Eat the seasons

Something I have done since  my eldest daughter was a baby is eat by season. My time working at Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming is probably where I first started. All the recipes on this blog use fruit and/or veg that’s in season.

There are lots of reasons for eating seasonal fruit and veg: reducing your carbon emissions, it’s cheaper, it tastes better, we need to support British farmers and it’s likely to have higher levels of vitamins, like Vitamin C compared to produce shipped/flown in from overseas. Have a look at the www.eatseasonably.co.uk for more info.

It’s not about abstinence but enjoying fruit and veg at its best.  It’s about connecting you with the seasons and where your food comes from. This time of year is a bit hard – I miss my salads and tomatoes, my eldest daughter misses strawberries and blueberries.* I know though as soon as those seasons come in we’ll be making the most of the produce they bring. 

With fruit this time of year, you don’t have to stick to apples and rhubarb. Buying fruit from Southern Europe, gives you more choice and buying kiwi fruit from Italy rather than Australia or South America is better for the environment. Bananas are a must have all year round too – always go for fairtrade.

I promise you, if you haven’t already tried eating seasonally,  I’m sure you and your family will grow to love it – give it a year and see. For information on what’s in season right now go to eattheseasons.co.uk  and like their Facebook page for recipe ideas and inspiration.

Navel oranges are in season at the moment …I cut some easy-to-handle slices for the babster but she went for the whole half an orange and tucked in, getting very messy.

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She’s just over a year now, and one of the ways I help her to feel independent and in control is by giving her choices, so I’ll put two types of fruit in front of her and ask which she wants to eat. Toddlers from around 18 months are learning to be in control and independent and they often do this by refusing food. One of the ways I get round this (hopefully – it worked with the eldest) is by giving choice.

I’m also buying organic kiwi fruit from Italy at the moment, I peel most of it and leave the bottom with the skin on to make it easy for my daughter to hold.

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Pomegranates are next on the list… highly nutritious and fiddly as anything – they should keep her busy for a bit …

*When blueberries, and other berries are in season, freeze some for Winter months as a treat, or you can buy frozen blueberries – they’re softer so easier for little ones to eat whole. For younger babies it’s a good idea to squish them rather than give them whole. If you live near Wimborne in Dorset (or are on holiday down that way) you can always go to Trehane Nursery and buy frozen blueberries or pick your own in July/August and freeze some. Or even better buy some blueberry plants from there, like I did.

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What’s for lunch: Chickpea and leek soup

What’s for lunch is a series of recipes and ideas for lunch to share when you’re at home with your baby and/or toddler. They’re not amazing food adventures just simple sustaining meals that are quick and easy to prep, as well as being tasty and nutritious.


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This is a recipe from the first Jamie Oliver recipe book. It’s easy, quick and cheap and I can’t find the recipe book so have been making my version of it…I made it twice last week and both kids loved it.

You will need…

125g of dried chickpeas soaked overnight, rinsed and boiled for 2 hours in unsalted water (until soft) or a drained tin* of chickpeas
600ml of low salt chicken stock made up
2 good sized leeks, top and tailed and sliced
1 potato peeled and diced.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter (if you don’t eat dairy then replace this with another teaspoon of olive oil)

How to…
Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the leeks and cook til softened slightly then add the potatoes and chickpeas and stir and cook for a few more minutes.
Pour in the stock and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
Take half of the soup and blend separately then add them back together to make the finished soup.
Squish the remaining whole chickpeas for your little one
Add chopped parsley and stir in.
Serve with mini sandwiches.

*The linings of canned foods contain BPA which is a plastic. It has been found to leach into foods (particularly tomatoes). BPA is a hormone disrupting chemical which has been shown to lead to developmental abnormalities in rodent studies (at levels lower than those present in human systems). While the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and EFSA (European Food Standards agency) conclude it’s safe, it’s worth reading up on it to make an informed decision. Some food manufacturers are working to remove bpa from cans but it’s taking time. You can buy lentils and beans in their dried form, and chopped tomatoes in cartons.