30 June 2018

# review

The flavour-led weaning with Zainab Jagot Ahmed*

Oh my, has it really been so long again? To be fair though, there has been a massive change in our lives again - we decided to leave Bedfordshire for the sunny (so far) Manchester! We're slowly adjusting and hopefully I can pick up the pace again.

Anyway - I'm lucky with the hot weather, because Aminah is nearly 8 months old, which means she's been enjoying her solids for a while now. And when I say enjoy, I mean my laundry detergent supply is nowhere near big enough.

When we started our weaning adventure, I got my hands on "The Flavour-led Weaning Cookbook" by Zainab Jagot Ahmed. Like probably most of us, she went through countless books, websites, forums and blogs to learn about weaning, but what she found left her underwhelmed. All the baby food just seemed... boring. Followed by extensive research into baby nutrition, food groups and the benefits of herbs and spices, Zainab started creating her own flavoursome baby food recipes, designed to tickle those little taste buds and encourage the love of variety in food.

flavour-led weaning

The book is great for all parents - both weaning beginners and those with a bit of experience. Zainab starts by explaining the weaning basics, including advice on when to start and how we know that baby is actually ready for it. She also explains two of the most common weaning techniques - spoon feeding and baby-led weaning, followed by an introduction to her concept of flavour-led weaning.

So, what actually is flavour-lew weaning? It's basically making sure, no matter what your weaning technique, that you provide the baby with variety of flavours from the start. The cookbook actually starts with the seemingly most basic fruit and vegetable purees, but there might be some flavours you'd never think to give to your baby - most of us probably stick to things like apple, carrot, potato, banana... While Zainab encourages us to try papaya, aubergine, or melons - things that are somewhat less obvious choices.throughout the book we're slowly moving into mixing ingredients and flavours (aubergine&cauliflower or pea&pear puree), adding spices like cinnamon, cardamom or ginger, through more textured meals to finger foods, chunkier meals and finally to big table means that whole family can enjoy.

Inspired by one of Zainab's stage 2 recipes for Tangy Apple Dhal, last time I cooked dhal for the family I made a portion for Aminah too. I made the masala in the usual way, skipping salt and chilli, but using ginger and garlic as well as some ground coriander and turmeric. 

I wish I had a book like this when weaning Adam, maybe he wouldn't have turned into such a fussy eater now ;) But I'm glad to have it now, it definitely encouraged me to be braver with feeding Aminah, and I know I can be bolder with the use of spices and flavours.

I'd definitely recommend this to anyone, not just those who are starting the weaning process, but also those with older babies and toddlers, looking for flavoursome age-appropriate meals.

You can get a copy HERE

*I was sent a copy of the above book by the author, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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