it comes to babies I prefer to leave out the butter, sugar and golden syrup and create something fruity instead.

I call this recipe a no added sugar flapjack. That’s not to say they are sugar free but that I’m only using the sweetness of the fruit and fruit juice rather than adding refined sugar. They are a little softer than regular flapjacks and keep for around three to four days in an air-tight container (up to five in the fridge).

At this time of year I scout round the village for gatepost boxes offering surplus and windfall apples and have even been known to make detours past wild apple trees. It makes me happy to be using fruit which would otherwise go to waste. When I was recently sent some apple juice to try I knew I was going to reserve a little for these yummies.

Cinnamon and Apple Sauce Flapjacks

300g apples (around 5 – 6 small apples, 2 – 3 large) peeled, cored and diced

300ml apple juice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

175g rolled oats

Butter or oil to grease the baking tin (around 20 x 20cm or thereabouts)

Preheat oven to 180°C

  • Put the apples, apple juice and cinnamon in a pan on the stove and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Give it a little stir every now and then to help the fruit break down and be prepared for your house to smell heavenly.
  • Once the apple sauce is looking apple saucy give it a final smush to break down any big lumps. Transfer it to a bowl and mix the oats through.
  • Press the mixture into a greased tin.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Cool for 5 – 10 minutes in the tin then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before cutting into your preferred serving size.

Variations:

  • At the oat stirring stage add a handful of dried fruit or nuts (assuming you have no reason to be concerned about nut allergies).

My Baby Led Weaning Recipes

Welcome to my Baby Led Weaning Recipe section. Having found that once my children were ready to start eating solids they were also ready to feed themselves I mostly let them get on with it.

While for the most part what they eat is no different from what we are eating I’ve always taken care that they are getting delicious food that is suitable for babies.

I cook from scratch, I don’t add salt and I minimise my use of added sugar. It’s not a baby menu but it is baby friendly.

While I prepare food myself I’m also very lazy so many of my recipes keep well in the freezer or stored in an air-tight container ensuring a ready supply of tasty meals and snacks without me slaving over the stove at every meal.

Alongside recipes I will post about my thoughts and experiences surrounding baby led weaning. You can find out more on my about baby led weaning page.

I will be adding recipes gradually and if you subscribe you will have the latest recipes in your inbox or RSS reader.