This chunky, farmhouse-style soup is perfect for warming up cold days and you can swap or add in vegetables depending on what’s in season. Asparagus, peas, broad beans, sliced runner or French beans, broccoli florets, chard and spinach would all be tasty
Warm the oil in a large pan. Stir in the onion, leek, garlic, celery, carrots and parsnip and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and the pan lid. Sweat over a very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until softened.
Discard the greaseproof paper. Add the pearl barley and vegetable stock. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the barley is tender.
Add the kale or cabbage and simmer, uncovered, for 1–2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then ladle into warm bowls and serve with crusty bread.
This recipe is taken from The Contented Calf Cookbook: Nourishing Recipes for Breastfeeding Mums by Elena Cimelli (Grosvenor House Publishing, £14.99)
Blend some of the soup until the vegetables are smooth
Let your baby pick out pieces of vegetable out of a small cup of cooled soup as well as dunk chunks pieces of bread into it
...until their children are old enough to eat with them, according to a recent study run by OnePoll. The research, commissioned by AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board), also found that 26 per cent were not prepared for the negative impact that having a baby would have on their diet.