Lentil Burgers

This is a great way to use up leftovers and I often mix 1 cup of lentils with 1 cup of leftover bean spread from the day before. They freeze well when placed between sheets of baking parchment and are great defrosted in the microwave for lunches on the move. Recently, I’ve been mixing them through mash potato for a complete carb and protein lunch. Makes 8-10.

1 cup grated carrots
2 cups cooked lentils or 1 cup cooked lentils and 1 cup bean spread
1 cup cooked rice, amaranth or quinoa
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
1/2 small chopped onion (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl adding water if necessary, to achieve a consistency that is easy to shape into patties. Place patties on an oiled or parchment covered baking tray for 25 mins in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees.

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PAP – Pasta, Avocado & Protein

I know this sounds like something from a fitness magazine and I feel as though I’m being really cheeky posting this as it’s so simple. But yesterday we had nothing in the house for bub’s dinner except for the ingredients below and surprisingly the meal was a hit. Fingers crossed it’s still a hit next week! Makes enough for one bub and a hungry adult.

100g of gluten free pasta
1 ripe avocado
Handful of basil leaves (optional)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1 tin sardines, mackerel or portion of cooked chicken

Cook the gluten free pasta. I find you need to cook it slightly longer than the standard 10mins – otherwise it has a strange chewy texture. Mash or blitz the avocado. Add the basil leaves and lemon juice if using and blitz again. Stir avocado mixture through cooked pasta and mix through the sardines, mackerel or cooked chicken. Serve immediately.

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Oat Cake

This recipe has been adapted from the Baby-led weaning cookbook a great resource for baby-led weaning. Any fruit purée can be used – just steam a couple of apples, pears or one of each and mash. I’ve started mixing half hydrolised formula milk with hemp milk in an attempt to get bub used to the taste of hydrolised milk. For egg eaters, substitute the egg replacer with one beaten egg. I’ve yet to get a silicon loaf tin but have recently discovered using baking parchment to line the bottom of a conventional loaf tin with a bit sticking out of the top of the tin to make it easier to turn out – very Great British Bake Off but allergy free!

3 cups gluten free oats
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 cup fruit purée such as apple or pear
3/4 to 1 cup milk alternative
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 heaped teaspoons egg replacer whisked with 4 tablespoons water
Oil for greasing

Grease and line the bottom of a 2lb loaf tin as shown in the picture. Whizz the oats in a food processor till resembles oatmeal. In a mixing bowl, mix together the ‘oatmeal’, fruit purée, baking powder, milk alternative and egg replacer. Place mixture in the greased tin for 30mins in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees. Allow the cake to cool for 20mins or so before removing from the tin.

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Polenta Porridge

Polenta makes a great breakfast and is super quick too. Bub prefers hers with a mashed banana or pear puree. Polenta fingers can also be made by cooling the mixture on a tray, refrigerating for 15 mins and then cutting into fingers. If the fingers are too cool, warm them for a minute or so in a hot pan. I often make savoury polenta fingers as an accompaniment to chicken or fish, using chicken or gluten free veg stock. Makes enough for a bub and an adult.

1 cup of milk alternative
1/3 cup quick cook polenta

Heat the milk alternative till it starts to bubble at the edges. Whisk the polenta through in a steady stream, taking care as mixture will be hot. Keep whisking for a minute then turn off the heat. The polenta should have combined with the liquid to form a paste. Allow to cool before serving.

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Baby Bhajias

Gram or chickpea flour is naturally gluten free so makes an ideal ingredient for allergy bub. It is available in most large supermarkets or south Asian stores. These bhajias freeze well and are easy to defrost in the microwave. I usually make the double the amount of batter and once there’s enough for bub, I add 1 teaspoon each of salt, ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli flakes for a delicious non baby snack! Makes 12 to 15.

1 cup gram flour
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
I medium potato
I small onion
1 handful of spinach (raw)

Mix together the gram flour, water and baking powder to form a thick batter. The consistency should be like a cake batter. Finely slice the potato, onion and spinach and add to mixture. Other vegetables such as sweetcorn and peas can also be added. Deep fry spoonfuls of the mixture for about 3 to 5 mins till golden.

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Lentil Loaf

This bake is quite filling; particularly when sliced and smothered in dairy free spread alongside a salad. The slices freeze quite well too between sheets of baking parchment. Once cooked, the loaf should be firm but not crispy.

2 cups red split lentils
1 small finely chopped onion
1/4 oil
1 to 2 cups cooked mashed sweet potato, butternut squash or pumpkin equivalent
1 cup gluten free oats
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon mixed herbs (optional)

Sauté the onion in a little oil. Add the lentils and about 4 cups of water. Cook for about 20 mins till the mixture is a soft purée. Allow to cool for 10 mins or so. Add the mashed sweet potato, oats, oil and herbs, if using. Place in a greased or silicon 2lb loaf tin and cook in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for about 30 mins till firm.

Bean Spread

This is my go-to protein food for bub at least 3 to 4 times a week. Great spread on rice cakes, corn tortillas, jacket potatoes, veg fritters and spinach and sweet potato muffins. Add more or less lemon and garlic depending on taste. The chickpea version is basically hummus without the tahini paste. Keeps in the fridge for a couple of days covered in cling film or in an air tight container.

1 tin cannellini beans, butter beans, cooked and shelled broad beans or chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Blanche the garlic clove in a cup of hot water. This will just take the edge off any raw garlic flavour. Place olive oil and lemon juice in the bottom of a processor. Rinse the beans and add to food processor. Blend on high for a few minutes or so, scraping any beans from the sides at regular intervals. Crush the garlic and mix through, making sure the garlic is well incorporated. If mixture still does not come together, add tablespoons at a time of water, oil or lemon juice depending on preference.