Get out and celebrate a Swedish Midsummer

Midsummer in Sweden is so much fun for friends and foodies – and now you can take part in the UK too. I’m a Swede living in London, so I’d like to tell you why you should join in and how.

The Midsummer festivities always fall on a Friday, although thousands will be celebrating tomorrow instead. We gather around 1 o’clock – usually with the same bunch of friends every year (tradition is very important) – and kick things off with a long lunch.

The meal is actually pretty similar to Christmas. Think lots of herring, salmon and potatoes. The difference is that, this time of year, you’re sitting down with your buddies rather than your family. The food is always delicious, and everyone contributes something.

Image of a Swedish Midsummer meal

A Midsummer buffet

Image of a cake

A cake with fresh strawberries

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Dr Hilary Jones on milk intolerance and the a2 solution

You’ll probably recognise Dr Hilary Jones from the sofa of ITV’s Daybreak and Steve Wright’s Radio 2 programme.

As an NHS GP, medical presenter and spokesperson for a2 Milk, we wanted his insight on the importance of milk, lactose intolerance, and the options for those of us who have problems digesting milk. Here’s what he had to say when we caught up with him.

Image of Dr Hilary Jones

A lot of people avoid milk and dairy because they suspect it’s causing them digestive issues. Why is that?

Not all cows milk is the same. There are two different types of protein in milk and cows either produce A1 or A2.  Not surprisingly they are known as A1 cows and A2 cows. The A1 protein digests differently to A2 protein and has been linked to discomfort after drinking milk. This is why some people feel they have issues or an intolerance to milk. a2 Milk is cows’ milk that is naturally rich in the A2 protein and contains none of the A1 protein. Put simply, because a2 Milk does not contain the A1 protein, some people may find a2 Milk easier to digest. Continue reading

Guest post: Weaning wisdom from Annabel Karmel

Annabel Karmel, the UK’s number one parenting author and the expert behind a delicious new organic baby purée range, shares her top tips on introducing your baby to solid food.

Ready, set, wean…

Image of Annabel Karmel

The Department of Health recommends that babies should not begin weaning until they are six months old. However, all babies are different, and you may feel your baby is showing signs they are ready for weaning slightly earlier.

If you think that’s the case, speak with a healthcare professional who will be able to advise. However, please note that it’s important not to start your baby on solid foods before 17 weeks as their digestive system has not fully matured.

Introducing first foods

To begin with, the food should be simple, easy to digest, and unlikely to provoke an allergic reaction.

Start with a single ingredient, ideally a fruit or veg. Try root vegetables like carrots, sweet potato and butternut squash; they have a naturally sweet flavour. Mix them with a little breast milk or follow-on formula.

It’s difficult to predict how much a baby will eat, since their appetites and needs will all be different. As a rough guide, your baby will only take one or two teaspoons of purée. Increase the quantity as your baby develops. Babies have a strong sense of appetite, eating when they’re hungry and stopping when they’re not – use this as a gauge.

First vegetables: carrot, parsnip, butternut squash, sweet potato

Try: Annabel’s Lovely Carrot, Apple & Parsnip Organic Baby Purée

First fruits: apple, pear, banana, papaya, avocado, peach

Try: Annabel’s Delicious Banana, Pear & Peach Organic Baby Purée

Introducing new flavours

Once you’ve mastered the art of weaning and your baby has accepted their first tastes, now is the time to get a little more adventurous.

Babies grow more rapidly in their first year than at any other time in their life. Beyond six months they need nutrient-dense foods that provide a good source of iron to boost their diet.

Here are the most important ingredients and how you can use them…

Chicken: Full of protein and so versatile. Combine with vegetables or fruit.

Try: Annabel’s Tasty Chicken & Butternut Squash Purée

Red meat: Iron is important for your baby’s brain development.

Try: Annabel’s Cosy Cottage Pie Purée

Oily Fish: Helps the development of your baby’s brain, nervous system and vision.

Try: Annabel’s Scrumptious Salmon Purée

Fruit: Vitamin C boosts iron absorption, so it’s important to include citrus or berry fruits in your baby’s diet. Start with small quantities and combine with other fruits like apple or pear.

Try: Annabel’s Fruity Apple, Blueberry & Vanilla Purée

Vegetables: Introduce new flavours like peas, broccoli and spinach with my easy organic sauces. Simply add salmon or chicken for the perfect home-cooked meal.

Try: Annabel’s Carrot & Lentil Sauce

In the kitchen

Now you know the ingredients, how to cook them? Try these recipes; they’re all highchair hits…

Trio of Root Veg Purée

Image of Trio of Root Veg Recipe

Baby’s First Fish Pie

Image of Baby's First Fish Pie Recipe at Ocado

Baby’s First Bolognese

Baby's First Bolognese Recipe at Ocado

Have fun trying out new flavours with your little one!