Recipes from Real Food for Babies and Toddlers

SWEET POTATO FALAFEL: MINI MEZZE BOWL

Sweet Potato falafel 

Makes 4 adult portions or 8 baby portions

Preparation time 20 minutes Cooking time 30 minutes

DIETARY INFO
Dairy-free (omit fresh cheeses) gluten-free nut-free vegetarian vegan (omit fresh cheeses)

300 g (10½ oz) orange-red sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2 cups) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and well drained
40 g (1½ oz/⅓cup) besan (chickpea) flour
1 large handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
1 large handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander

To serve
a selection of dips, seasonal fruit and roast vegetables and tortillas (see page 72)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease a large baking tray with olive oil.

Put the sweet potato, red onion and garlic cloves in a food processor, and pulse a few times until everything is finely chopped. Be careful not to over-process; otherwise your falafel will end up
like little balls of mashed potato. Add the remaining ingredients, and pulse again until everything is well combined (you may need to scrape down the sides). Empty into a large bowl.

Use your hands to scoop the mixture, and shape into 15–20 balls or patties. As you do this, squeeze the mixture well to remove any extra liquid and ensure that the ingredients bind together as they cook. If you feel that the mix may crumble, stir in some additional besan flour at this stage. Brush or spray the falafel with extra olive oil and bake for 30 minutes.

Divide the falafel among large serving bowls, and heap in a mix of other foods to make a mini platter or bowl.

For little ones: For beginners, I advise against serving this in an actual bowl because you’ll end up with a mega mess rather than a mini mezze. Place two or three options in front of them to choose from, and go from there.

Spelt Tortillas
250 g (9 oz) wholemeal (whole-grain) spelt flour
100 g (31/2 oz/⅔cup) unbleached white spelt flour
125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) coconut oil, plus extra for frying
2 tablespoons linseeds (flaxseeds)
1 tablespoon good-quality apple cider vinegar
185 ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) warm filtered water
coconut oil for frying (optional)

Beef and black bean filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
500–600 g (1 lb 2 oz – 1 lb 5 oz) whole piece of beef (choose a lean cut suitable for slow-cooking, such as chuck or braising steak)
1 red onion, finely chopped
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) tomatoes, quartered
1 red capsicum (pepper), seeds and membrane removed, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
200 g (7 oz/1 cup) cooked and drained black beans
salad and sour cream or labneh (see page 240), to serve

To make the tortillas: Whiz together the flours, coconut oil, linseeds and vinegar in a food processor until all the oil has been absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the warm water. Bring together into a ball with your hands, and turn out and knead on a clean work surface for 10 minutes until soft and greasy. Alternatively, transfer to an electric stand mixer with a dough hook, and let that do all the work for you. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 12–24 hours to ferment.

Divide the dough into four pieces, shape each one into a ball, then flatten into circles with your hands to make four tortilla shapes. Using a rolling pin, roll out as thinly as you can without breaking.

Heat a large, dry frying pan over medium–high heat, and when hot add one of the tortillas. Dry-fry for 2–3 minutes on the first side, then flip and dry-fry the other side for a further 1–2 minutes. There should be no ‘wet’ flour left, and the tortilla should be cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with a damp tea towel (dish towel); repeat with the other three tortillas.

You can either use the tortillas soft or fry them for a second time to firm them up. Bring about 2 teaspoons of coconut oil to a medium heat in the same frying pan or on a flat griddle, and fry for 1–2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate, ready to serve.

