Annabel Karmel Baby Pasta

Annabel Karmel you have a lot to answer for. You come into our lives, just at the point when our precious little baby needs feeding and you seem to stay there forever with your endlessly healthy, easy to cook, fabulously scrumptious recipes suitable for adult dinner parties and the littlest of mouths. I have been your disciple for two years now and enjoy a weekly dose of Pasta with Gruyere Cheese (I’d not had that before), Traffic Light Lollipops, Chicken with Pumpkin and many many other things. You have changed my life forever, you have changed the fundamentals of my cooking. Scrap that Delia woman and that foul mouthed chef, even scrap posh Hugh and his River Cottage delights. You show us how to cook easy edible food. For that I bow down to you.

I will have to overlook your kitchen equipment; the blender that I bought which broke leaving little lumps of metal in baby Fifi’s finest Waitrose organic pears. And those little ice cube compartments in bright pink and acid green which disintegrated under nearly all forms of sterilisation making them un-practical for intended use.
The blender fiasco was forgiven thanks to the lovely, lovely white chocolate and summer berry cheesecake recipe that you provided for me the other week in my bible of cooking, Superfoods for Babies and Children. Pure bliss, and Philadelphia was half price in Sainsbury’s reducing my costs further.
The post arrived before we went on holiday and amongst the gas bill, charity begging letters and holiday postcards was a little packet. On further investigation, it contained a little packet of Annabel Karmel Make it Easy Organic Baby Shell Pasta Shapes (long name!). Hurrah! Free food, always good in a recession.
I have to admit being a harsh mummy Toddler boy has never had the opportunity to try this baby pasta, he’s onto the big stuff. Proper big, economy fusilli that comes in a ten ton pack for 99p and may or may not contain lots of non-organic residues. I figure the organic thing is a bit of a swizz anyhow. I can see it from the view point of added vitamins, but not from that of keeping the diet toxin free. As most kids I know, seem to indulge in sweeties, lollipops and cakes when even the most strictly label conscious mummy isn’t looking. I can’t see the point in paying over the odds for the finest organic sweet potatoes when the mother-in-law/ uncle/ dad/ friend provides the finest gummy jelly sweets and cholesterol busting chocolate. That said, I do buy organic meat (vegetarianism has momentarily gone out of the window) and the odd organic carrot as I makes me feel better.
Anyhow, I’ve had a massive cook-a-thon, did the whole packet. Reason being that baby Fifi is coming up to 6 months and will soon be feasting on pasta. So, I thought, why not give her the best? I never worry about cooking instructions for stuff like pasta, so I cant comment on those, but they did seem easy enough to cook. You need to keep an eye on them, being a bit smaller than normal pasta they do cook a bit quicker.
I picked my recipe, one of Annabel’s (you can find lots here); Tomato, Carrot and Lentil Sauce with pasta. I like cooking with lentils, they make me feel all good, green and hippyish! Easy enough to do, but a bit pricey, as I had to buy a whole pack of double cream and Parmesan. Oh, well, looks like we will be feasting on strawberries and mushroom and Parmesan risotto this week. Shame.
What happened? Well, Toddler boy lapped it up, with the addition of some home-made crusty bread it seemed to go down well. The rest is in the freezer in my little Tommee Tippee food pots. I have to say, this pasta is brilliant for fitting into small pots for small baby portions, being teeny tiny, you don’t need to scrunch it all up. I think therefore, that for the sort of 7-10 month period it actually is more cost effective than the cheaper bigger pasta shapes.
I reckon these little pasta shapes would actually also be quite nice in a broth or soup for adults. Since I bought a blender I have started making these using vegetable stock cubes and vegetables! So, next time I’m in Waitrose (you can also get them in Tesco, but that’s not near to me), I’m going to get another packet. Thanks Annabel. If you want a baby model, Toddler boy and Fifi are happy to oblige, provided you cook them a nice dinner.