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River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook
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191 of 200 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 23 April 2011
I am something of a River Cottage addict, and, with a 2 year old at home, when I noticed this book appearing in my recommendations I had a closer look. I did hesitate on whether to order it or not, given that I don't own any other books specifically aimed at feeding children. A read reveals that is an absolute bible on feeding your child - from breastfeeding all the way through to adulthood. Throughout the book preaches a message of trying to relax and give your child a balanced varied diet.

Before getting into the recipes, the book gives advice on a number of areas including why to cook for your children - ranging from the better taste, control in what goes in to reducing packaging. Good food shopping is next on the list. All fairly obvious, but it does set the book firmly in the River Cottage corner. Despite providing a normal index at the back, Nikki gives a very thorough and useful 6 page table, split up by vegetable/fruit, giving when it is in season, how to store it, what do with a glut and where the recipes are in the book. Glut ideas - for apples - range from pureeing to grating to use in cakes, coleslaw and burgers. This Raw Ingredients chapter ends with the things to avoid - E-numbers, processed foods and too much sugar/salt and the wrong sort of fat.

The next chapter is The First Year - the great food adventure begins. This chapter includes breastfeeding, formula feeding, milk (even what formula to choose),when to wean, weaning, allergenic food and reluctant eaters.

Nutrition - what exactly does your child need - follows next. Basically a thorough overview of a good varied diet, including drinks, quantities, vegetarian and vegan diets, salt, sugar, what you shouldn't give to children before a certain age (generally because of a risk of choking, infection, or is potentially toxic for a small child), food allergies and intolerance.

Problems with Food - dealing with conflict and anxiety at mealtimes. This was of particular interest to me given my 2 year olds current efforts to exert himself and his refusal of many of the things I've prepared for him. Nikki advice includes issues over food, food refusal, eating too much and not eating enough. She gives guidance on how to deal with anxiety when your child refuses what you give them and how to cope with difficult mealtimes, and concludes on how to encourage your child to eat well.

Cooking for the family - a flexible approach - is the chapter that finally gets to the recipes! The chapter starts with a few pages of advice, including notes on ingredients and cooking with your kids. Starting with single ingredient purees, from beetroot to sweet potato and then moving on to mixed purees (parsnip and apple/chicken and lettuce), I wish I had had this book when my son was at the puree stage, the purees even sound tasty to me.

The next chapters give recipes by season. Each recipe contains an overview of the nutritonal value of the meal (not in calories), and gives advice on how to adapt the recipe if required and variations. I've given a few recipes for each season to give you an idea of what's included.

Spring - Avocado and Houmous salad, Frittata, Saag paneer, Chowder, Golden goujons, Chicken liver pate, Oaty rhubarb crumble

Summer - Tangy tofu dip, Courgette and cheese dip, Courgette polpette, Pea risotto, Lamb curry, baked peaches.

Autumn - Apple muesli, Cheese and apple on toast, Carrot and lentil soup, Felafel, Fish and fennel pizza, Banana and Sultana cake, Steamed pumpkin pudding, Pear and nut smoothie.

Winter - Eggy bread, Beetroot coleslaw, Brussel sprouts gratin, Little toads in the hole, Baby baked apples, Apricot and orange loaf.

All Year Round - Basic bread, Spelt and apple stars, Polenta 'chips', White bean houmous, Rice pudding.

I have to admit that I wasn't an avid reader of baby food books and I didn't have tremendously high hopes when I ordered this book - but I am really impressed. There are numerous recipes I will try here, not only for my little boy, but for my family. I will also read over Nikki's advice on refusal again; she makes some good points and they're certainly worth a go. Another worthy addition to the River Cottage cookbook collection.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2013
really great book, discusses baby led and 'standard' weaning and really promotes a mix of the two to suit you - ideal in my opinion and just what i was looking for
lovely recipes, healthy, simple and lots of tips too
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2013
I've made many of the recipes from this book for my son and the rest of the family. Great for weaning and toddler stages
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on 29 April 2015
I bought this book when my second child was a young baby and over the past 18 months it has become my one of my favourite cookbooks. I like it so much that I bought two more copies and gave them away as presents to new mothers.
I liked that it had ideas for purees (as well as good advice on the best way to prepare and store particular vegetable or fruit in the puree form) as well as finger foods for babies, and I like that it has lots of meal ideas that are suitable for young children but also for adults. This was very important because we eat dinner together and I do not want to cook two (or three!) separate meals. Some recipes have become our family favourites: carrot and lentil soup (I seem to make it every few weeks!) and fish pasta bake, or the pumpkin steamed pudding--the latter was one of my son's favourite finger foods when he was an older baby. There were very few flops: the only recipe that did not turn out well were sultana buns.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2012
Great recipes for babies! Love that it includes recipes for BLW and recipes are divided into seasons to include seasonal fruit and veg accordingly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2015
Some great ideas and most of them very quick and easy. I love the fact the receipes are adapted for adults/babies and toddlers which saves making different meals every night. Thank you!
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on 5 August 2013
I'm very pleased with this book.
Firstly I like the fact it encourages BLW, secondly it helps when weaning baby for the first time.
I've decided to give BLW a go and sometimes my creative mind doesn't want to be creative so this book is packed full of recipe ideas suitable for babies and children without high salt and sugar contents.
I'm really enjoying the food in this book as not only is it great for my 6 month baby it's tasty for mum and dad too!
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on 7 January 2012
Really impressed with this book which provides everything one would need or want from a cooking book for the entire family. I especially enjoyed the first chapters which gave me plenty of background on the food my little one would need. I also love the fact that the menus are made per seasons to maximise the goodness on offer in the local markets! I'd recommend this book to all new mums and not so new mums who are bored of cooking the same food...
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on 26 April 2015
Brilliant purchase!! Really good intro that gives an informed, balanced overview of the different approaches to weaning and feeding your baby. The recipes themselves are fantastic. I've cooked 80percent of them so far and all of them work brilliantly. My daughter loves the food from this book (as do we). I've bought my best friends copies when they had their first children I loved it so much.
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on 26 April 2012
I love this book. It has lots of fab recipes for all the family. The title is a bit misleading.

Favourites so far Saag Paneer, Polenta Chips, Carrot and Lentil Soup, Salmon Risotto, Rice Pudding, Sour dough Bread, Falafel and burgers to name but a few. The only one that didn't work for me was the pork hash.

I recommended this to lots of people who also love it.
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