Goodness, it feels completely surreal writing this update. I can scarcely believe that I am holding in my hands my very own copy of my cook book – Real Food for Babies and Toddlers. It’s been a long time coming, let me tell you. But before I do I want to let you into a little secret… this is not my first cook book!
In truth, I wrote my very first cook book at the tender age of 11, just before I headed into high school.
I wish I still had it to show you now. It was split into different countries’ cuisines and each chapter had drawings, recipes and poems. I was so creative at that age.. and yet, somehow all that creativity washed out of me in high school. I found myself dropping art and design and focusing on getting a ‘proper job’. I guess I must have always had a book in me though.
Inspiration found me again on a walk into work, what must be 5 years or so ago now. I had been working with Anna Jones on her very first cook book, Hungry? and inspiration gave me a little poke and suggested that I might like to do a book of my own one day. A lot of hard work and determination got me to where I am today and I’m so delighted to share it with you.
My trusty hand model, Laurence and I have taken some pictures to give you a feel for the book, without giving too much away…
Firstly, did you ever see such a beautiful contents page?! The team that worked on my book were so fabulous in every way. What you see is here is of credit to them.
The book’s first three chapters talk about how babies and children develop their taste preferences and how parents can help foster these to be broad and healthful. I also talk about the importance of eating a wholefood, plant-based diet at these early opportunities and the benefits that baby-led weaning offers (as well as coping with the mess).
Then onto the recipes, which are divided into four seasons and then a section for some snack options. Each season has recipes for breakfasts, main meals (including soups/stews and dips) and a couple of nutritious dessert options.
All the recipes show you how many baby and adult portions they make and flag any allergy and intolerance information. A lot of the recipes are easily adapted to suit various needs such as dairy-free or vegan, and I give advice on how to do that. Lastly, some of the recipes need a little tweak to make them safe for beginners, so I have included tips on how best to introduce them.
Although the book is intended for new parents you will quickly see (I hope) that these are recipes the whole family will enjoy, regardless of whether there’s a baby at the table or not. This is such an important point because in my mind, there is no such thing as ‘kid’ food. Why should we do them the disservice of offering them anything but delicious and beautiful food from the very start?
So here we are… just a random sample of some of the recipes.
These are super for teething babies and toddlers and the orange is so vibrant, you really have to make them and see for yourself.
Leaves are one of the harder textures and flavours to introduce to little ones, so you’ll find plenty of clever ideas to do that, like this easy green couscous recipe.
Plenty of make-ahead breakfasts to support calmer mornings.
There are a range of snack ideas, including nut-free snack balls.
To finish the book I talk about the foundation of eating well being a well-stocked wholefood kitchen full of seasonal fresh foods and wholesome pantry staples. Here I give my thoughts on how to choose food with care and consideration, not just the land on which they are grown, but the way in which animals are treated with compassion. You’ll find my tips for sourcing the best ingredients and explanations for why I favour the ingredients I do.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this little taster. Real Food for Babies and Toddlers is available for pre-order now. Head over to this page for more information on how you can order and let me know what you think in the comments!