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Annabel Karmel talks to us about her baby-led weaning recipes

While lots of parents start out with smooth purees for spoon feeding, baby-led weaning has never been more popular. The idea behind this new feeding trend is that you allow your baby to decide what foods they want to eat, when and how much. It’s all about allowing them to go at their own pace and explore a variety of foods, tastes and textures for themselves. So whether you’re about to wean and thinking of exploring the baby-led weaning approach, or simply looking for new baby-friendly finger foods and family meals to liven up your mealtimes then why not try these recipes from leading children’s cookery author Annabel Karmel.

Here are some recipes to get you started…

Krispie Chicken Nuggets

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Makes: 2-3 child portions

Ingredients
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil
• 45g Rice Krispies
• 1 tbsp finely grated mature Cheddar cheese
• 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp milk
• 4 tbsp plain flour
• 200g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1.5cm / ½ in cubes dips, to serve (optional)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

2. Place half the oil in the bowl of a food processor with the Rice Krispies and grated cheeses and blitz to evenly combine (you may need to stop and scrape the mixture down from the sides of the bowl a couple of times). Alternatively, crush them in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. Transfer the Krispie mixture to a wide, shallow bowl or a large plate.

3. Whisk the egg in a small bowl with the milk and mix the flour with a little salt and pepper (if using) and spread it out on a large plate. Grease a baking sheet with the remaining oil.

4. Toss the chicken cubes in the flour, dip them in the egg, then coat them in the Krispie coating. Lay them on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy, turning them over halfway.

Serve immediately, with dips if you wish (mayonnaise, ketchup).

Veggie Balls

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Makes: 15 veggie balls

Ingredients
• 1 large white potato (about 440g)
• 40g dried or Panko breadcrumbs
• 50g carrot, grated
• 4 spring onions, chopped
• 50g brown mushrooms, chopped
• 40g grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
• 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
• 2 tsp soy sauce (for babies over 12 months old)
• 1 tsp sweet chilli sauce (for babies over 12 months old)
• 1–2 tbsp plain flour
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method
1. Prick the potato and bake it in the microwave for 7–10 minutes until soft. Leave to cool, then cut it in half and scoop out the flesh – you will need 250g potato.

2. Put the cool potato and remaining ingredients (except the flour and the oil) in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper (if using) and shape it into 15 equal-sized balls.

3. Place the flour in a bowl and lightly coat the balls in flour. Transfer them to plate and chill for 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot. Fry the balls for about 2 minutes until golden all over and heated through. Serve with cucumber sticks and halved cherry tomatoes, or a mayonnaise dip with sweet chilli sauce.

Starting your weaning journey?

Take a look at Annabel’s rundown of the best weaning products, including our award-winning Tidy Tot.