Weaning recipe #2: Salmon and creme frâiche pasta pesto

Salmon creme fraiche pasta pesto

I came up with this recipe when my 7 year old was having salmon with new potatoes and vegetables.

I am weaning using a mixture of finger foods and purees/mashed/chopped dishes (more details in another blog post to follow).

This recipe works just as well with chicken instead of salmon (e.g. leftovers from Sunday lunch).

As shop-bought pesto has salt added it’s not ideal for babies. So I whizzed up my own – it doesn’t take long if you have a hand held blender or food processor. You can freeze what you don’t use in ice cube trays or it keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.

I used pine nuts, but if you or your partner have food allergies, eczema or asthma, your baby is at a higher risk of having a food allergy, so make pesto without the pinenuts. (see the NHS website for more information on foods that can cause food allergies). And of course, if you know your baby already has an allergy or has eczema or asthma then just exclude the pine nuts from the recipe.

When you’re preparing the basil do it alongside your baby if you can, so they can be involved in the food preparation. If you grow you own, they could “help” you to pick the leaves and help to wash them. Or just being able to explore the leaves through touch, smell and best of all, taste. The leaves are quite big so it’s a good idea to tear them into small, manageable pieces and at around this age, babies are developing their pincer hold – as shown in the photo below.

Exploring basil

Ingredients for pesto (Makes about 20 x teaspoon portion)

50g basil (washed)
6 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
15g (1 tbsp) pine nuts
30g (2 tbsps) parmesan
Quarter of a garlic clove

How to…

Put in food processor and whizz until quite but not completely smooth – see photo below.


Ingredients for the pasta dish (makes 3 portions)

100g (approx) Organic or wild Alaskan salmon fillet* (you need 30g cooked salmon per portion**)
Lemon wedge
150g cooked pasta*** (usually equal to 50g uncooked weight)
45g (3 level tablespoons) half fat organic creme frâiche
15g (3 teaspoons) pesto

How to…

Bake the salmon fillet in foil for 20 minutes at about 200˚C / gas mark 6 / 400˚F for 15-20 minutes (until it flakes easily).
Meanwhile cook the pasta as per instructions.
Run a little cold water through the pasta so it doesn’t stick together and put in a bowl.
If you are using larger pasta shapes or spaghetti then chop it up into mangeable pieces.
Once you have taken the salmon out of the oven, allow it to cool and remove the skin (if you haven’t already)
Break the salmon into small pieces with your fingers that are easy to eat.
Take your time as this way you can make sure you’ve removed all the bones.
Put all the ingredients into a bowl together with a squeeze lemon juice and stir.
If you are making this for a younger baby (7 or 8 months) then thin a little with baby’s usual milk and whizz briefly with blender to make to the consistency required.
Divide into three portions (each about 100g).****
Serve with two types of seasonal vegetables as finger food.

*Make sure that you are buying salmon from sustainable sources by using the Marine Stewardship Council’s product finder on their website.

**30g portion of cooked fish for 7-9 month olds, about 40g portion for 10-12 month olds, for children between 1-4 years about 45g per portion and 5-11 year olds about 90g (all from the Caroline Walker Trust CHEW! Guidance which you can download online)

***I’ve used orzo pasta as this is easy for babies to eat at around 8-9 months and does not need chopping. Any other pasta is fine too, it just needs chopping up.

****It will keep in the fridge for two days. You can freeze portions too and it will keep in the freezer for about 2 months.


Summer roasted vegetable lasagne recipe

This is what we had for our Meat Free Monday supper this week. I had been wanting to post this for ages, but had to wait for courgettes to come into season – then forgot all about it until I made it for supper last week.

You will need…
3 peppers (red and yellow – green peppers don’t roast as well, though they can be used too) cut into 1cm squares
2 courgettes sliced, smaller pieces halved, larger pieces quartered
Red onion cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves crushed
Handful of basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
50g butter
40g flour
570ml organic semi skimmed milk
60g organic parmesan cheese grated
grated nutmeg
125g organic mozzarella or cheddar cheese grated

How to…
Heat the oven to 220˚C/gas mark 6
Prepare the veg, mix in with the olive oil, crushed garlic, and torn basil leaves, season and put in a roasting tin, making sure that all the veg are touching the tin. Season with black pepper and roast for 15 minutes until roasted – but not overcooked as you don’t want to destroy all vitamin C in the veg.

While the veggies are roasting make your béchamel sauce.
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add the flour and stir into the butter until well mixed.
Allow the flour and butter mixture to cook through for 2 minutes.
Gradually add the milk, mixing in well and keep stirring to prevent sticking and lumps.
Once all the milk is added bring to the boil and allow to simmer on lowest heat for 2 minutes maximum.
Add some grated nutmeg and stir
Take of heat and add 45g parmesan and pour into a measuring jug using a spatular to waste as little as possible.
Take the roasted vegetables out of the oven and put in a bowl.
In an ovenproof dish layer the ingredients.

My daughter delegated the tasks that involved getting mucky hands to me.

First spread quarter of a pint of the sauce on the base of the dish.
Next add about a third of the roasted vegetables followed by third of the grated mozzarella and a layer of lasagne.
And then go through the same process until you have the top layer of lasagne topped with béchamel sauce.
Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese.
Put in the oven and cook at 180˚C/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.

Serve with a salad.

This dish will is high in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 – with the salad it also makes up 2 portions of veg. Oh and it’s cheap too – we’ve had it for supper two evenings in a row with tomato and basil salad the first night and wild rocket, tomato and avocado salad the second. All the ingredients were organic (and British – the mozzarella was from Lavestoke Park Farm from grass fed buffalo) apart from the lasagne, red onion and wild rocket. For two night’s dinners it cost £10.50 or £5.25 for each evening meal – not bad.