Monday, 26 October 2015

Week 2 of baby led weaning

Now that we are two weeks into solids here's an update on how its going. So far he has mainly had fingers of fruit and veg as I wanted to see him get the hang of holding foods and feeding himself but I think Ill start cooking a little more for him this week.

Breakfasts - Breakfast is normally about an hour after he has woken and been fed in the morning.

  • Raspberries - great faces when he eats these.
  • Banana - when we have ones that are still a little hard he will gnaw away but mostly I find that he still mashes them in his hand so there has been a bit of spoon feeding
  • Pancakes - Ill post a recipe for sugar free ones soon
  • Porridge - he loves porridge which I make with water. I sometimes mash banana or raspberries through it. I load the spoon for him and he will eat away to his hearts content
  • Greek yogurt - I buy the aldi one which has no added ingredients. 
  • Overnight oats - I made a variant of overnight oats with Greek yogurt and milk this week. He enjoyed it when eating it and it was thick enough not to fall off the spoon but vomited it up fairly shortly afterwards

Lunch/Dinner - I find that about 3 o'clock in the afternoon is when hes happiest having some more food, he makes it fairly clear if he doesn't want to eat or sit in his high chair! Most evenings he's getting a little too tired to eat anything when we have dinner (about 6:30) but we will normally give him something to nibble on. Restaurants and cafes have been pretty good about giving me some plain veg on the side for him which is great as Ive found that most of the food I have been served has a salty sauce of some kind on it. 
  • Broccoli - He loves tenderstem broccoli and its great as it has such long stalks for him to hold and nibble on
  • Cucumber - a big favourite which might be due to teeth coming up too. I peel it and cut it into fingers for him
  • Melon - again I think he might love this because he is teething and its nice and cool on his gums. 
  • Chicken - I fried up finger size slices of chicken and he happily chewed on these - this was his first meat
  • Pasta - not a big fan of fusilli but I think it was a little small for his hand. 
  • Mozzarella - he squeezed a lot of the goodness out of this but enjoyed it enough to have 3 pieces
  • Pitta - I have made pittas for him with avocado spread on them and he loves chomping away on these. I have a great pitta recipe which Ill post up this week. 
  • Mushy peas - while we were out for dinner he had some mushy minty peas - Ill definitely need to make these and put them on bread for him
  • Apple - he ate half a steamed apple in one sitting! 
  • Red peppers - I think these were a little too hard for him when raw but when fried a little (with the chicken above) he enjoyed them
Drinking - I give him a sippy cup with water when he's eating which sometimes distracts him and ends up being flung on the floor. After mistakenly buying a sippy cup that leaked I bought this Nuby one last week and he is slowly getting the hang of it although I often find him holding it upside down trying to chew on it! 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Silk Road Cafe review

The Silk Road Cafe is a gem of a cafe thats hidden away in the Chester Beatty Library in the grounds of Dublin Castle. Despite being in the centre of Dublin its not a place I would ever think of going to. I only ended up visiting after a friend mentioned that our maternity leave needed a bit more culture. Five of us with our five small people went along for a Wednesday lunch time visit last week.

Food - As the name suggests the food is heavily slanted towards what you might find on the silk routes of old - think falafel, moussaka and curries. I had the falafel plate with 4 salads, my choice included tabouleh and stuffed vine leaves. My friends had moussaka and curries. All the mains are around the 9-10 Euro mark and hearty enough to keep you going for a long day of sightseeing/babyschlepping. They have an amazing selection of cakes (pictured above) which through some amazing feat of willpower were avoided on this visit!

Accessibility - The cafe is on the ground floor of the Chester Beatty Library and was no problem to access. The entrance had automatically opening electric doors as did the entrances to all the library floors

Changing facilities - Excellent. Theres a separate changing room (without loo) which has a large fixed ledge for changing.

Highchairs - Only 2 available

Space for buggy - Plenty. We, along with 5 babies and buggies, sat in the atrium area and there would have been space for a lot more.

Service - The cafe is self service style but the staff were really helpful and brought dishes to the table for a number of us that went to the counter carrying babies.

Table booking - Not needed for a weekday lunch

Overall rating - 4.5/5 - Great value for really hearty tasty food. Im marking it down a half mark only because I fancied something a little lighter today and everything was quite heavy for a lunchtime feed. I will definitely be back here again when Im a little hungrier than today.

