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Plum Cookery School

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Recently I wrote my “Weaning Tips and Stories from a Mummy living far away from her own Mum” and shared my weaning experience. Following my blog post, I was invited to represent the blogger community as one of the official TOTS100 Plum Cookery School bloggers. Five selected bloggers spent half a day in a special preview at the fabulous Plum Cookery School with children’s food expert Beverley Glock.

To take the worry out of weaning, Plum is launching the first ever Plum Cookery School. The new cookery school opens its doors in June to offer mums exciting recipe development classes and informal chats with child food experts. Meanwhile, their babies will get to taste-test a range of new recipes designed especially to give little ones the best possible introduction to the wonderful world of food. The selected cookery school attendees will also be the stars of Plum’s all new weaning videos, a guide to help parents across the country with their weaning worries.

Celebrity chef, Rachel Allen is working with Plum as part of the Cookery School. She’ll be on hand to give her recipe suggestions, answer any cooking-related questions and tell her own anecdotes about weaning her little ones. Together with Rachel, parents will even get the chance to work together to help to create the next range of Plum recipes. Hosting the Plum Cookery School will be child food expert, Beverley Glock, the author of successful book 500 Baby and Toddler Foods. Beverley has 11 years’ experience of cooking with mums and babies.

I met the lovely Angela from Mum of Three Boys; Becky of The Mummy Adventure; and Laura from The Life and Times of the Working Mum.

We had a lovely day at Plum Cookery School with Beverley Glock. The day started with yummy muffins made with Plum fruit puree and we then recreated one of the favourites Plum recipes: Sweet Cape Curry with Beef, part of Taste Adventures range.

Sweet Cape Curry with Beef was based on the traditional dish bobotie from South Africa, this flavoursome curry boasts red meat as a source of iron with a combination of mango and raisins to provide sweet flavours and subtle spices to excite baby’s palette.

We tried Sweet Cape Curry with Beef from Plum meal pots and compare with our freshly cooked dish. I must confess that, although the texture was different to suit toddlers’ needs, the taste was the same.

We also cooked a Maltese recipe that blogger Angela learned from her dad. It was a delicious baked rice dish. Ross fil-forn is a traditional Maltese dish of baked mince, eggs and rice, served with Parmesan cheese.

Once the food was ready, we had a lovely lunch and informal chat outside. It was a gorgeous sunny day, so we could enjoy Beverley’s beautiful garden. Overall, it was a relaxing day, yet very informative and enjoyable. We were sent home with a lovely selection of Plum Taste Adventures meal pots. My three year old boy is loving them!

I reviewed Plum meal pots and I am also hosting a competition to win Plum Taste Adventures. You can enter for your chance to win lovely meals for your baby and toddler.

Thank you very much Beverley for having us in your lovely kitchen. You will be pleased to hear that I have washed my eggs this morning before making scramble eggs for breakfast. Thank you to Lindsay from Plum Baby, and thank you to Laura and Rachel from Finn PR for the great opportunity to attend Plum Cookery School.

Weaning Tips and Stories from a Mummy living far away from her own Mum

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Once I gave birth, I realised that I needed my mum around more than ever before. Although my mum was able to come from Brazil for the birth, she had to go back after a couple of months, leaving us with a little someone to take care of. Hubby and I were really excited to have a little baby, but we did not know what to do and what to expect as it was our first child. Nonetheless each stage was challenging and exciting!

It was no different with weaning, we had to learn on our own and go with our gut instincts. I would love to have my mum around to share her weaning experiences and tips, however she was far away in Brazil and I had to learn to listen to my little baby’s needs and work out what would be best for my little boy.

Paulo was four months old when he started getting very hungry and easily drinking a whole bottle of milk within a few minutes. He would cry for more milk straight after a feed and I knew his appetite wasn’t satisfied with only milk. The guidelines from the Department of Health to start weaning at around six months old put me off at the beginning and I tried to convince myself that little Paulo wasn’t ready yet.

