Our recent Tesco Baby Food Festival was a huge success, and one of the highlights was a prize draw to win an exclusive cooking session hosted by the queen of weaning, Annabel Karmel.
The UK’s favourite baby-feeding expert has just launched her latest book, Quick & Easy Weaning, so to celebrate, we invited our lucky winners to London for a fun workshop. With 25 years’ experience under her apron, Annabel has perfected the art of purées, and showed us how to rustle up her favourite recipes for babies aged six months and older. She also shared lots of tried-and-trusted tips for introducing more adventurous flavours and textures.
The session began with Annabel guiding our mums through the recipe for a soft Lentil Purée with Tomato and Cheese – it’s a great source of protein, iron and fibre, and babies love its savoury-sweet taste.
Amy Ranger is mum to Olivia, 11 months, Emily, 14, and Charlotte, 12. She said: ‘I love to make fresh, home-cooked meals and needed some inspiration. I want to feed my baby a healthy, balanced and varied diet to give her the best start in life.’
Annabel’s recipes are certainly inspiring – many use flavour combinations that sound unusual but work beautifully. ‘Chicken goes very well with fruit,’ she explained, and the proof was in the tasting of her Chicken, Apricot and Butternut Squash. It also has subtle hints of garlic and mild spices to help your little one develop a taste for grown-up food.
Handy tips to save time
Mum Lisa Poston has her hands full looking after baby Archie, four months, Aimee, eight, and William, four, as her husband works away from home during the week. ‘My main concern is cooking quick, healthy meals for the children,’ she told us.
Annabel had plenty of helpful suggestions, like whipping up purées in larger batches then freezing some ready for busier days. She also recommends investing in a stick blender – great for whizzing even the smallest portion and it takes just seconds to wash up. Tesco sells a great selection to suit all budgets.
Oily fish is packed with protein and essential omegas – vital to your baby’s brain development. It’s an ingredient that’s difficult to find in ready-made baby food, but Annabel has it covered with her delicious, Mediterranean-style Salmon with Sweet Potato, Tomato and Basil. She explained that although salt can’t be added to baby recipes, they can be flavoured with fresh herbs and vegetables.
Time for dessert – and extra treats for our winners!
Fruit purée is often a baby’s first taste of solid food, and it makes a delicious, nutritious dessert or sweet treat. Annabel rounded off a brilliant workshop with Blueberry, Banana and Pear Purée.
‘I’ll definitely be cooking this at home – Archie will love it,’ said Lisa.
With the session at an end, we waved the winners off with a copy each of Quick & Easy Weaning, signed by Annabel, and goody bags crammed with her fab range of Organic Baby Purée pouches, which are available at Tesco.
‘Annabel was such a lovely person,’ said Lisa, ‘and the session was really informative. It’s given me the confidence to make food myself for Archie and try new flavours.’
‘With a little one to feed and a love of cooking, the session was right up my street,’ said Amy. ‘It was great fun and everyone was so friendly.’ And which recipes will she be trying at home? ‘All of them!’