This website uses cookies for analytical and functional purposes.

Trustpilot
MENU
Need Help?
Compare Selected 0

Blog

Show Navigation
What Mummy Makes: Q&A with Rebecca Wilson (with recipes!)

Posted by Lucy H on 23rd Jul 2020

What Mummy Makes: Q&A with Rebecca Wilson (with recipes!)

What Mummy Makes author photoWe’re looking forward to your book. What prompted you to write it? Was it always an ambition of yours or was it something that your followers requested you to do?

Ever since I was a teenager when my cookbook obsession began I always had that niggling ambition to one day write a cookbook. But I let the idea pass aside as my career took a different path.

Then when I started What Mummy Makes, and the requests for a cookbook came flooding in, I thought yeah - this is the time. I knew I had to make it happen for my followers!

Who did you write this book for? Who do you think is your typical reader, if such a person exists? Who would you love to read your book?

This book is for every new or experienced parent, who’s stuck in a food rut and doesn’t know what to cook for dinner (or for breakfast, lunch and snack time)

This book is for the new mum who finds weaning overwhelming and doesn’t know what the options are. For the parent of a fussy toddler who often turns their nose up at healthy food.

This book is for the dad who is finding himself cooking 4 different meals to please everyone in the family.

I hope this book will really help get rid of family meal time anxieties by showing you how simple it is to feed your family with delicious, easy to prepare food that the whole family can eat together.

Do you think people are changing how they shop and cook?

Well with the recent world events, definitely.

People have really seemed to embrace their love of cooking, or simply started to enjoy cooking more out of necessity. Which I personally think is fantastic and have loved seeing how many more people have enjoyed my recipes during lockdown.

What food trend would you like to see becoming mainstream?

I don’t particularly follow food trends, and believe that everyone should be able to eat how they like, regardless if it’s “trendy” or not.

As long as it’s healthy and not just PB sarnies every day, then it’s all good, right?

Your ‘Resources’ section at the back of the book offers more practical advice on a variety of questions around weaning, is it important for parents new to weaning to ensure they read all the way through before just diving into recipes?

There is lots of additional information at the back, and any important guidance which is needed before you begin weaning is either listed at the beginning of the book or you are prompted to check out a certain page for further information.

I was keen to avoid lots and lots of text at the beginning of the book, I wouldn’t have wanted parents or carers to feel intimidated before reaching the recipes. So I have tried to break up the information in a way that it's much more digestible.

The reader can choose to read the whole book right away, or use the contents as a guide to read a particular piece of advice when a question arises.

What one piece of advice would you give to nervous parents starting off on the weaning journey?

As hard as it is, try to relax! Baby will sense your nerves, you want mealtimes to be a relaxed, happy environment, this is what baby needs to begin to enjoy food.

If you are scared of baby eating food - can you expect them to be relaxed? Try to enjoy it, it’s such a fun new chapter in your child’s life, embrace it! :)

You mention allergies in babies and suitable recipes or substitutions that can be made, depending on the needs. Was this something that you needed to consider closely when you were weaning your child?

Personally no, Nina doesn’t have any allergies. However I’m really aware that many children, and parents have specific dietary requirements. And how hard it is for them to find varied recipes to feed their family.

So I’ve strived to be as inclusive as possible so all dietary restricted foodies, big or small can enjoy my food.

Did you find you were adapting recipes you already used to make them suitable for a baby or were you forever looking up new ideas and inspirations?

Yes and no, a lot of my recipes is the type of food I have enjoyed eating for years. But it’s only since having my daughter, and researching into the types of food babies can eat, that I realised little ones can process and handle a lot more of a variety of food than we expect.

And from there I began to develop my foodie ideas and share them with the world, so new parents aren’t as confused as I was when my Nina turned 6 months old!

There are sometimes stories in the media about shop bought baby foods having too much sugar or being otherwise nutritionally poor. How do you feel about them, and would you ever advise their use?

It’s tricky to know what is right from wrong when the products in shops seem to be branded as healthy or suitable from a certain age. And it’s massively to blame for the confusion new parents have when beginning their child’s weaning journey.

