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River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook

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'This is a book about feeding children, but these recipes are for adults too. I don't think there should be any sharp distinctions between 'baby food', 'children's food' and 'grown-up food'. It's a spectrum the whole family can be on, the food each person eats becoming a little more sophisticated and seasoned as they mature.' Nikki Duffy brings the River Cottage ethos to feedin 'This is a book about feeding children, but these recipes are for adults too. I don't think there should be any sharp distinctions between 'baby food', 'children's food' and 'grown-up food'. It's a spectrum the whole family can be on, the food each person eats becoming a little more sophisticated and seasoned as they mature.' Nikki Duffy brings the River Cottage ethos to feeding children, and shows that it's never too early to involve the youngest family members in mealtimes. Her delicious seasonal purées and simple, wholesome recipes put the needs and wants of babies and toddlers first, whilst offering up dishes that will delight adults too. With clear advice on nutrition and weaning, The River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook is the perfect starting point for your child's great food adventure. Start the day with breakfasts like blueberry pancakes, apple muesli or eggy bread, followed by simple and delicious meals like fishcakes, meatballs, shepherd's pie, home-made pizza, falafel, mackerel pâté, pea risotto or roasted fish with tomato sauce. Nice little puddings include baby baked apples with chocolate, rhubarb crumble and a classic rice pudding. With an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, this book will put real food on the table for the whole family to share.


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'This is a book about feeding children, but these recipes are for adults too. I don't think there should be any sharp distinctions between 'baby food', 'children's food' and 'grown-up food'. It's a spectrum the whole family can be on, the food each person eats becoming a little more sophisticated and seasoned as they mature.' Nikki Duffy brings the River Cottage ethos to feedin 'This is a book about feeding children, but these recipes are for adults too. I don't think there should be any sharp distinctions between 'baby food', 'children's food' and 'grown-up food'. It's a spectrum the whole family can be on, the food each person eats becoming a little more sophisticated and seasoned as they mature.' Nikki Duffy brings the River Cottage ethos to feeding children, and shows that it's never too early to involve the youngest family members in mealtimes. Her delicious seasonal purées and simple, wholesome recipes put the needs and wants of babies and toddlers first, whilst offering up dishes that will delight adults too. With clear advice on nutrition and weaning, The River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook is the perfect starting point for your child's great food adventure. Start the day with breakfasts like blueberry pancakes, apple muesli or eggy bread, followed by simple and delicious meals like fishcakes, meatballs, shepherd's pie, home-made pizza, falafel, mackerel pâté, pea risotto or roasted fish with tomato sauce. Nice little puddings include baby baked apples with chocolate, rhubarb crumble and a classic rice pudding. With an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, this book will put real food on the table for the whole family to share.