Baby friendly rating - 5/5 - Of all the places Ive been since having thelittlefoodie I felt more comfortable here than anywhere else. It might just be me, but often I feel like a bit of a nuisance taking up space with my screamy baby. We lounged around for a few hours chatting and drinking coffees and didnt feel that we were disturbing anyone. At one point a member of staff of the library even welcomed us and the babies and asked for our opinion on the new changing room. There are quite a few of the salads and side vegetables that would be perfect for baby led weaning (all of us had food with us today though)

The damage - €13 for a large cappuccino and falafel plate with 4 salads.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

First days of Baby Led Weaning

As the little man had been increasingly curious about food over the last few weeks we decided to start him on solids over the weekend. Here's what he has eaten so far and his reactions:

Porridge beard
Day 1
  • Steamed broccoli - I may have cooked this too much as it went everywhere, but this could have been down to the stems were not long enough for him to hold too. I'm going to try with sprouting broccoli next to see if that works better. As his very first taste he was intrigued. 
  • Steamed carrot - Again I might have gone too far with steaming so it kept breaking in his fingers before he got it to his mouth. Its definitely a big learning experience holding something that breaks! I wasn't sure that he swallowed any of it until I saw his nappy the next day
  • Galia Melon - He loved this and cried when we ran out of it. 
  • Strawberry - I gave him this in one of these little net things. I'm pretty sure he has my sweet tooth as he was very fond of this
Day 2 
  • All the same as day 1 - no real change. 
Day 3 
  • Porridge - Ill admit I did spoon feed him this although it was still very messy as his hands kept going into his mouth. 
  • Avocado - a little too slippery for him to get into his mouth 
  • Steamed sweet potato - He chomped away on this but it spat a lot out too. 
Day 4 
  • Porridge - this time I filled the spoon and gave it to him - incredibly messy but he loved playing with it. There's definitely no point dressing your baby before porridge! 
  • Banana - lots of smiles, lots of mess

What we have learnt so far: 
Overall so far its been very messy and a little bit scary but I can see that he is learning a lot and enjoying eating immensely. A lot of the food was spat out after being gnawed, often a few minutes after he finished eating which was a great reminder to keep him upright for a while after eating. After a few days of using baby wipes to clean him Ive decided to keep a face cloth in the kitchen to wipe him down. Despite lots of warning from friends the gagging is very unnerving but doesn't seem to bother him at all. There has been no change at all to his milk feeds so far. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Best brunch in Dublin with a baby - Herbstreet brunch review

Things have been a little quiet around these parts recently with nobody getting much sleep as the littlefoodie has been sprouting his first two teeth. Due to this lunches have been much shorter affairs and bed times have been early enough for me to barely get close to a computer!  

While my other recent reviews have all been for week day lunches, today's review is for one of my favourite weekend haunts. Herbstreet is one of the older unsung heroes of the brunch market in Dublin. It gets very little press but always has a queue out the door on a Saturday or Sunday morning and while Ive had dinner there, brunch is definitely the speciality. If you have a hangover this is the place to go as it has a great brunch menu. If you have a hangover and a small child, there's even more of a draw. 

Food - Every time I come here its always a challenge to pick what Ill have but this time I had the french toast with bacon and maple syrup and the mr had the eggs benedict. Its a real challenge because the pancakes, full Irish and eggos mexicalos are all pretty good too. At around 12 euro for most of the mains its a little more expensive than some other brunch places but the quality is great and portions will keep you going half the day. Their orange juice is freshly pressed and they make a mean coffee too (as seen below served with side salad of giraffe)

Accessibility - There is only a ground floor so accessibility is not an issue. 

Changing facilities - There is a large wheelchair/buggy accessible loo beside the other toilets with changing table and fancy nappy wrapping bin. 

Highchairs - The littlefoodie was particularly fussy on our most recent visit and went from sitting in his buggy, to our laps to a highchair and back again. I saw at least 2 other kids in high chairs while we were there so they must have plenty of them.

Space for buggy - Not a massive amount inside but the staff are more than willing to make room. There is also a large terrace at the front (heaters and retractable awning for the cold) which would be perfect if you had a few buggies along. 

Service -  Our server was really lovely in helping us get a space that the buggy would fit and chatting to the littlefoodie. Some of the other staff also came over for a chat with him while we had breakfast. Service is professional and prompt, without you ever feeling rushed over your lazy Sunday brunch. 

Table booking - They dont take bookings for brunch at the weekend but if you turn up and there's a queue they will give you a time estimate and tell you to come back which is handy if you have a little one in tow. Ive heard that you can (and should) book tables for lunch during the week.

Overall rating - 5/5 - Anyone I have ever introduced to Herbstreet has become a regular, the service and food are great

Babyfriendly rating - 5/5 - Ive regularly seen babies and older children here. Its a busy enough place that you wont feel self conscious about a screaming baba and the staff will make you feel at home. 

The damage - Brunch for two, 2 orange juices and cappuccinos came to just under €40