Roast squash, goats cheese and walnut filo parcels

Satisfying, crunchy parcels that you can eat with your hands if you want – they’re best hot and crisp out of the oven, but would make good picnic food too. These can, of course, be adapted to hold so many things – whatever cheese, veg, herbs and nuts you have around, and would also be…

Sweet potato and mackerel bites

Mackerel is one of those relatively strong flavours that I’m surprised how readily babies and small children take to – mackerel pate has been a favourite food of my daughter’s since she weaned. She’s always been a fan of various versions of these, but they’re definitely not ‘just’ for children; they make just as good a…

Sweet potato falafels

These freeze well, and are as good for babies (leave out the chilli!) as they are for party snacks, picnics or lunch boxes. Ingredients About 450g sweet potato 200g gram or plain flour 1 tin chickpeas, drained 1 small onion 4 cloves garlic A small bunch each of fresh coriander, parsley and mint 1/2 teaspoon…

Chicken and chorizo meatballs with spiced tomato sauce

Serves 3 as a main / 8 starter Ingredients Meatballs 100g chorizo 1 teaspoon paprika 1.5 tablespoons ricotta 300g chicken thigh fillets ½ 25g pack of basil Sauce 2 shallots, sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 red chilli, sliced (and deseeded, optional) ½ pack of basil, stalks and leaves separated, stalks chopped 1 teaspoon sweet smoked…

Beetroot hummus

Babies love this beautifully coloured dip spread on fingers of toast, or eaten off a spoon. It’s flavoursome enough for grown ups though: if you’re making it just for adults add a pinch of salt. As ‘hummus’ is the Arabic word for ‘chickpeas’ this is not technically hummus, but we all know what we mean……

Smoked mackerel pate

This is always a popular starter or light lunch. Pate is something that most people don’t think of making themselves, but as you can see it’s insanely easy. Don’t let it intimidate you: start with these measurements, then taste it – if you want more capers in there, put them in. More of a horseradish kick?…

Black pudding croquettes with caramelised pears

  This is a good ‘introduction’ to black pudding, particularly for children or people who feel a bit queasy about a straightforward fried slice. The mashed potato base is a fun way to use up leftovers and makes this a quick, make-ahead starter for dinner parties, or they’re a rich and nutritious weekday dinner, full of iron,…

Chickpea and broad bean falafel

Falafel is a star food: cheap, healthy, easy to make and good for snacks, a starter, finger food for babies, a quick lunch or as part of a salad for dinner. Goes excellently with tzatziki of course: de-seed and grate cucumber, squeeze out the water, then mix with plain yoghurt, a little crushed garlic, a squeeze…