30 review for River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This is the first time I've reviewed a cookbook, but it's my new favourite book and deserves a shout-out. I started Hugh on solids at about 7 months or just before - it's hard to keep track! - it was in February, anyway; and was feeling a bit lost as to how to approach it and what to give him. One of my sisters recommended this book and it's easily the best baby food book I've seen (I got two others and they're fine but this one set the bar high). For those of you who haven't heard of River Cott This is the first time I've reviewed a cookbook, but it's my new favourite book and deserves a shout-out. I started Hugh on solids at about 7 months or just before - it's hard to keep track! - it was in February, anyway; and was feeling a bit lost as to how to approach it and what to give him. One of my sisters recommended this book and it's easily the best baby food book I've seen (I got two others and they're fine but this one set the bar high). For those of you who haven't heard of River Cottage before, it is in the UK and is named after the actual River Cottage in Dorset, where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, a British writer, broadcaster and celebrity chef, lived with his family (I'm not sure if he still does) and started something of a project with the following principles: "less dependence on the outside world, food integrity, and the consumption of local, seasonal produce." They teach cooking, veggie gardening and hold other events, and generally promote good quality, sustainable eating and home-cooked meals. Here in Canada, you should recognise Hugh from Gordan Ramsay's show, The F-Word (one of the only decent shows on the Food Network), but if you live in the UK and Australia you'd be more familiar with River Cottage through his TV shows and books. Nikki Duffy is a food writer and former editor who works with Fearnley-Whittingsall on River Cottage projects, including the tenth River Cottage book, on growing herbs. I like his description of her work on this book, in his foreword: Nikki's approach is based, as it should be, on capturing a baby's natural enthusiasm and curiosity for food, but she knows that's rarely as straightforward as it sounds. So her pragmatic mixture of awareness, ingenuity (bordering on cunning) and optimistic persistence is both inspiring and trouble-shooting. [...] Veering towards 'baby-led' weaning, which Nikki explains with great clarity, we have learned to tolerate a fair degree of mess for the sheer joy of watching Louisa feed herself, with a surprising degree of competence and good judgement. And that's been my experience, as well. The first 100 pages are solid reading material, covering everything from breast milk and formula, choosing ingredients, cooking vs. buying pre-made baby food, and things to avoid; to starting the "great food adventure" and the options you have: spoon-feeding and baby-led weaning. This book explains everything: when to start weaning, how to go about it, what cues to look for, how to best prepare your child for a lifetime of healthy eating, food allergies, age-appropriate food, fussy eaters, nutrition, sugar, salt and fat, vitamins and supplements, vegetarian and vegan diets, conflict at mealtimes, hygiene and cooking for the whole family. Sprinkled throughout these early chapters are anecdotes from other parents, which I loved because you get to hear a real variety of baby and toddler eating patterns and hearing other people's stories, you learn that there isn't really a "right" and a "wrong" way, and that a lot of behaviour that frustrates you or makes you anxious is really very typical. What surprised me the most about this book, are the recipes. Aside from a great list of purees and mixed purees at the beginning, the rest of the book is full of great family meals, from breakfasts, dinners, snacks and desserts, for everyone to enjoy. And it's not just for the toddlers with a full set of teeth, either. Here I learnt about "baby-led weaning", which is basically offering your baby, from 6 months of age, small pieces of food that they can handle themselves and learn to eat. If the sound of this freaks you out, you might not be ready to try it, but if you put some trust in your baby you'd be surprised. While I spoon-fed brown rice cereal and purees to my baby, Hugh, I also started offering him chunks of banana and steamed broccoli florets (with stem). The first banana experiment, he mostly just played with it and smeared it all over his tray, getting it on the floor, on the back of his head, in his ears and up his nose. Not to mention all over his clothes. He had great fun. With the broccoli, he was able to hold it by the stem and gnaw on the head, and he did actually eat some of it. I moved on from there, trying great finger food recipes from this