I definitely feel that there should be stricter regulations on what manufacturers can put in baby specific food. The trouble is the guidance on how you should wean your baby is changing, but some of the well-known trusted products on the baby food aisle haven’t evolved too.

I am a big believer in everything in moderation, so a little slightly sugary treat for your toddler or older children once in while is okay, but I really recommend avoiding heavily fruit based first stage weaning products for young newly eating babies.

Not only is it bad for their health and teeth to eat too much sugar (even if its naturally occurring) but in the long run baby will get used to these sweet flavours, and you’ll find that its much harder to get them to eat a wide variety of flavours as they grow older.

Can you offer any tips for dealing with the mess and clean up after feeding baby?

First of all, I say embrace the mess! It’s lots of fun watching your little one get really stuck into their food. And remember eating solid food is as much a sensory experience as it is a nutritional task.

But there are a few things you can do to save your sanity from scrubbing stains all day. A comfortable long sleeve bib for baby is a must. And actually when my girl was little I would pop her in a long sleeve bib layered with a silicone catchy bib on top too (she often would eat what was dropped into her bib, waste not want not!)

Invest in a floor mat that is easily wiped clean, saves you scrubbing the carpet after every meal! Little ones will go through a food throwing phase which will feel like it’s lasting forever.

If baby is really prone to throwing, you can limit the amount of readily available ammunition by only putting a few pieces of food in front of them while they’re eating.

Many of your recipes can be frozen and stored for easy use in the future - do you have a go-to snack or meal that you always have quickly available for the baby?

Fritters, without a doubt, a delicious way to pack in all the veg!!

Make a big batch, freeze them up in portions then you can either defrost quickly in the microwave or pop in your lunch box frozen, and they will be defrosted for snacks when out and about in a few hours.

You’ve got to try my revolutionary sheet pan fritter recipe from the book, makes cooking a big batch fritters even quicker!

Which is your favourite recipe? And which is your child’s favourite recipe?

Hulk Mac & Cheese

My Nina loves the hulk Mac and Cheese! She’s pictured with it in the book, it’s one of my favourite photos of her!

It’s a great recipe because it has all the vibes of the traditional comfort food cheesy pasta, but its packed full of vitamin rich spinach, in a way fussy little ones really won’t be phased by.

My personal favourite recipe is the easy prawn cakes. Asian inspired flavours make them so yummy. I can remember the day I perfected this recipe in my kitchen, I did a little happy dance before polishing off the whole batch!!!

Have you noticed any dramatic changes in the foods your child likes throughout the weaning process?

Not particularly, I’ve offered her a wide variety of foods from day one which I believe is key to raising confident eaters, along with modelling with every meal, which allows your little one to learn by watching you enjoy and process the same food as them.

But of course, she is just like every other toddler and goes through fussy phases, food refusals and growth spurts leading to varied appetites.

I try and stay as consistent as possible through these times, ensuring I don’t give her too much pressure to eat, just gentle encouragement by allowing her to watch me enjoy my food.

How do you like to unwind? Do you have any other creative outlets as well as your cooking and writing? If not, what would you like to try?

I really enjoy crafting, all forms of it and have tried to dabble in as much as possible over the years. I have a fashion embroidery degree, so making things with my hands has always brought me happiness.

Recently I haven’t had much spare time to start a new project, but I would love to try weaving or pottery making. One day soon I hope!

What was your favourite book as a child?

That is a lovely question, I adored the Tales From Brambly Hedge books. Mrs Crustybread’s kitchen is my dream, I’m sure it’s where my love for cooking and being in the kitchen started!

What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just started “I am not your baby mother” by Candice Brathwaite. It’s powerful and emotional, I’m loving it so far!

Thank you very much for speaking to us, we wish you every success with the book.

**************************************************************

SHORTCUT SHEET PAN FRITTERS TWO WAYS (Egg Free*, Dairy Free*)

Fritters

Sometimes it’s nice spending 10 minutes at the stove top making up a batch of fritters or pancakes. However, some days there just aren’t enough minutes let alone hours in the day. Quickly whip up the fritter batter, pour into a lined baking tray and bake in the oven until puffed up and golden. Total fuss-free cooking, with no compromise on the flavour!

