The Newborn Diaries: Finger Foods

27/04/2011 17:09 | Updated 22 May 2015

I didn't realise that once baby Diana would properly start to enjoy solid foods, I'd be spending every hour to hour-and-a-half either preparing a meal, feeding the babe, or dealing with the highly unpleasant post-solid meal nappy situation.

When you factor in mixing the milk, I might as well move the couch, computer, TV and my bed into the kitchen (all the easier for when I'm craving that next bit of chocolate).

I should clarify: Even though I still slave away at the stove (usually an effective way to procrastinate when I'm on deadline), thinking up riveting combinations of vegetables and fruits to turn into green mush for my infant, she is still wary of my culinary skills.

I think it's because I'm so paranoid about baby D becoming a sugar fiend that I try to make her super-healthy things that couldn't appeal to any baby (um, how about unsalted, unsweetened, spinach-cauliflower-broccoli mash, anyone?)

The reason I'm so nervous is because I know Diana already loves sweet-tasting things. Not only does she have a penchant for scoffing Petit Filous, but her eyes light up every time she sees me drink a milkshake (which is, embarrassingly, rather frequently), and when we gave her a tiny bit of croissant to sample, she was thrilled.

Most likely, all babies are like this, but do they have mothers with multiple cavities in each tooth who think scooping Nutella out of the jar is a healthier snack than the triple bar of Dairy Milk they used to consume? Probably not.

After my latest super-foods health puree inevitably fails, I end up stewing apples, pears and bananas together with a dollop of brown sugar because D loves it (and yes, so that I can take pride in the fact that finally, someone in the world voluntarily ate something that I cooked).

Increasingly, though, baby D is eager to feed herself, so finger foods (yay, something I don't even need to pretend to cook!) are becoming more of a mainstay in her diet. But now that she's tried all of the basics - rice cakes, carrot/cucumber sticks, pitta and most other types of bread, Plum Organics spelt biscuits (yes, spelt, and D loves them!), pieces of melon, mango and other fruits - I've decided it's time to branch out.

So I bought a baby cookbook.

Written by the high priestess of baby cuisine, Annabel Karmel, the Top 100 Finger Foods has really, really yummy-looking recipes like veggie tempura and banana bran muffins. And since they're for babies and toddlers, they are pretty well designed for someone like me: A chef with less than Nigella-esque abilities, who's time-poor to boot but wants her kid to eat nutritiously.

I made Diana an amazing tortilla margherita pizza (so good in fact, that my husband didn't believe I made it myself), but unfortunately didn't check that it wasn't really suitable for babies under one year. Diana wasn't particularly impressed.

So I ate the pizza. It was delicious. I was so spurred on by this gastronomic success that the next morning I made the pancakes with yogurt dip from the book (these are suitable for babies D's age). Unfortunately, that was the day the teething nightmare started, so Diana rejected them with a fury.

You can probably guess who ate them all.

But I am going to try a recipe a day in the hopes that D starts getting as excited about them as I am. Now armed with 1.5 bottom teeth, she was chewing a carrot stick with a new fervour this morning, so I'm pretty hopeful.

And I know where to find a willing taste-tester if D's not interested.

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