book like the zucchini balls (p.154), mini omelette-quiche things (p.180), spinach and onion tart (p.151) and frittata (p.124). I've barely scraped the surface, but Hugh enjoys his finger food probably more than the purees (for some reason, he's quite keen on the gluggy-looking brown rice cereal, barley cereal and oatmeal cereal!). I don't expect him, at this age and this early on in the great food adventure, to actually eat all that much of it - breastmilk is still his main food, and he wolfs down cereal and purees - but it's a beginning. This was once a "Courgette Polpette" (zucchini ball) The best bit about the spinach and onion tart is the puff pastry! Most of the spinach ends up on the floor. Each recipe comes with a tip on feeding it to babies, and a few recipes are not recommended for them (or an ingredient should be left out). There are tips for spicing recipes up a bit for older kids and grown-ups, and lots of encouragement to experiment and adapt the recipes to suit your own tastes. By far and large, this book is full of highly edible recipes. You know how most cookbooks, you get them because there are a dozen recipes in them that you just have to have, but a lot of it you never even try because it looks too complicated or doesn't sound appealing to your own taste buds? Well here I can see myself making almost everything at least once. A lot of the recipes are surprisingly basic, but what the River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook gives you - and what I really needed - was confidence. Here I was with a baby old enough to start eating, and I wasn't sure what to feed him, how much to give him, how often, or how to feed him. This book not only gave me my confidence back (I love cooking and baking and we always make our own meals from scratch), but fired me up with enthusiasm. Because Duffy - and the River Cottage - encourages you to include your baby in your family meals, to pass him or her food off your plate, to let your baby sample and explore food so that they become open to trying different things. As someone who has always been a bit of a picky eater myself (certain textures in particular put me off, and I have something like a phobia of beans), I want my child to have a varied diet from the beginning. Duffy says that if you can give your baby a wide variety of tastes and textures between 6 and 9 months, they are much less likely to be fussy or picky eaters later, that after 9 months babies start to "close down" on new things (p.47). It doesn't sound like much time but three months go by pretty slowly when you're at home with a baby. :) I hadn't encountered this approach before, but I was willing to tamp down my anxiety and fear of choking to try it - and I've been rewarded. Hugh, like all babies, takes his cues from his parents, especially his mother. We have meals together and I keep an eye on him, but not in an anxious, hovering way that could make him feel tense or unsure. I offer him small pieces of food that he often tears apart into even smaller pieces - it's all been pre-cooked and is age-appropriate in terms of low dairy content, no salt or sugar (except for what's in cheese), no spices or nuts, that kind of thing. And he'll work his way through a dish for two or three days before we change it up, so there's time to know if his body doesn't like it. So far, everything looks good. There is always a danger of choking, but in fact babies have a better gag reflex than we do, and Hugh's been able to cough since birth: if something gets too far back in his throat, he's able to bring it back. He also uses his fingers a lot. He's learning to control the food in his mouth, moving from fingers to tongue, and I still remember watching him figure out how to put the food between his gums (he has no teeth yet but his gums are bone-hard) to chew on it, and it was very cool. As Duffy says, "Like many other baby-led weaners, I believe that allowing a baby to control what goes into their own mouth can actually make choking less likely. If they have the motor skills to pick something up, then they should have the oral skills to chew it." (p.47) (Hugh's been practicing his "pincer grip" on his toys for some time now, and the food is just a natural extension of that.) Baby-led weaning is also considered the best way to continue to let babies self-regulate their food intake, as they do when breast-fed. It all makes a huge mess, of course, but so what? In this age of fast food, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, I want to go back to Tasmania, have my own veggie patch, buy local, and cook. If I can give my baby a healthy start to life and a great approach to home-cooked meals full of nutrients, then I consider myself a good mum! And it has the best roast chicken recipe I've come tried yet.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Copperwhite

