Monday, 31 August 2009

Jurassic Cooking

Greta, as I do believe I have mentioned several times before, is a toddler with... particular tastes in food. She likes what she likes, and most of the time, she doesn't like whatever it is that I'm waving in front of her mouth, hoping like mad that she'll actually open up and try a bite.

Except for things like garlic sausage, cheese with garlic, Cenovis (Swiss Marmite/Vegemite), old gruyère, radishes (the hotter the better), and assorted other foods that babies are just not supposed to like. On the other hand- mashed potato is disgusting, mashed banana is beyond even contemplation, cooked carrot is evil, and all the usual baby foods recommended in the books are utterly rejected.

Greta therefore spent her first few months of "solids" being fed out of jars, as I got tired of her throwing everything that I cooked for her with love and devotion onto the floor. At least with jarred food, when she screamed the place down at every spoon, I didn't feel like she was rejecting my cooking! However, once we moved, I decided to try again. And to add garlic.

She started eating a bit more, but then the warm weather intervened. Greta, rather like her parents, is a cold-weather person. And for the last couple of months, whenever the temperature went over 25C (i.e. most of the time), well... Greta didn't want to eat. We managed by feeding her Petits Suisses at every meal, but that's not hugely healthy. I did usually manage to get the odd spoonful of apple-sauce into her to salve my vitamin-conscious soul, but more than that, well, NO, Mama! And so my carefully crafted home-made portions of baby food have been either washed down the sink (in the case of, for example, courgette risotto with chicken), or dumped in the bin (pasta with tomato sauce and tofu).

Finally, praise the lords and pass the biscuits, the weather has begun to cool. And the effect on Greta's appetite has been quite impressive. From an average daily consumption (excluding milk and water) of maybe 2 Petits Suisses, 2 tablespoonfuls of fruit, and a couple of mouthfuls of something else random, usually all accompanied by howls and much struggling... she's suddenly chomping down on 200g of food at a sitting. The only reason it's not more is that I find myself holding back, worried that she's going to throw up!

On the way back from the walk today I stopped off at the farm, and picked up another 3kg of tomatoes, as well as some plums and some mirabelles. I intend to make plum jam later in the week, but as I'm out of sugar, it won't be today.

I put aside about 1kg of the tomatoes for salads and sandwiches- the others I skinned, de-seeded, chopped extremely roughly, and put in a pan. I cooked them for I think about 45 minutes, crushing them with a wooden spoon, adding only a bit of salt and pepper. In the mean time, in the water I'd used to briefly boil the tomatoes to help with the peeling, I cooked some small pasta shapes. Next to that, I steamed a chopped courgette.

Having bottled most of the tomato coulis, once it was thick enough (this is going in the basement for winter), I added what was left to a small bowl of the pasta, with some of the courgettes, and a good dollop of olive oil. Let's see what she makes of that for her dinner.

My food plans for this week, other than the aforementioned plum jam, includes making a lot more tomato coulis, as well as tomato sauce, for jarring and stashing for the cold season. I'm thinking tomato and basil sauce, tomato and courgette sauce, tomato and aubergine...


Later edit: She did not like it. She spat out five teaspoonfuls one after the other, making a face, then started shaking her head NO and preparing to cry. I gave up. Peter ate it instead, and said it was delicious.

Back to the drawing board!

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