I’m happy to introduce a new category on this blog:Baby Zest. You may have noticed a lull in activity on the blog last year: this corresponded with the arrival of our first little bundle of glorious trouble! Our own Miss One is now discovering the world of food, and we’re discovering the fun of feeding bubs. Jane is doing the bulk of the cooking for Miss One, so from now on I’ll be sharing the blog so you can get the story from the source. Over to you, Jane!
Hello! My name is Jane – an inexperienced mum of a beautiful 13 month old – and this is my first blog post. And it’s not even my own blog! I’ve hijacked my husband’s as I decided that Jason shouldn’t get all the attention just because he cooks for grown ups. I am charged with the very important job of nourishing our growing daughter who is increasingly turning into an eating machine, but one who can be a little hard to please. So for this blog, Miss One will be my taste-tester and I will only post recipes that pass her stringent tastes. Being a busy part-time worker/ most-of-the-time mum and otherwise lazy person, my recipes will be bang for your buck when it comes to cooking time vs results.
In the last month or so, Miss One has decided she is much too grown up for my homemade vegetable purées and baby meatloaf, so I have been introducing her to new foods that hopefully she would enjoy more.
Today’s recipe is inspired by the adult bolognese that she seemed to like the taste of previously but my aim was to make a more complete and healthier meal with plenty of vegetables. This is a very simple recipe and you can try any combination of vegetables you happen to have in the fridge – that’s how my combo of pumpkin and zucchini came about! This combo does work well though as they cook quite quickly, textures blend in and they (particularly the zucchini) takes on other flavours well. There’s really nothing bad in this recipe if you use a nice lean beef mince (a good source of iron) and a low salt stock (you could even just use water, especially for younger bubs). So it’s a good mixture of protein, iron, vitamins and bulk (from the pasta which will keep their bellies happy and full).
And most important of all. Miss One loved it! Nanna, tasked with feeding, while hubby and I whisked ourselves off on a rare lunch date, said she demolished it eagerly and looked just like one of those funfair clowns with the open mouths that you feed balls to. Yay! Taste test passed!! And she was happy to have a second helping at dinner! I served it with thin spaghetti (slightly overcooked so it’s softer to make it easier for bub to eat) cut up into very short pieces but might try butterflies or spirals next time to entice Miss One to feed herself.
- 150g good quality beef mince
- 1 small zucchini
- 1/2 onion, diced finely
- 1/4 medium sized butternut pumpkin
- 200g diced tomatoes (1/2 a tin)
- 150ml low salt stock or water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add onion and stir until softened and translucent.
- Add the mince and stir until cooked.
- Cut the pumpkin into small cubes (adjust size to the age of your child but note it will be soft anyway). Stir the pumpkin into the beef then add stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes until the pumpkin is starting to soften.
- Cut zucchini into small cubes and stir into the mixture.
- Add tomato and stir well to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft through. You may want to top up with water to your desired consistency.
- Serve with pasta of choice in equal portions of sauce and pasta. Vegetables can easily be substituted with carrots, mushrooms or eggplant with some adjustment to cooking times.