…to all of the following questions, and probably many more (warning, both baby and toddler have bad nighttime coughs, and if my extra-sleep-deprived state continues I’m likely to come up with lists even more ridiculous than this in future… watch this space, if the obsessive list-making has not already driven you away).
- What is the easiest way to get veg and protein into a finger-food loving baby?
- What can I make by sticking everything into a food processor without measuring it, and just adding eggs or flour until it sort of looks right?
- What healthy finger food can I batch cook, freeze, defrost one at a time when I need it and reheat in the toaster?
- What makes a family meal with salad and dips, but can also be spread with plain yoghurt and given to a 9-month-old for breakfast?
You get the idea. Fritters are a super-convenient food for babies, especially if you’re going the baby-led weaning route, or your mite is into finger foods. They are also great for toddlers. And adults.
I am a terrible recipe writer because I don’t measure anything (and do most of my cooking with a 2.5 year old eating the ingredients or sticking a spatula in my eye) so this is more an ideas post for you, in case you have not yet become a fritter convert.
Here is a basic fritter formula: egg + one or more vegetables (courgette, beetroot, sweetcorn, frozen peas etc) + a thickening carb (such as chickpeas, flour, breadcrumbs, mashed potato) + cheese (optional, but delicious – parmesan, mozzerella, halloumi all work) + a herb or flavouring (such as spring onions, lemon zest, parsley).
You blend/mix the stuff until it is thick, then you fry it (or, shock, bake it! though then it’s not technically a fritter I suppose) until it’s golden and yummy.
So, for recipes, My Lovely Little Lunchbox is a great place to start, because she is the queen of fritters and also good for baby led weaning recipes in general.
Current favourites are pea, mint and feta fritters adapted from this recipe, sweetcorn fritters adapted from here, sweet potato latkes (just grated sweet potato mixed with egg and a little flour), and my improvised cheesy potato cakes (not technically fritters? who knows) made with leftover mashed potato, egg, spring onion and cheddar. My toddler and I also loved these pumpkin pancakes (which are of course pancakes, not fritters, and you would probably not bother with the crispy sage for a baby, but hey).
If you struggle to find time to stand over a hot frying pan, or that set-up is not safe because of toddler mayhem, I recommend putting the fritters on a well-oiled baking sheet and baking at 190 or so until golden and cooked through. Brush them with more oil half way through cooking and flip them over. It is less naughty and therefore, less nice than frying them in the pan. But it works, and is less likely to cause a house fire if you have to leave the kitchen to change a nappy.
My tip for freezing them would be to interleave them with greaseproof paper in a tupperware so you can get one out at a time, or else freeze them flat in a single layer in ziplock bags for the same effect.
I generally make way more than I need when I do fritters as a family meal (toddler and baby have fritters with yoghurt or dip, a few pieces of cheese and cucumber; adults have fritters with a dip of some kind and a big salad (quickest please-all dip is tahini mixed with yoghurt and lemon juice)). I then keep a variety of frozen fritters in the freezer, so whenever I’ve nothing else planned I can get a few out in the morning to defrost for a quick baby lunch or baby and toddler tea.