Thursday, 3 January 2013

The River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cook Book

When it comes to cooking for babies, the masses will head for Annabel Karmel cook books because, let's face  it, they are well promoted and readily available. I quite like her baby cook book, but I really don't like her association with Clare Byam Cook, who makes her living promoting controversial advice about breastfeeding, so I was really glad when this number popped up in 2011.
While the book comes under the River cottage umbrella and foreworded by Hugh, the book is written by Nikki Duffy and is packed full of useful [non-biased] information about feeding babies as well as the recipes. It is a recipe book, after all.
It's split by season which is nice (I would not thank you for a winter strawberry myself), giving you a taste of what is available throughout the year. As with all cookbooks, there are gems of recipes, and those that you know the entire household would turn it's nose up at. Which is all fine, no-one from River Cottage is going to turn up and force feed you fish and fennel pizza. Even if you were to try no recipes from the book, the nutritional information Nikki packs the book with is really useful. On top of offering suggestions of how to adapt the recipes for babies, she also offers up the incorporation of purees into grown up meals, and a whole table of suggestions of what to do if you have a glut of something. Pea puree? Very Masterchef. It's not all 'posh nosh' though. I'm sure there are many out there who would struggle to roast a chicken or make a bolognese sauce from scratch. Basic recipes done well.
As for Evie's house? Our favourite recipes are for the sweet stuff. My favourite is the rice pudding made with coconut milk, served cold in the summer with raspberries or strawberries. A close second is the baked peaches, while or sheer cunningness is the apple and cheese on toast. There are lots of good, cheap wholesome meals in this book: pea risotto, carrot and lentil soup and frittata among them. It's not just a book for sitting on the shelf, it's practical and worth a look.


  1. Rice pudding made with coconut milk - sounds delicious for adults too!