Mellow Mummy: Bébé Gourmet by Jenny Carenco – My Baby Recipe Book Review : Taking life as it comes...

Friday 4 October 2013

Bébé Gourmet by Jenny Carenco – My Baby Recipe Book Review

I don't know when weaning officially finishes but I've considered Holly to be fully weaned for quite some time but that doesn't mean that I'm not always on the lookout for great ideas of toddler-friendly and family-friendly meals that we can all share together whether we are 1 year old, 4 years old or grown-up.  Jenny Carenco's Bébé Gourmet is a book I wish had been around when I first weaned Lara as it is packed full of gorgeous looking recipes suitable for cooking for your little ones from the very first tastes right through to family dinners.

Jenny Carenco is a working mum of two and the founder of leading French baby-food brand Les Menus Bébé and all of the recipes in her book feel like they embody everything I've read and heard about the food culture in France.  It is well-known that baby and children's mealtimes in France are considered to be a sociable experience where families share great, simple ingredients to nurture an adventurous palette and encourage a love of great ingredients and flavours (although, interestingly Jennys foreword suggests that even in France the supermarket offerings for baby food lack inspiration).

Bébé Gourmet is split into a number of sections from those very first compotes (or purees) through first dinners to family dinners.  The first compotes section features a good range of different first-food ideas for weaning and each describes a simple means of preparation which makes the process of weaning that little less daunting.  Many of the recipes for first lumpy lunches and dinners are ideas that I had never seen before such as sea bass with fennel and green grapes or braised lentils and spinach.  For many UK mums and dads these recipes would never have previously crossed our minds but I've learned through experiences that nothing fazes a baby or toddler on their weaning journey - they love the challenge of trying new textures and flavours, even if they don't always enjoy them!  There are some beautiful recipes in this book which I really believe could encourage a child to be a more adventurous eater because of the wide range of exciting flavours.

Throughout the book Jenny (and her expert nutritionist) stresses that feeding your baby great homemade food doesn't have to be hard work but, and perhaps more importantly, that investing effort in your child's introduction to the great wide world of food pays dividends (and is very rewarding). 

Our favourite section of the book is perhaps the most relevant to us right now - family lunches and dinners that we can all share.  We recently enjoyed trying out our own homemade sweetcorn galettes (mini cheesy sweetcorn fritters) and I've used this book as inspiration for a number of simple family curries recently.  I love the fact that the recipes in this section explain to you, or show you how to prepare a single meal that is suitable however skilled you are with chewing, or with cutlery.

The final section of Bébé Gourmet has some fun ideas for snacks and treats for toddlers upwards. These are recipes for fun fruit kebabs, cakes and muesli crumbles that you can even make with your toddler for a bit of kitchen fun.

I think this book is a brilliant introduction to weaning and it is going to be one of the first gifts I give to my sister for when she becomes a mummy!

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