    Great book but WHY no index I bought this as an eBook present though we already have the printed book that is so well used it's falling apart. The original book has a comprehensive index. This has been left out of the eBook. Why? Indexes in cookery books are very useful. It's hardly a cheap eBook so it shouldn't be a cut down version of the printed book. Great book but WHY no index I bought this as an eBook present though we already have the printed book that is so well used it's falling apart. The original book has a comprehensive index. This has been left out of the eBook. Why? Indexes in cookery books are very useful. It's hardly a cheap eBook so it shouldn't be a cut down version of the printed book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kornelis Sietsma

    Great recipe book with a lot of simple healthy options for babies and toddlers - and adults too. Good also for providing positive advice for baby led weaning approaches, without excluding those who want to mash everything up into baby food!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I got hold of this book to read because my veg box company had started selling it - along with pushing a range of organic baby purées labelled 'from four months' So I wanted to check it out before making my complaint to the veg box company about encouraging parents to believe that 4 months was the normal appropriate age for introducing solid food (like the rest of the food retail industry) I am relieved to find that it is a pretty decent book. There are some things I would have liked to have seen I got hold of this book to read because my veg box company had started selling it - along with pushing a range of organic baby purées labelled 'from four months' So I wanted to check it out before making my complaint to the veg box company about encouraging parents to believe that 4 months was the normal appropriate age for introducing solid food (like the rest of the food retail industry) I am relieved to find that it is a pretty decent book. There are some things I would have liked to have seen in the section on the milk-alone phase of infancy - it is emphatically behind breastfeeding but rather along the 'breast is best' rather than 'breast is normal physiology' It also gives undue prominence to the school of thought (which does exist) that says babies *should* be introduced to solid food earlier than six months and quotes a psychologist (note, a psychologist, not a dietician) who thinks leaving it until six months is 'cutting it a bit fine' because of a window of opportunity for new flavours - completely ignoring that this is irrelevant to breastfed babies who have been experiencing flavour variety all along. On further investigation this clinical psychologist appears to have relationships with companies who, it could be argued, do not have a financial interest in babies being exclusively breastfed to six months... However, considered overall, compared with most other books of this type, it is a very thorough section. It's also, and this doesn't surprise me from the River Cottage brand, rather lacking information on vegetarian and vegan diets, and quite heavy on the dairy, meat and fish in the recipes. Other than that, the recipes are great - not too fussy, not too dull. The tone of the book is very pleasant, the production values are suitably high... and I've made a note of some of the recipes to try.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I absolutely love this cookbook, and I only got it because a friend found it utterly useless and passed it along. One woman's trash = another woman's treasure! I got my hands on this after my daughter was past the weaning stage, but I imagine all the great bit at the beginning about choosing seasonal foods and how to introduce different things to weaning children would have been excellent. I did make a number of the purees in the book for her, some that I've even served as dips at adult parties I absolutely love this cookbook, and I only got it because a friend found it utterly useless and passed it along. One woman's trash = another woman's treasure! I got my hands on this after my daughter was past the weaning stage, but I imagine all the great bit at the beginning about choosing seasonal foods and how to introduce different things to weaning children would have been excellent. I did make a number of the purees in the book for her, some that I've even served as dips at adult parties to great acclaim! The nice thing about this book is that it is healthy, simple, and infinitely adaptable. A favorite in our house is something called 'Egg Puzzles', which is essentially a bastardization of one of the recipes in here for mini crustless quiches, which hit our needs of gluten-free, tasty, and filled with veggies. Recommend this for anyone with kids, whether you love or loathe cooking (and I fall in the second category!).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Overall, I was not a fan of this book. I'm always on the lookout for more recipes to serve my son as I tend to totally blank out when it comes to his meals. For a mother who is just taking her child from breast/bottle feeding to solids, this book is a great source of information. My son is 15 months so a lot of this stuff I had read before. I did like the cooking with your kids section, which relates how children as young as 18 months can help prepare food. I would like to try the Saag Paneer an Overall, I was not a fan of this book. I'm always on the lookout for more recipes to serve my son as I tend to totally blank out when it comes to his meals. For a mother who is just taking her child from breast/bottle feeding to solids, this book is a great source of information. My son is 15 months so a lot of this stuff I had read before. I did like the cooking with your kids section, which relates how children as young as 18 months can help prepare food. I would like to try the Saag Paneer and Steamed Pumpkin Pudding recipes. I probably would've given this book two stars for the amount of recipes I actually managed to get out of it, plus the fact that they don't convert it to American measurement equivalents. However, because of the above helpful information, I decided to give it three stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellie M

    This was a pretty good recipe book packed full of recipes suitable for all the family (gave advice for how to alter recipes for babies and how to develop the recipes for older children and adults). Yet to actually make any of the recipes but they seem pretty straightforward. The recipes were mixed between some totally veggie and some meat based, although advice was given in the forward on how to cater for veggie or vegan diets, and substitute foods suggested. Also liked the very sensible advice gi This was a pretty good recipe book packed full of recipes suitable for all the family (gave advice for how to alter recipes for babies and how to develop the recipes for older children and adults). Yet to actually make any of the recipes but they seem pretty straightforward. The recipes were mixed between some totally veggie and some meat based, although advice was given in the forward on how to cater for veggie or vegan diets, and substitute foods suggested. Also liked the very sensible advice given for dealing with fussy eaters.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Cameron

    Brilliant suggestions for kids and adults especially for fussy eaters!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  10. 4 out of 5

    A Sarokin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie Vilton

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fatimal

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Cornfield

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emma Price

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elen Roberts

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abimbola Jelugbo

  19. 5 out of 5

    S N Ghalib

  20. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

  21. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Conaghan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Faye Murray

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gavin nugent

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mark Santry

  25. 4 out of 5

    MRS LM HILL

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Robinson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Bird

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexa Butler

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lammi Hearne-Sirman

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