However the more I read on weaning, the more I realised that Paulo was having most of the weaning signs: he was sucking his fingers, he was still hungry after a milk feed, he started waking up at the middle of the night, he was watching when we were eating and seemed very interested on our food.

I spoke to my husband and we both decided that we should get ready for weaning. I am lucky to be married to a chef, so our meals are based on fresh fruit and vegetables and we wanted Paulo to experience our food.

I introduced baby rice as the first weaning food. Although only a tip of a teaspoon was advised, little Paulo grabbed the spoon from my hand and tried to feed himself. He liked it so much that I had to make a little more baby rice and he really enjoyed it. I remember calling hubby at work and saying that our baby wanted more than just a tip of a teaspoon of baby rice.

At the time, it was important to forget about weaning guidelines and listen to little man needs and signs. As a mum, I knew what he needed and baby rice satisfied his appetite, our baby slept better that night.

The following day, I gave him a little more baby rice and slowly increased the portion size as he was adapting well to weaning. I introduced new flavours and textures, apple puree, pear puree, banana puree, broccoli puree, carrot puree. The next step was to introduce mixed fruit and mixed vegetable puree. Paulo loved them all!

Once little Paulo was happy with the first spoonfuls, I introduced breakfast to establish regular mealtimes. Baby porridge and baby rice with fruit puree were little man’s favourite breakfast.  After a few weeks of successful weaning, I started mashing fruit and vegetable instead of using the food processor and our little boy loved the different textures.

At five months old, Paulo was having solids at meal times. He couldn’t sit up properly, so we had to feed him sitting down on the sofa until he was ready to move to the highchair. Paulo took it well to meat, chicken and fish, his favourite baby meal was mashed salmon with potato and broccoli. He is now 3 years old and his favourite dish is salmon and prawns fish pie.

During the weaning process, Paulo loved baby biscuits, it would keep him entertained for ages and it was a nice massage on his gums too.

We always tried to cook it from fresh at home, however it is not always possible. We found Plum range of Organic Baby Food especially useful when we were out and about and wanted to feed our little boy. Plum has a great selection of pouches to be used as first food and develop your baby’s appetite for healthy, wholesome and adventurous ingredients.

Plum produces food that uses nutritionally rich organic ingredients, offering nutritious but convenient, guilt free alternative that is full of flavour. Plum is free from preservatives, artificial additives, added salt or suggar. It is the next best thing to a meal cooked by us.

Paulo’s favourite flavour when he was weaning was blueberry, banana and vanilla pouch from Plum, I tried it myself and it is tasty and sweet.

Although he is not a baby anymore, he still has Plum pouches now as a healthy dessert or snack when we are out and about.

Paulo’s favourite flavour at the moment is banana and strawberry puree, which is a smooth blend of organic banana, apple, strawberry, raspberry and quinoa. Yummy and healthy!

This post is my entry into the Tots 100 competition to win an amazing prize, exclusive opportunity to an all expenses place at the Plum Cookery School including a swish hotel stay, a video camera and £500 for little man.

Little Paulo always loved eating from an early age, he will thoroughly enjoy his stay at the Plum Cookery School.

Furthermore, I find extremely important to help other parents with their weaning worries since we had our own difficulties due to lack of support. We did not have any help during Paulo’s weaning process, so I understand how scary it can be when your child seems hungry before the six month guidelines and when your baby wants to eat more than just a tip of a spoon.

My main advice is to listen to your baby’s needs above any guidelines as each child is different.

I would love for me and Paulo to join the two-day course, including master classes with celebrity chef Rachel Allen and children’s food expert Beverly Glock. Not only we will be able to help with our own experience, we would also learn useful tips and listen to valuable professional advice. It would be amazing to have an expert weaning advice now that we are trying for our second child.

As you may be aware, little man is always helping mummy and daddy in the kitchen, Paulo wants to be a chef like his daddy!

I am very excited about the launch of the Plum Cookery School offering recipe development classes to mums and informal chats with child food experts. It is the type of help and reassurance that I would love to have had during little man’s weaning process as a first time mother.

Besides, I know my little chef would love to taste new Plum recipes and he would contribute with his valuable feedback.