Last weekend I was chatting to someone and mentioned that Nino isn’t going to be allowed refined sugar until he turns one. The topic came up because we were eating flapjacks which Nino was desperate to try – you know, that full body baby intention with propeller arms and slightly wild eyes – and this mean mama diverted his attention with a crust of bread instead. Lots of people I discuss this no-sugar rule with think it’s a perfectly sensible idea in an era where we’ve come to see the sweet stuff as the root of all evil, but this particular someone looked at me with the weary eyes of a parent of more than one child. ‘Wait til you’re onto littlest loaf number three, you’ll be feeding them birthday cake for breakfast without batting an eyelid’.
True as this may be, I’m sticking with the courage of my first time mum convictions for now and allowing Nino sugar only in the form of fruit, milk etc for the next two months. There’s a whole rainbow of incredible natural sweets he’s been working his way through before anything more processed. And although straight up juice is a no-no for those teeth (six so far with an adorable middle gap), when an irresistible urge to bake takes hold of me, there’s the possibility of naturally sweetened wholesome treats like these spelt and apple stars.
Since starting Nino on solids (for a more detailed description of what he’s been eating, see this weaning post), I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and ideas of what to make him. While the arrival of four top teeth and some serious chewing skills means we’re close to being able to eat pretty much the same meals as a family, I still find finger foods a bit of a battle ground. If something’s too hard there’s the choking risk, too soft and Nino will mush it into a sort of sticky hand cream and even if I achieve perfectly textured perfection, ninety percent of whatever food I’m offering usually ends up on the floor or smeared inside a neck or thigh crease. Unless, that is, it’s so tasty he just can’t help but cram it into his mouth.
Enter these sweet little stars, a recipe from The River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook which is a bit of a bible when it comes to family food inspiration. The ethos of the book’s author Nikki Duffy is that, beyond those early days of slop and spoon feeding, you should be able to feed your whole family the same things with just a few modifications (e.g. omitting salt or choking hazards, for example). And while I’m still more of a double chocolate chunk cookie girl at heart, these crisp little biscuits really hit the mark at any age if you’re in need of a quick and wholesome snack. To get the recipe and read a bit more about my cooking adventures with Nino, visit Make and Taste, a lovely children’s lifestyle blog which features different contributors and the recipes they love to make with their kids.