Lily has always been a big eater gobbling down a full pouch of Ella’s Kitchen on the day she tried solids for the first time whilst I gasped in amazement after being told that a few spoonfuls is ‘the norm’. Not my girl, she’ll eat as much as she likes, nothing more and certainly nothing less. She honestly couldn’t get it down quick enough! That’s the thing about weaning though isn’t it? In my opinion, I definitely think it’s better to follow your baby’s lead and let things progress at their pace trying as many different foods as you can along the way whilst letting them explore and relish in another of their newly-found senses. Whilst I found it super-scary to begin with simply because it was something I hadn’t done before, weaning Lily quickly became a hugely fun, albeit messy (but I don’t mind a bit of mess where she’s concerned), enjoyable and precious experience for both of us.
I do wish that I was a better cook-ette though. I’m always saying I don’t have enough time or I get in to the groove of things before falling behind again so I really need something inspiring and full of simple, healthy and delicious family recipes to help us along our continued journey of filling our tummies with tasty and sustainable foods. So, with that in mind, I was delighted to be asked to share my thoughts about the recently published ‘Baby at the Table’ weaning book by The Chiappas which focuses on a ‘3-step guide to weaning the Italian way’.
So, who are The Chiappas and what is the ‘Italian way’?
Michela and Emi are sisters who, together with their other sister, Romina, have been raised in a large Italian community in South Wales and say that their lives have been ‘hugely influenced by both the Italian and the British ways of living’ with their upbringing focused on ‘family and food’.
Michela and Emi are both first-time mums who are encouraging their children to become interested in food from the get go whilst passing on the recipes and tips they were raised with themselves by way of this new book.
The three sisters have already written the very popular ‘Simply Italian’ cookbook based around quick and easy Italian homecooking and Michela also hosts a C4 show of the same name which has been well-received. Pair that with their YouTube channel packed full of tutorials and recipes and you can pretty much guess that these ladies are going places right?
So, I’m quite interested to know, what is the ‘Italian way’? Well, we do things, for the most part, the ‘Italian way’ in that all three of us eat the same meal. Is it the same for your family? I had no idea but apparently, they don’t even do kid’s menus in Italy!
We did more baby-led than traditional weaning so it was easy to make our usual meals ‘baby-friendly’ by making a few tweaks to avoid things like added salt or honey etc. and whilst I do make things just for Lily I mostly make meals for all of us to enjoy together.
I love the beautiful philosophy surrounding the book. The girls say — ‘To an Italian, food is a way of life, not just a necessity. The kitchen table should be a place where a family cooks, eats and interacts as one unit…and the heartbeat of every child’s upbringing‘.
What I’ve been making this week…
I was sent a little ducky cookie-cutter with the book alongside a few other tidbits with a suggestion to have a go at the ‘Our Way With Toast’ method (my Mum calls this ‘popeye toast’) on pg 117. So I did, why not eh?
It’s probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever put together and even though I was sure that my egg would run under the bread and not stay put, it actually did as it was told (against all odds) so hurray for that, I was quite pleased with myself!
As you can see, it didn’t keep its shape completely but I’ll certainly be giving it another go so I guess practice will make perfect surely?
For afters, I made the ‘Berry Bake’ on pg 175 which was an alternative bread and butter pudding with brioche and blueberrys instead of a bog standard loaf and raisins (some of my family hate raisins dubbing them ‘rabbit turds’ so it’s nice to have come across a tasty alternative!)
Again, it was a breeze to make and the end result was absolutely delicious and SO moreish! I kept spooning it from the bowl warm when it first came out of the oven and when Michael came home he finished the whole thing off (Lily and I had our share earlier after tea).
My thoughts, is the book worth its salt?
Yes, I can’t wait to work my way through it, there’s SO many meals and treats/goodies that I’m really excited to cook up for us all without it taking over my entire afternoon.
So, what’s different about this book? It’s really bloody easy that’s what (thank goodness!)
The girls have drawn from their roots to bring us traditional-inspired recipes with simplified ‘busy-mama’ methods to suit every parent regardless of things like time constraints and cooking abilities (most of the recipes have a preparation time of 15 minutes or less).
The 3-steps mentioned boils down to a simple ABC approach. A is for introducing flavours at 6-8 months, B is for exploring textures at 8-10 months and C is for first meals at 10-12 months. The aim is to get your little one up and eating with the rest of the family (one family, one meal) by the time their first birthday rolls around.
I really like the idea but I’m glad to hear that the girls say that the timings aren’t set in stone as Lily was eating things like broccoli florets and other ‘big’ foods within her first month (but that’s the beauty of baby-led weaning and having a kid who teethed really chuffin’ early)
There’s a good chunk at the beginning of the book about getting organised i.e. sorting out your freezer, essentials for your freezer/store cupboard and basic equipment you’re probably going to need (really normal stuff, you will have them already I’m sure!) so I’m going to work through this across the next couple of weeks.
I love that the recipes in this book are stripped back so you’re not wasting money and using what feels like a million ingredients just for one meal. They’re also tailored to try and keep the washing up down to a minimum (winner!) and is basically just a dream for the modern day parent who likes to cook fresh and healthy food for their babies/toddlers and the rest of the family too but also wants some time to watch TV, spend time with their little’uns before bed and just relax (or in my case, do some work!)
Win a SIGNED copy of Baby at the Table!
Michela and Emi have kindly signed another copy of their lovely book and I have it here ready to send off to one lucky winner. All you have to do for a chance to win is place your entries via the widget below and have a quick read of the Ts and Cs beforehand.
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TERMS & CONDITIONS
– The prize offered is a signed copy of Baby at the Table.
– Entries can only be completed through the rafflecopter widget displayed below.
– I am in possession of the prize and will send this directly to the winner upon receipt of their address details.
– This competition will end on Sunday 23rd October 2016.
– A winner will be chosen at random via the rafflecopter facility.
– The winner will be announced on my social media accounts within 48 hours of the giveaway ending.
– If the winner does not provide their address details within 30 days of announcement and attempts being made to contact them then a new winner will be picked via the same process.
– I am able to offer this prize to UK and ROI entrants only I’m afraid (apologies to any of you who live abroad) and entrants aged 18 or above.
Are you a fan of The Chiappas?
Will you be buying their new book – Baby at the Table?