For an older baby, add plain, cooked rice to sweet and savoury purées to encourage chewing. Rice pudding is also good for babies from 9 months. Put 50g (2oz) of pudding rice into a pan with 600ml (1pt) milk and ½tsp vanilla essence. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add dried fruit while it’s cooking, or mix in a fruit purée or a little low-sugar strawberry jam. Two easy fruit purées are plum and apricot.
For plum purée, skin two large plums (plunge into scalding water for 1 minute, then cold water) and chop the flesh. Plums can be puréed, using a hand-held blender, uncooked if they’re soft and juicy. Purée, then stir in baby rice to thicken.
For apricot purée, skin two large apricots (as for the plums), then purée using a hand-held blender. Fresh apricots can be quite sour, so simmer some dried apricots in water for 5 minutes, and blend with the fresh ones. Then stir in some baby rice mixed with milk.