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Food and Nutrition

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We cater for all children under 5, including babies that are weaning, and all special dietary requirements are catered for within our menus. At Fennies, we know how important it is for children to eat balanced and nutritional food and whilst in our care, our mission is to ensure that mealtimes are a memorable and much loved part of the day.

Nursery Food and NutritionWe are very proud to be partners with Annabel Karmel, one of the world’s most trusted experts in feeding babies and children. We work in collaboration with Annabel to create bespoke menus that are both delicious and nutritious.

We recognise the importance of introducing a diverse range of delicious flavours to encourage good, healthy eating habits for the future. That’s one of the delights of working in partnership with Annabel; our recipes are loved by the children and we serve food that even the fussiest eaters enjoy.

In this section you will find:

Monthly menus: The current seasonal menus being used at our nurseries
Seasonal Specialties: Some meal time treat ideas for this time of year
Recipes to try at home: Try our fabulous recipes yourself
Annabel Karmel: More about Annabel Karmel
Useful Tips: Fennies and Annabel Karmel’s Food and Nutrition; Tips and Advice

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Seasonal Specialties

Bring a little extra festive joy to meal time with our Christmas recipes. Sure to wow little helpers, these delicious treats are fun and simple to create and make fantastic party show stoppers.

Christmas Tree Pop Cakes

These Christmas Tree delights add a little extra sparkle to the favored chocolate cake.

Ingredients (Serves 8)

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 75g Dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g Butter, softened
  • 125g Caster sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 100g Self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Milk

For the Icing

  • Tub of shop-bought buttercream icing
  • Green food colouring (Annabel favors paste)
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Small triangles of fresh orange
  • 9 Stripy candy canes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C /160 °C Fan / 350 °F / Gas Mark 4.
Line a 20cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper and grease the sides.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until runny. Leave to cool a little.
Measure the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl. Whiz using a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients including the melted chocolate.
Spoon into the tin and level the top. Bake for 20-22 minutes until well risen and firm in the middle. Cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile colour three quarters of the buttercream green by adding some of the green food colouring and spread over the cooled cake. Cut the cake into 8 triangles to make tree shapes.
Insert the candy cane into the cake wedges to make the trunks.
Spoon the remaining icing into a small piping bag and pipe lines across the trees and decorate with the pomegranate seeds and triangles of fresh orange.
Finally you can insert a length of candy cane into the base of the tree to from the trunk.

ALLERGENS – WHEAT, GLUTEN, DAIRY, EGG

Rudolph Pancakes

Perfect for a special breakfast or as a sweet afternoon snack, these Rudolph pancakes are quick and easy to make.

For the Pancake Batter

  • 100g Plain flour
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 150ml Milk
  • 50g Melted butter

For the Decoration

  • Cooked bacon rashers
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Maple syrup to serve

Method

Sift the flour with a big pinch of salt into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Use a balloon whisk to incorporate the eggs into the flour and gradually whisk in the milk. Stir the mixture until smooth but do not over mix.
Use a heavy based 15 to 18 cm (6 to 7 in) frying pan and brush with melted butter – you can use a pastry brush for this – and when hot, pour in about 2 tbsp of the batter.
Quickly tilt the pan from side to side until you get a circular layer of batter covering the base of the frying pan. Cook the pancake for about one minute, then flip it over – you can use a spatula for this – and cook until the underside is lightly flecked with gold.
Continue with the rest of the batter and make pancakes of varying sizes and shapes as in the photograph (for the smaller pancakes you will only need 1 to 1 /2 tbsp of batter). Brush the pan with melted butter when necessary.
Stack the pancakes on top of each other and arrange the bacon rashers as antlers and add blueberries for eyes and a strawberry for the nose.

ALLERGENS – WEHAT, GLUTEN, DAIRY, EGG

Reindeer Cookies

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, or the always favored Rudolph, these playful cookies are a joy to decorate. Make them in batches for friends and family or to keep at home for elevensies!

For the Cookies

  • 350g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 175g butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

For the Decoration

  • Curly wurly chocolate bars
  • Glace cherries
  • M&Ms
  • Black icing pens

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160 °C Fan / 350 °F / Gas Mark 4.
Measure the flour, spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a bowl.
Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix. Lightly knead together to make a dough.
Form the dough into 10 balls. Pinch out one end of the balls to form a point, then flatten with your hand. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden but still slightly soft.
Using a skewer, make a slit on either side of the cookie heads for the antlers to slot in then leave to cool for a few minutes. Decorate each cookie with lengths of Curly Wurly for the antlers and halved glacé cherries for the nose. Take two M&M’s of the same colour for the eyes and dot with black icing for the pupils.

ALLERGENS – WEHAT, GLUTEN, DAIRY

Recipes to try at home

We are often asked by parents for recipes of the children’s favourite meals so that you can recreate them at home.
We have put together a selection of the most requested and favourites for you here.

Please ask your Nursery Manager if there is a particular recipe from our menus that you would like us to share.

Children’s Favourite – Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese

What’s not to love about Macaroni cheese? And this lovely recipe has lots of vegetable goodness. A children’s favourite, this yummy meal is easy for little hands and appears regularly on our menus.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 200g cauliflower florets
  • 1 TBSP cornflour
  • 250ml milk
  • 55g grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 TBSP Italian hard cheese
  • 1/2 TSP dijon mustard
  • 185g macaroni

Method

Cook the cauliflower for 10-15mins or until soft
Meanwhile put the corn flour in a pan and whisk in the milk. Heat the milk gently , whisking constantly,
Until it comes to the boil and thickens into a sauce.
Simmer for 1min then remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and mustard.
Blend the sauce with the cooked cauliflower.
Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions and drain well.
Return to the pan and add the sauce and stir well over a low heat for 2mins or until hot.

