Weaning recipe #3 and family meal: Last of the Summer bean stew

We had this this for supper a few nights ago. The photo above is of the leftovers we had for lunch the next day. I didn’t have time to chop the stew up into smaller pieces for my baby (this stew works best with chunky vegetables) – I am always in a last minute rush when I make meals – so I gave her chickpeas and haricot beans and some veg to eat with her fingers along with the stew which had been briefly whizzed.

Now that she’s 9 months old she’s really honed her pincer grasp and sits absorbed at the dinner table picking up small pieces of food. Some of those pieces of food she casually drops on the floor but most do end up being eaten.


Peppers and courgettes are only just in season in the UK but not for long. I  buy organic (as much as possible), local when I can, and definitely British. Buying by season does make it harder in those Winter months when you’re missing out on salads and summer fruits and it does make you really appreciate produce when it comes into season again.


For the stew
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 red onions cut into wedges
Red and yellow pepper cut into 1 cm wedges
2 courgettes cut into batons
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
Half a tin of 400g haricot beans (optional)*
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons tomato purée
Handful of fresh basil chopped
zest from one lemon
200ml very low salt stock (not for babies) or water (for babies)

For the cous cous
200g whole grain (if you can find it) cous cous
300 ml water
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

How to…

In a pan on a medium heat cook the onion, courgette, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the smoked paprika and tomato purée stir and cook for a few minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and stock or water and cook for 20 minutes.
Zest the lemon and put to one side.

To make the cous cous, mix together 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, stir into the cous cous, then add and mix in the 300ml of water.
Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Then fluff up with a fork.

Now add the beans and chickpeas, lemon and basil to the stew and and cook for 10 more minutes then serve.

Make sure you allow it to cool enough. For babies, either chop into smaller pieces or whizz a few times with the blender.  For younger babies (+6 months)  thin with a little of baby’s usual milk to consistency required.

Portion sizes

The recommended portion sizes (from Caroline Walker Trust):

Babies from 7-9 months:  80g of stew / 50g of couscous with 20g vegetable finger food

Babies 10-12 months: 90g of stew /60g couscous with 30g vegetable finger food

1-4 year olds : 115g stew / 80g couscous with 40g vegetable finger food

5-11 year olds: 140g stew / 120g couscous with 80g vegetable finger food

*I didn’t want to add the whole tin as thought would be too much – but might be fine – I used the rest in a beef stew a couple of days later.


Blueberry flapjack recipe

Look what we picked at Trehane nursery near Wimborne, today. I am sitting munching on blueberry’s as I type. They’re the healthy alternative to sweets and and cost £7 a kilo. Online I can see that one supermarket can match this price – I don’t think they are from the UK, let alone local or consumed the same day that they are picked!

I am trying to come up with blueberry recipes as feel sure that there are only so many we can eat au naturel, and while I am going to freeze some, I want to think of some creative ways to use them in recipes.
Which cereal bar report?

Which published a report on Monday rating supermarket bought cereal bars. They found that most were high in sugar, fat and/or salt. Nothing has really changed over the years with cereal bars – they are high in sugar usually – as the focus of many company’s health claims is that a product is low in fat then it’s healthy – so instead they will tend to add extra sugar (more than is needed) and sometimes will include additives.

What to look for in a cereal bar

If you buy cereal bars, forget the healthy halo – see them as biscuits:

  • Avoid bars with unrecognisable ingredients that you wouldn’t find in your kitchen cupboards.
  • Look for bars with at least some fibre – this will slow down their release of energy (bars high in fibre contain 6g or more per 100g).
  • Organic does not automatically mean it’s healthy in terms of nutrient profile – it can still be high in sugar, fat and salt. Organic products however will not contain artificial additives or hydrogenated fats.

Even better, make your own, it doesn’t take long, it’s cheaper, you know what’s in it. Just have them for pudding or a sweet – they’re great for picnics. Don’t ever have them for breakfast – you wouldn’t have a biscuit for breakfast now would you?

So here’s the first of hopefully many blueberry recipes: organic blueberry flapjack


Makes 12-16 small Flapjacks

Will keep for 4 days in an air tight container – though they probably won’t last that long.

You will need…

110g butter*
100g of blueberries
5 tbsp runny honey
50g almonds chopped**
190g whole oats
35g wholemeal or white flour (I used spelt wholegrain flour which has a nutty flavour)

How to…

  • Grease a 7 inch square shallow tin and pre-heat the oven to 180°C/gass mark 5.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and put in a bowl.
  • Add the honey or golden syrup and stir until it has dissolved and then mix in the oats, flour, blueberries and almonds.
  • Press into the baking tray evenly.
  • Bake for between 22-25 minutes until golden brown and firm.
  • Cut into squares while still warm but leave until cool.
  • Put a big plate over the tray and flip the flapjack onto it and peel off the paper.
  • Then flip again onto another plate so its the right side up.

*This is the lowest amount of butter that would work for this recipe.

**Try other nuts and/or seeds.