The Little Lady doesn’t really pose any challenges when it comes to food choices and eating. She’ll try most foods and really it is only the limitations that we place on her dishes that mean she doesn’t have lots of some things. Take for example mushrooms – someone at View From a Daddy’s detests mushrooms from the smell of them to the feel of them so they don’t get consumed very often (there is whole other blog waiting to be written about the limitations that a parent’s own food hates can have on their child’s choices but that’s for another day). On the whole however, we eat pretty much most things and vary our menus quite often. One of my favourites is Indian inspired cuisine. I’m always keen to receive an authentic Indian treat and while I don’t miss going to an office one jot, when I was trapped in the rat race, one thing that kept me going until Friday was the promise of a hand made samosa. So, when we were asked to test out some of the recipes from Zainab Jagot Ahmed’s Easy Indian Super Meals I was keen to get started.
You’ll know that making time to prepare and execute fresh dishes can be tricky when there are small humans to be entertained and monitored but now that the Little Lady is able to get involved, food prep. is a damned sight easier than it used to be. We decided together which recipe to try out first but imagine my excitement when I came across a combination of my two favourite food things in the whole world in one dish – an Indian Cottage Pie. I may have swayed the decision slightly. In my opinion, my nan makes the best cottage pie in the world but I was willing to give her a run for her money. Mrs View From a Daddy once served me one up, in the early days of marriage when I wasn’t in charge of cooking, with a dead fly in the middle (needless to say I didn’t eat it) so I have the edge on judging a good from a bad cottage pie. I was hopeful for a new take on this dish and it didn’t disappoint with a spicy and sweet taste sensation (even if I do say so myself – watch out nan).
The dish was easy to create. With most of the ingredients in the cupboard or fridge (save for the ginger for us), the Indian Cottage Pie can be a go to when you want something with a bit of a kick (optional) and heart warming. The recipes guide you through step by step indicating what options you have for flavour for your little feasters. We added the cayenne pepper to our dish but this was something we could decide upon dependent upon how hot we wanted the dish to be. Little VFAD likes spice so we went for it! (watch this space).
With the range of delicious spices that the recipe includes, we discussed the smells and scents that were emanating from the sizzling pan as we went along. Little VFAD helped to add the ingredients and spotted the difference in colours and textures of the foods as we cooked. This meal fits into the stage 4 (1-3 years plus) section of the book but there are many other options for you and your weaning baby or foody toddler. What I love about this book is that it provides lots of information about the benefits of different foods such as the antioxidant levels and the antibiotic nature of spices. It guides you through a planner on how to introduce the ‘Super Spices’ to baby – super does not indicate the strength – there is no shocking of baby’s taste buds here instead ‘super’ indicates the health benefits so you may find yourself adding mint or cinnamon to foods not just the pungent spices of turmeric and coriander. This cook book really is a great place from which to learn about naturally flavoursome foods for your baby and toddler. Meals can be easily prepared and enjoyed by the whole family too. Unlike some bland mush that I have created previously, the recipes in this book give you an alternative to the usual baby starter foods.
Zainab Jagot Ahmed’s Easy Indian Super Meals offers an exciting new voice and a fresh perspective on weaning providing easy to access ‘how-tos’ on encouraging children to love their food whatever their stage.
Easy Indian Super Meals takes flavour-inspiration from Indian home-cooking, combining ingredients naturally full of goodness – ‘Super Foods’ – with ingredients naturally packed with flavour – ‘Super Spices’ – to create simple, super-delicious recipes suitable for children from 7 months old.
After today’s success, we are going to try the Cardamom Chicken Curry and then work our way through all of the delicious looking meals! We might even find one with mushrooms in.
You can buy this fabulous book from Amazon.