ALLERGENS – DAIRY, WHEAT/GLUTEN (Mustard)

Chicken and Potato Pie

A heart-warming yummy pie, enjoyed by Fennies children. It is soft and easy to scoop so a great pie for little hands learning to use a spoon and fork or for preschoolers who have mastered the art.

Ingredients

  • 500 g potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 25 g butter
  • 100 ml milk
  • 50 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 15 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 300 g shredded cooked chicken
  • 75 g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to season

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F / Gas 6.
Put the potatoes in cold salted water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Drain and mash with butter, milk and the grated cheeses.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the leek and shallot gently for 8 to 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, then stir in the stock a little at a time, to make a smooth sauce (you may find it easier to do this off the heat).
Stir in the cream, then cook, stirring until the sauce just comes to the boil. Stir in the chicken, peas and parsley, then remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and season to taste. Spoon into a one and a half litre dish and top with mash. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes and then finish off for a few minutes under the grill until golden brown. It’s a good idea to place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

ALLERGENS – DAIRY

Beef Lasagna

A classic recipe and the current favourite as eaten by Fennies children. This recipe is really easy to make and little hands love helping to mix the ingredients and sprinkling the grated cheese on top.

*A top tip for from one of our wonderful chefs is to replace the lasagna sheets with Penne pasta for under two’s. It is much easier for them to eat independently when they are learning to use forks and spoons.
Ingredients

BEEF SAUCE

  • OIL
  • 1 ONION CHOPPED
  • GARLIC
  • MIXED PEPPERS
  • 450G MINCED BEEF
  • 1 TSP MIXED HERBS
  • 1 TIN CHOPPED TOMATOES
  • PEPPER

CHEESE SAUCE

  • 50G BUTTER
  • 40G FLOUR
  • 460ML MILK
  • 50G GRATED CHEESE

9 PRE-COOKED LASAGNE SHEETS *or Penne for under two’s.

Method

Sauté onion, garlic, and peppers until softened. Add the beef and the herbs and sauté until the beef is browned. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over a medium heat for 30mins.

Meanwhile, to prepare the cheese sauce, melt the butter stir in the flour and cook out for 2mins, gradually whisk in the milk, bring to the boil and whisk until thicken and smooth. Add the pepper, remove from the heat and add the cheese stir until melted.

To assemble the lasagne spoon the meat sauce on the base of an oven dish, cover with lasagne sheets. Divide the remaining meat sauce in half and cover the lasagne with half of the sauce, spoon over a little cheese sauce. Cover with three more sheets of lasagne and cover with the remaining meat sauce. Again spoon over a little cheese sauce, but make sure that enough remains to completely cover the top of the lasagne. Sprinkle over a little grated cheese and cook in the oven for 25-30mins on gas mark 5.

ALLERGENS – DAIRY, WHEAT/GLUTEN

Jeweled Pizza

So much fun for little hands. Try making faces, letters or even volcanoes with the toppings.
Makes 4

Ingredients

  • 4 WHEAT TORTILLA WRAPS OR PIZZA BASES
  • TOMATO PUREE
  • MIXED HERBS
  • 200G CHERRY TOMATOES SLICED THINLY
  • 170G GRATED CHEESE
  • JEWELED TOPPINGS – SLICED HAM, SLICED CHICKEN, SWEETCORN AND PEPPERS

Method

Preheat oven gas mark 6
Sit the wraps/pizza base on a baking sheet
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, add cherry tomatoes and cheese
Add lots of lovely jewel toppings, from sweetcorn to peppers, to mushrooms and peas. This recipe is a fun and very easy way to cook with your child. They will love making patterns with the jewels.
Bake in oven for 5-8mins or until golden brown.
ALLERGENS – DAIRY, WHEAT/GLUTEN

Apricot Cookies

Makes 18 (this is a big recipe that we use at nursery, you will probably only need half, a quarter or less.)
Apricots, cookies, what more do we need to say! This is not a tricky recipe and little hands enjoy mixing the ingredients and putting sticky dough onto the baking tray.

Ingredients

  • 100G UNSALTED BUTTER
  • 100G CREAM CHEESE
  • 75G PLAIN FLOUR
  • 50G CHOPPED APRICOTS
  • 65G WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS

METHOD
Preheat oven gas mark 5
Line baking sheets
In a large bowl cream together butter and cream cheese
Add the sugar and beat until fluffy
Gradually add the flour
Then fold in the apricots and chocolate chips (the dough will be quite soft, don’t worry)
Drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto baking tray and bake for about 15 mins until lightly golden brown.
ALLERGENS – DAIRY, WHEAT/GLUTEN, SULPHITES

About Annabel Karmel

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Annabel Karmel is the UK’s No.1 children’s cookery author, best-selling international author, and leading expert on devising delicious, nutritious meals for babies, children and families.

Since launching with The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner 25 years ago, Annabel has written more than 40 books, which have sold over four million copies worldwide.

Credited with starting a food revolution, Annabel has helped parents around the globe with first foods to exploring tastes and textures, and fussy eating to family meals and beyond.

Now Annabel has brought her wealth of expertise and has created healthy and balanced menus for Fennies. Knowing how important it is for children to stay fuelled on the right foods, Annabel’ recipes are packed with all of the important goodness needed to help little ones grow and develop.

To find out more about Annabel and to access lots of free recipes for every age and stage, visit www.annabelkarmel.com.

Fennies and Annabel Karmel’s Food and Nutrition; Tips and Advice

Tips for Weaning
Tips for Managing Fussy Eaters