That's it, I've said it now! Should I hide for fear of releasing of whole storm of mummy-hatred? Probably not. It's not that I hate her, I own several of her books, it's just that I'm bored of her, and that can't be good, right? Actually I'm also a little bit suspicious of her; she has perfect hair, perfect clothes and a perfect smile, how can a woman who looks like that SERIOUSLY be an expert in feeding babies? Surely, to truly be an expert in this field you should have weetabix in your hair, blueberries all over your dress, (usually in a place where you can't see them but everyone else you meet can) very smelly milky vomit on your shoes and a weary expression. To be really true to life she should probably also be toting either a massive coffee or a gin and tonic.
I'm sorry to say this Annabel love, but I don't consider "Take banana, mash banana - feed to baby" to be a "Recipe". It isn't. Neither is "Add lemon curd to Greek yogurt - feed to baby". I'm bitterly jealous of anyone who makes their millions coming up with such silliness.
I think her ideas are great for those early stages, but we are currently at that difficult stage when puree is out but toddler meals aren't suitable yet. I have to confess that we've fallen into a bit of a lazy rut recently, especially when we have had a few days away and This Baby was fed largely on jars of baby food. That isn't something I have a particular problem with, I highly rate Ella's Kitchen and I think their pouches are bloomin' marvellous, they actually taste of what they're meant to contain. And yes, I've eaten some! If she's gotta eat it, the least I can do is try it. No, the problem I have is that there isn't really much choice out there for this weaning stage and we all know that eating the same thing over and over and over in an endless cycle can soon get pretty tiring.
So I decided that I needed to pull my socks up a bit on the baby food front, especially as I had noticed This Baby had started producing red tinted poo due to an overload of tomato based products. Sorry for mentioning poo, it's a Mother thing, our post-partum conversations take an instant nose dive from slurry Saturday night debates such as "What's actually in a Mojito?" to biscuit in hand, tea fuelled chats with friends that seem quite normal dispute starting with the sentence "I was studying my little darling's poo the other day....." Some sort of conversational assassin sneaks in and takes over without our knowledge or understanding.
I would spend sodding ages messing about in the kitchen producing delicious nutritious meals for my oldest, I once faffed about for hours producing a homemade baby version of baked beans which contained cheese, chives and gold dust probably. Would she eat it? Would she heck! She still wont eat beans to this day, I probably scarred her.
I'm looking forward to the day when we can share our adult means with This Baby and just give her a simpler version of what we're having. We can pull that off sometimes now, chicken casserole, lentil daal, roasts and that sort of thing come her way, but some things aren't really suitable for one so little. If something is too grown up for her I noticed that she just spits it straight back out, this often seems to be when something is too dry for her palate, she needs some kind of sauce to help things slip down comfortably.
So yesterday I went about producing her a sauce with a base of fresh tomatoes, red onion, herbs and a little broccoli. This was then cooled and put into the freezer with a view to taking out a chunk and adding it a little of our meals so that's it's easier for her to deal with.   I didn't take pictures whilst I was making it, as I was too busy, well, making it. I'm also not going to insult your intelligence with a "Recipe" because it really isn't one. Just some food, suitable for a little tinker with a big appetite, smooshed up. But it looked good, smelt good and tasted yummy.
I also roasted some butternut squash with a view to doing the same, it's handy for making a sauce out of and adding to a little rice and cheese to form a risotto.
I've never been a particularly big fan of buying too much food that's specifically aimed at children, but after becoming an avid reader of Hattie's inspirational blog Free Our Kids I've really gone off the idea. I feel bad that I've fallen down this slippery slope and on this basis I'm going to try and limit the food based kiddie crap that we buy in future. One thing in particular that really annoys me is the concept of children's pasta. Pasta is pasta, right? There's no such thing as children's pasta! Just buy smaller shapes, or mash it up! Don't pay an extra £1.50 for the privilege of being told that's it's the perfect size.
One thing that I've stumbled upon for This Baby that I wanted to share with you that I swear by, SWEAR BY is Orzo, otherwise known as rice pasta. It's a fabulous size and a really interesting consistency. I bought this whopping great big bag from Tesco recently in the world food section for £1. There is a Tesco Finest one as well, but it costs double for the same amount and in my mind it's a less authentic version...
It's ideal for her little mouth, bulks out a vegetable puree or a sauce that I've made and tastes really good. In fact I was trying to get a fabulously arty shot of This Baby's bowl with her spoon in, but she was having none of that and whipped some of it it into her mouth impatiently. Now that's a very good sign!
I'd love to hear any hints or tips that you have for this stage of weaning. Any favourite recipes? Any suggestions or foods you can't live without? Please, please let me know . Hopefully we'll be able to stay off the jars for a little while!