Inspired recipes for all the family from Piccolo’s infant nutrition specialist, Alice Fotheringham
Everything you eat as a family this Christmas can be given to your little ones, no matter their age. All you need to watch out for are the usual culprits of sugar and salt. If you plan on having a roast with all the trimmings, the vegetables and roasted meat are great for your babies from six months, just hold back on the gravy, stuffing and sauces. There are some fantastic root veg in season at the moment, such as squashes, parsnips and carrots. Cook up a big batch and make into soups, stews and dips. These recipes are our take on Christmas classics, with a few little Mediterranean twists…
Vegetables for the whole family!
Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins C and K. Roasting them brings out a sweeter flavour than boiling or steaming, and when cut in half, they make brilliant finger food for tots.
To roast them, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Cut off the ends and any loose leaves, then cut in half and place on a baking sheet with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Mix with your hands and roast for 30 minutes. The addition of fried bacon lardons is also delicious if you want a more decadent vegetable dish!
The roasted sprouts can be puréed, too. You can also add to other veg, such as roast sweet potato, or they are delicious with peas.
You can pre-cook, roast and freeze your vegetables (including roast potatoes), leaving you enough oven space for the bird. If you are cooking your roast vegetables in advance, why not batch cook and do triple the amount you normally would? Once roasted, separate and freeze on a tray the veg for the big day, then you can use the other vegetables for dishes like roasted vegetable couscous, or as finger food for your little one during the week.
About this recipe
SUITABLE FROM SIX MONTHS
PREP TIME 15 MINUTES
COOKING 12 MINUTES
MAKES 15 STARS
200g sweet potato, peeled
60g cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs, whisked together
120g fine oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grate the sweet potato into a bowl (the finer the grate, the neater the stars) and top with a little boiled water to just cover it. Cover the bowl with cling film and cook in the microwave for 3 minutes on high. Drain the sweet potato, place on a few layers of kitchen paper and squeeze out the liquid – you need to get it quite dry.
- Place the sweet potato back in the bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. The mixture will be quite wet.
- Prepare a baking tray with baking paper and form star shapes of the mixture onto the sheet using a cookie cutter. Use a heaped teaspoon and stuff into the cookie cutter. Use the back of the teaspoon to push the mixture into the corners. Bake for around 12 minutes, until brown and crispy on the sides.Tip: Try mixing up the flavours; grate carrot or add spices such as paprika for a little kick!
About this recipe
SUITABLE FROM 12 MONTHS
PREP TIME 30 MINUTES
COOKING 10 MINUTES
MAKES 24 BISCUITS
340g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
130g light brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 large egg, beaten
100g white chocolate
60g icing sugar
red and green food colouring
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, and set aside. Either in a mixer or by hand, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Mix in the egg and combine. With the mixer set on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and combine. You now have a dough. Cover and chill it for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180˚C. Roll out the dough to around inch thick and cut circles with a cookie cutter, or for a more rustic finish, scoop out a spoonful of mixture, shape into a ball, transfer to the baking sheet and flatten the tops slightly. Bake for around 8-10 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate, then leave to set at room temperature.
- For the decoration, make a thick icing using a little hot water with the icing sugar. Split into two bowls and add a drop of food colouring to each. Pour into a piping bag and pipe the holly. Allow to set a room temperature.
About this recipe
PREP TIME 1 HOUR
COOKING 2 HOURS
SERVES 3 ADULTS AND 1 CHILD
2kg free-range chicken or turkey
50g softened butter
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp chopped thyme
2 sage leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, halved
100ml olive oil or 100g duck or goose fat
600g parsnips, peeled and chopped
600g carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (not suitable for little ones under one year old)
3 tbsp olive oil
cracked black pepper
200g green vegetables
- Remove the bird from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. Remove any giblets and save them for stock (if you are making your own).
- Prep the vegetables. Peel the potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Quarter the potatoes, and chop the carrots and parsnips into batons.
- Heat oven to 220˚C. Drop the potatoes into a large pan and pour in enough water to barely cover them. Add a pinch of salt, then wait for the water to boil. As soon as the water reaches boiling point, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and give them a shake in the pan to fluff the edges. If you want to purée the potato for your baby, take out a couple of pieces at this stage and set aside.
- At the same time, parboil the parsnips and carrots by placing them in cold water, bringing to the boil and simmering for 5 minutes. Drain and place in a roasting dish – taking out a couple for your baby’s dish.
- For the chicken, heat oven to 220˚C. Mix the butter, lemon zest, herbs and garlic together and season with black pepper. Spread the mix over the skin of the bird. Stuff the neck end of the bird with the onion. Calculate the cooking time – it will need 40 minutes for every 1kg.
- Transfer the bird to a roasting tin, breast side down, cover loosely with foil and place in the the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180˚C for the rest of the cooking time. 30 minutes before the cooking time is up, take the bird out, remove the foil and turn the bird over to allow the skin on the breasts to brown. Drain the juice from the pan and reserve. Scatter the carrots and parsnips around the bird and drizzle over a little olive oil and honey or maple syrup, and season. Put back in the oven for 30 minutes.
- At this time, put an empty roasting tin in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and add the olive oil to the hot tin. Add the parboiled potatoes and give them a good shake to coat them in the fat. Roast for 45 minutes, or until golden.
- To check if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. If the juices run clear, it’s cooked. If they are pink, return it to the oven for another 15 mins, then test again. If using a meat thermometer, it should read 80˚C for the thighs.
- Once the bird is cooked, place on a serving platter (use the tin to make your gravy) and decant the vegetables into another dish and keep warm. Cover the bird with foil and a tea towel, and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes. While the bird is resting, steam your green veg.To make a roast chicken purée
Take the set-aside pieces of boiled potato, parsnip and carrot and purée with a few pieces of meat (the brown meat is most nutrient dense) and a little water or juice from the pan.