A mother of three, Annabel Karmel is the UK’s best-selling author on feeding babies and children. She is an expert in devising tasty and nutritious meals for children without the need for parents to spend hours in the kitchen. Annabel has written 24 books on feeding babies, children and families and sold over 4 million books worldwide.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of Annabel’s first book, the Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner which has become the authoritative guide on feeding babies and is regularly in the top five cookery titles.

And check out her new range of meals in Sainsbury’s ‘Fuss Pots’, £2.89, pictured above. “My new Fussy Eaters Recipe Book shows you how to make your own healthy junk food to encourage fussy eaters to eat better-quality food. My children love these Halloween burgers, adding tomato chutney to burgers gives them a delicious flavour. Serve them on their own or with spaghetti as hair.” – Annabel


Make spiders come to life for dark nights



Spider Cupcakes

“This is a cross between a brownie, a muffin and a cupcake, these yummy chocolate confections are unlikely to stick around for long,” – Annabel





125g butter at room temperature

125g golden caster sugar

110g self raising flour

2 and a half tbsp cocoa powder

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp grated orange zest

50g plain chocolate chips or plain chocolate chopped into small pieces


3to 4 tablespoons Betty Crocker Buttercream style Chocolate Icing

Chocolate Flavoured Strands

4 boxes Mikado Dark chocolate Sticks (Pokey Sticks)

50g plain chocolate

Liquorice Allsorts


Preheat the oven to 180C / 350 F. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl. Add the eggs to the creamed butter mixture a little at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour mixture with the second egg. Mix in the orange zest and the remaining flour and cocoa until blended. Finally stir in the chocolate pieces.

Line a large muffin tray with 10 paper cases and fill each one until two thirds full. Bake the muffins for 20 to 22 minutes . Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove the muffins and place on a wire cooking rack.

When cool, spread a little chocolate buttercream over each of the cupcakes and then sprinkle with chocolate flavoured strands.

To make the legs, take the Mikado chocolate sticks and cut off the piece not covered with chocolate. Cut a quarter of the sticks in half . Stick four short lengths of Mikado sticks on each side of the spider’s body, then melt the chocolate, dip one end of each of the longer Mikado sticks into the chocolate and attach these to the shorter lengths.

Arrange them on trays or baking sheets lined with greaseproof or baking paper and allow the chocolate to set– the melted chocolate will harden as it cools keeping the legs stuck together. Push one end of the legs into the body of the spider and then repeat until you get four legs either side. Finish off with Liquorice Allsort eyes. (Makes 10 spider cakes).


November burgers


“Halloween burgers for your children when they come home from Trick or Treating.”


1 medium red onion, chopped

3 tbsp sunflower oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 tsp thyme leaves

2 slices white bread, crusts removed

250 g (9 oz) minced beef

3 tbsp tomato chutney (or you could use tomato relish)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1–2 tbsp flour, for dusting


Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil for 5–6 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Tear the bread into pieces and put in a food processor with the onion mixture and blitz together.

Add the mince and form the mixture into 6 burgers using flour-dusted hands.

Fry the burgers in the remaining oil for 4 to 5 minutes on each side over a medium-to-low heat. If you fry over a high heat, because of the sugar in the tomato chutney the burgers have a tendency to burn. Alternatively cook the burgers under a pre-heated grill. Serve in a bun with lettuce and tomato. Makes six.

Suitable for freezing. If you want to freeze burgers it’s best to do so uncooked on a tray lined with cling film. When frozen, wrap them individually in cling film. You can then remove them individually and use as many as you like.