You do not need to cook endless meals for all stages of your family this holiday season. Everything you eat as a family can be given to your littlies, no matter the age. If you plan on having a roast with all the trimmings, all the vegetables and roast meat, are great foods for your baby from 6 months, just hold back on the gravy, stuffing and sauces. There are some fantastic seasonal root vegetables in season at the moment such as squashes, parsnips and carrots. Cook up a big batch and make into soups, stews and dips.
Christmas cooking tips
Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins such as C and K. Roasting them brings out a sweeter flavour than boiling or steaming- and cooked and cut in half, they make brilliant finger food for your little one from any age.
To roast: Preheat the oven to 180C. Cut off end and any loose leaves then cut in half and place on a baking sheet with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Mix with your hands and roast until tender, around 30 minutes. Adding a little fried bacon lardons are also delicious if you want a more decadent vegetable dish!
To serve: as finger food, simply take from the oven and coo
As a puree: simply puree. You can also add to other vegetables such as roasted sweet potato or potato, or they are delicious with cooked peas.
Roast vegetables – You can pre-cook, roast and freeze your roast vegetables (including roast potatoes), leaving you most oven space for the big bird. If you are cooking your roast vegetables in advance, why not batch cook and do triple the amount you normally would. Once roasted, separate and freeze on a tray the veg for the big day (once frozen bag up and write on the pen outside what they are for in case they get used for something else!) Then you can use the other vegetables for dishes like roasted vegetable couscous salad or as fun finger food for your little one during the week.
P.S. don’t bother scoring the sprouts, it doesn’t need to be done! If you don’t have many fans of these delicious veg in the family, par boil then roast them with a little bacon – no one can turn them down served like that!
Words of wisdom from the Piccolo mums behind the team
Alice’s mum, St Andrews: “Peeling vegetables is a job anyone can do. I’ve stopped being fussy about how well. Just plonk a bowl and peeler in front of family members in front of the telly the night before and don’t look too closely at the results. You can leave the peeled chopped veg in a bowl of cold water over night ready to roast the next day.”
Harry’s mum, Bath: ‘Add onions, carrots, celery and a little bacon to a roasting tray with sage & rosemary & a little olive oil. Roast until tender and then put roasting tray on hob low heat & bash together. Add pint chicken stock and 4 tablespoons plain flour (& splash of red wine). Simmer until thickened then sieve. GRAVY FROM THE GODS. PS stir in a large spoon of redcurrant jelly for extra wow factor.’
Emily’s mum, Canada: “Go to Whole Foods and buy their Christmas meal special….”
Sunna’s mum, Devon: “My mum taught me how to make a killer crispy roast potato – Par boil for a few mins and then score each side of the potato with a fork. Increased surface area for maximum crisp.
Kane’s mamma, Malta: “This is the time of year to experiment and use different ingredients. Also, don’t eat too much and wear loose trousers!”
Francesco’s mamma, Ethiopia: “Use the giblets and neck from the turkey to make the gravy, they add the best flavour.’
Cat’s papà, Paris: ‘I love roast pork for the big Christmas meal. I dry the top fat layer with paper towels before scoring with a freshly sharpened knife.’
Wishing you a healthy and very happy Christmas!
Cat, Max, Kane, Alice, Sunna, Emily, Harry, Josh, Francesco and little Juliet x