NB - Whenever you see a * next to the letters in the symbols, this indicates that recipes can be adapted to suit this dietary requirement. Please take care and look for the substitutions listed in the ingredients. This is especially important for parents looking to introduce cow’s milk and other milk products like oat or soya (soy) milk – see page 207 for more information.

Makes 10 small fritters each

Takes 20 minutes

TUNA AND SWEETCORN FRITTERS

90g (3oz) self-raising (self-rising) flour

2 eggs or 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (linseeds) mixed with 75ml (21/2fl oz) water*

70ml (21/2fl oz) milk of your choice*

145g can tuna in spring water, drained

1 tsp baking powder 200g (7oz) drained

canned sweetcorn

60g (2oz) Cheddar, grated (optional)*

1 spring onion (scallion), finely sliced

freshly ground black pepper

baking tray, lined with non-stick baking paper

COURGETTE FRITTERS

1 courgette (zucchini)

2 eggs or 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds (linseeds) mixed with 75ml (21/2fl oz) water*

100g (31⁄4oz) self-raising (self-rising) flour

1 tsp baking powder

80g (21⁄2oz) grated Cheddar or 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)*

80ml (21⁄2fl oz) milk of your choice*

baking tray, lined with non-stick baking paper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C/400°F/Gas 6).

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the lined baking tray and spread out evenly to about 1cm (1/2in) in thickness. If your baking tray is too large, form the batter into a smaller bake, ensuring the thickness is correct.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes until puffed up and golden on top.

Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares (or finger strips if serving to baby). Serve with a picky salad and some full-fat Greek-style yogurt for dipping.

These fritters will keep in the fridge for 2 days, or top up your freezer stash for up to 2 months. Either defrost and warm up in the microwave or allow to defrost at room temperature and reheat in the oven for 5 minutes until piping hot inside.

HULK MAC ’N’ CHEESE (Egg Free, Vegetarian, Vegan*, Dairy Free*)

Pimp up your macaroni cheese with nutritious spinach – a great way to get extra veggies into your fussy eater. This can be whipped up in under 10 minutes – a speedy lunch or dinner any time. It’s my Nina’s favourite!

NB - Whenever you see a * next to the letters in the symbols, this indicates that recipes can be adapted to suit this dietary requirement. Please take care and look for the substitutions listed in the ingredients. This is especially important for parents looking to introduce cow’s milk and other milk products like oat or soya (soy) milk – see page 207 for more information.

Serves 2 adults and 2 littles

Takes 10 minutes

Ingredients:

250g (9oz) dried macaroni (or any pasta shape will work)

140g (5oz) frozen chopped spinach (about 7 blocks)

500ml (16fl oz) milk of your choice*

100g (31/2oz) grated Cheddar or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast*

1 tbsp unsalted butter or dairy free spread or coconut oil*

2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook DF* according to the packet instructions.

To a microwaveable jug, add the frozen spinach and milk. Cook for 3 minutes until the spinach is nearly defrosted and the milk slightly warmed.

In a hot frying pan, melt the butter then add cornflour. Stir and cook for a minute, then add the spinach milk gradually, whisking continuously. Stir until the sauce is thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and add a good grinding of black pepper and the grated cheese. Stir to melt the cheese into the sauce then set aside until the pasta is cooked.

Add the drained, cooked pasta to the sauce, stir and serve with an extra grating of cheese on top, if you like.

Any leftovers will keep for a couple of days. Spoon them into an ovenproof dish, top with more cheese and bake for 15–20 minutes for a delicious pasta bake. Alternatively, if you’re thinking ahead, make extra sauce and reserve some of it before mixing with the pasta. Freeze in portions for up to 3 months for a quick pasta sauce on days when you’re feeling rushed. Defrost in the microwave with an extra splash of milk until piping hot, before stirring through freshly cooked pasta.

Credit: What Mummy Makes by Rebecca Wilson is published by DK, 23 July 2020. £14.99. DK.com 

Available here