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25 September 2015

In his brand new collection of recipes for babies and toddlers one of Ireland’s most talented and trusted chefs Neven Maguire gives inspiration for encouraging a life-long love of tasty and wholesome food.

Neven says: ‘Getting the right nutrition for babies and toddlers can ensure a lifetime of good health. My hope is that this book combines traditional common sense and wholesome ingredients with the very latest nutritional advice on what is best for your baby from six months through to toddlerhood.’

These muffins are wonderfully dense and moist, perfect for a nutritious breakfast. Serve them on the day that they are made or wrap in clingfilm and freeze for up to one month. If you plan to make them on
the morning you wish to serve them, get ahead and have all the dry ingredients mixed together and prepare the muffin tin the night before.

Makes 12
150g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
25g wheat bran
2 tbsp honey
3 ripe bananas
50g ready-to-eat dried dates, pitted and finely chopped
1 large egg
225ml buttermilk
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rolled oats

Sift both flours, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, then tip in anything left in the sieve and stir in the wheat bran and honey. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases. Peel the bananas and mash two of them to a purée, then stir in the dates. Beat the egg with the buttermilk and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just blended, then lightly and quickly fold in the banana mixture. The batter should look roughly mixed, with lumps and floury pockets. Fill each paper case two-thirds full with the batter, then cut the remaining banana into 12 slices, discarding the ends, and pop one slice on top of each muffin. Sprinkle over the oats and bake for about 20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. These are best served warm.
NB: Honey and products containing honey are not recommended for babies under one year old.

Prepare the frittatas a day ahead, chill and bring back to room temperature to serve or reheat them just before serving. You can also freeze them for up to one month. If you don’t have mini muffin tins, you can cook the frittata in a 17.5cm square non-stick cake tin for about 15 minutes and cut into squares to serve. If your mini muffin tins aren’t non-stick, then line them with paper cases to ensure that the frittatas come out easily.

Makes 36
350g potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 large egg whites
3 large eggs
1 roasted red pepper, drained and diced (from a jar or can)
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
2 tbsp freshly grated
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Brush 3 x 12 non-stick mini muffin tins with olive oil.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil, then cook for 4 minutes or until almost tender. Drain. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion and sauté for 3–4 minutes, until softened. Add the cooked diced potato and thyme, then sauté for another 5 minutes or so, until lightly browned. Leave to cool. Beat the egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, crack in the whole eggs and lightly beat, then gently fold in the potato mixture with the diced red pepper, chives and Parmesan. Season with a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper, then fold in the beaten egg whites.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the frittata mixture into each muffin cup. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack and then remove the frittatas from the muffin cups, running a sharp knife around the edges of the muffin cups to help loosen them from the tin. Serve hot or cold on a platter.

There is no doubt that combining potato with green vegetables makes them more attractive for babies. I cook them in their skins because they retain more vitamins and the flesh tends to be drier and therefore easier to work with. A mouli is a great way to achieve a very fine texture, but if you don’t have one simply use a potato masher and then work it through a sieve or use a potato ricer. Peas are a great addition to this recipe as they are wonderfully sweet.

Makes 650g (26 cubes)


450g potatoes (even-sized)
100g fresh or frozen peas
4 tbsp freshly boiled water
1 large bunch of watercress, stalks trimmed (about 125g in total)

Scrub the potatoes and place in a saucepan of cold filtered water, then cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes, until tender. To test if they are done, pierce with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain and return to the pan, then cover again and place on a low heat to dry out for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, place the peas in a saucepan with the freshly boiled water and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Tip in the watercress, then cover and cook for 1–2 minutes, until the watercress has just wilted, shaking the pan once or twice. Drain into a sieve and reserve the water. Peel the potatoes once they are cool enough to handle, then purée all the vegetables in a mouli, adding enough of the reserved water to make a smooth consistency. Leave to cool, then spoon into ice cube trays and freeze.

Dad to three-year-old twins, Connor and Lucia, Neven Maguire has been at the helm of one of Ireland’s top restaurants, MacNean House & Restaurant, since 2001, and recently fulfilled a long-held dream by opening the ‘Neven Maguire Cookery School’. His last cookbook, The Nation’s Favourite Food FAST!, was a No 1 bestseller and his latest ‘Home Chef’ TV series is broadcast on RTÉ 1.

Neven Maguire’s Complete Baby & Toddler Cookbook is available in stores nationwide and online, priced at RRP £14.99

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