beef, squash, and tomato purée
The sweet squash and tomatoes here help to make the flavour of beef more palatable for fussy babies. As your baby gets older, the cooked beef can be mashed into the squash and tomatoes, and served with small pasta shapes.
2 plum (Roma) tomatoes 1 tsp olive oil 115g (4oz) ground round (about 1/2 cup) 1/4 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and grated 2/3 cup vegetable stock, or water
1. Cut a small cross in the top of each tomato. Put them in a heatproof bowl and cover with freshly boiled water. Leave to stand for 30 seconds, then drain and plunge in cold water. Peel off the skins. Cut the skinned tomatoes into quarters, scoop out the seeds, and chop the flesh.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok and sauté the beef, stirring well, until browned and crumbly, 2-3 minutes. Add the squash and chopped tomato, and sauté, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Cool slightly before puréeing the contents of the pan in a blender, adding a little extra boiled water if the purée is too thick.
4. Freeze in individual portions. When needed, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat until piping hot, stir, and let cool slightly before serving.
peach, apple, and pear purée
Ripe, seasonal fruits can make a plain applesauce a little more interesting. I like to use peaches or nectarines, but apricots or plums are also good. If the fruit is not very sweet, you can add a teaspoon of agave nectar, which is available from health food shops and some supermarkets.
2 ripe peaches 1 sweet apple, peeled, cored, and diced 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored, and diced 2 tbsp water
1. Cut a small cross in the top and bottom of each peach and put them in a heatproof bowl. Cover with freshly boiled water and leave to stand for 30 seconds, then drain and plunge in cold water. Peel off the skins. Cut the peaches into quarters, remove the stones, and dice the flesh.
2. Put the peaches, apple, and pear in a saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook gently for until the juices have run from the peaches and the fruits are all soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Cool slightly, then tip into a blender and purée until smooth. Serve warm, or cool quickly and refrigerate to serve cold. The purée can be frozen in individual portions; thaw for 1–2 hours at room temperature when needed. Add boiled water if the purée is too thick.
4. Freeze in individual portions. When needed, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat until piping hot, stir, and let cook slightly before serving.