Making whey and labneh from yoghurt
Quite a few of my recipes use labneh – a creamy, fresh yoghurt cheese. As it contains no salt, it’s perfect for little ones and making it from scratch also yields a generous measure of whey.
Take a clean, undyed baby muslin or cheesecloth, and lay it flat on a plate. Scoop out a large tub of full-fat Greek-style yoghurt (ideally organic) into the centre of the cloth, and bring the edges together to make a pouch. Twist the cloth and wrap the ‘tail’ around the handle of a wooden spoon (or similar), then secure so that the pouch is dangling. Place the spoon over the top of a large jug or bowl, and place in the refrigerator. Strain the yoghurt for at least a day,

Twist the cloth and wrap the ‘tail’ around the handle of a wooden spoon (or similar), then secure so that the pouch is dangling. Place the spoon over the top of a large jug or bowl, and place in the refrigerator. Strain the yoghurt for at least a day, but you can do it for longer to make a firmer cheese. All the liquid that collects in the bottom of the jug or bowl is the whey – transfer this to a clean container and store, covered with a tight-fitting lid, in the refrigerator. 

Download printable recipe (PDF)

 
SPICED ALMOND FRITTERS WITH PUMPKIN AND APPLE

Spiced Butternut Squash Apple Almond Fritters

Makes 10
Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 15 minutes
DIETARY INFO Dairy-free gluten-free vegetarian

4 eggs
250 g (9 oz/2 cups) peeled and grated butternut pumpkin (squash)
3 eating apples, cored
3 tablespoons almond meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
coconut oil for frying
maple syrup (optional), to serve
To make the batter, beat the eggs well in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin and grate in one of the apples, along with the almond meal and spices. Stir to combine. Finely slice the remaining 2 apples and set aside.

Working in batches and allowing 1 teaspoon coconut oil per fritter, heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, spoon 2 tablespoons of the fritter batter into the pan, and shape into a fritter using a spoon or spatula. Continue until you have three or four fritters in the pan, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Press a slice of apple into the top of each fritter. Cook for 3–4 minutes on the first side, then flip over and cook for a further 1–2 minutes until cooked through and crisp and golden on the outside. Keep warm on a plate lined with paper towel while cooking the rest. Repeat until all the batter has been used. Serve the fritters drizzled with a little maple syrup, if you like.

For little ones: As raw apple presents a choking hazard for babies, these fritters are a great way to introduce this fruit in its whole form. The apple slice is unlikely to be soft enough for beginners, so either leave this off their fritter or grate all the apples into the batter. You may need to add a little more almond meal if the apples are especially juicy.

Download printable recipe (PDF)

 
BLUEBERRY AND LEMON YOGHURT SCONE FINGERS

Blueberry and Lemon Yoghurt Scone03

Makes 12–16 scones

Preparation time 15 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes

DIETARY INFO Nut-free vegetarian

200 g (7 oz/1¹⁄³ cups) wholemeal (whole-grain) spelt flour
100 g (3½ oz/²⁄³ cup) unbleached white spelt flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
90 g (3¼ oz) unsalted butter (preferably grass-fed), softened
60 g (2¼ oz/½ cup) oatmeal (Scottish oats/ground oats; see note on page 104)
1 ripe banana
1 egg
grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons (remove pips)
150 g (5½ oz) plain yoghurt)
100 g (3½ oz/²⁄³ cup) fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Sift the flours and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Use your fingers to break up the butter, and rub it in until you have a texture like very fine breadcrumbs. Add the oatmeal, and mix together until it’s evenly distributed. Mash the banana with a fork, and stir into the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and lemon juice. Decant a quarter of this into a small bowl, add the lemon zest and whisk to make the glaze. Set aside.

Add the yoghurt to the remaining egg mixture, and beat well until combined. Add this to the flour–banana mixture, and bring together with a spoon or your hands until you have a soft dough. Turn out onto the prepared baking tray, and gently press until it is about 2 cm (¾ inch) thick. Spread the blueberries on top, and carefully press them in, so that just the very tops are peeping out.

Use a pastry brush to glaze the top of the scone with the egg glaze. Use all of this, even if it looks quite wet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

Slide the scone onto a chopping board using a palette knife, and carefully cut into 12–16 fingers while still hot. Transfer to a wire rack, and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve while still warm.

For little ones: Ensure the blueberries have cooled before serving.

Download printable recipe (PDF)