Ellie dragged her mum, Simone, along to the kitchen to make this Italian Red Lentil dish at 5pm AEST on Tuesday 30 Aug. 🙂  Verity was not very well but played along provided that Simone would keep cuddling her all the way through the prep.  #onehandedcooking #embracemess

“I love getting the girls in the kitchen as much as possible to increase their exposures to the foods.  This is in order to build familiarity.  I don’t expect them to make the connection of “I cooked this” and “So, I will eat this”.  However, it is a fact that the more exposures to food in a non-pressured environment that kids can get, the more likely they are to learn about them and eat them.  Some foods take lots of learning.  Others don’t take as many “learns”.  This depends on your child, their day and their experiences.” – Simone

The recipe includes lots of serving inspiration!
This is what it looked like at our place:

Italian Red Lentil Soup and Accompaniments by Play with Food

Joint Media Engagement (JME) means to use screens with children and it enables you to enrich their learning experiences from screens. Research published the International Journal of Learning and Media (2009) showed that most children’s media activities benefit from adult, sibling or peer interactions. With JME you can provide spontaneous explanations to questions, share their perspectives and encourage problem solving.  (See more about JME in Dr Kristy Goodwin’s book, Raising your Child in a Digital World). Personally, we have decided to embark on this weekly cooking show to assist Ellie with some school readiness skills of building confidence, learning about organisation and self-help.   If you are interested in learning more about screen time and using it in good balance for your child and in a way that may help with your mealtimes, check out this video event.

Italian Red Lentils
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A mixed texture food with lots of aromatic vegetables and herbs that Italian cookery is famous for.
Recipe type: Main Meal
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 Bowls
  • 8 Roasted Vine Tomatoes (Roast in advance by grilling for 15 minutes with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Carrots, Diced
  • 1 Large Fennel Bulb, Diced
  • 2 Stalks of Kale, Chopped with FIbrous Ribbing Removed
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
  • ½ Cup rinsed Red Lentils
  • ½ tsp Thyme Leaves
  • 8 Ripe Vine Tomatoes, Roasted
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1L Salt Reduced Vegetable Stock
  • Optional: 1-2 Chorizo or Italian sausages, ½ handful of fresh parsley, Chilli Flakes, Sprinkles of Parmesan Cheese or Olives.
  • This was served with home made potato chips, fresh fennel sticks, olives, slices of tomato and garlic bread at our house.
  1. In a large soup pot, sautee your fennel and carrot in the olive oil. Once they are starting to cook down (3 mins) add the garlic.
  2. After a further 2 minutes of cooking add the roasted tomatoes, thyme and kale.
  3. Finally add the red lentils, stock, pepper and chilli flakes (optional) and bring to the boil.
  4. Once it is boiling, let simmer for 25 mins.
  5. Using a hand blender, blitz to get a consistency your family likes.
  6. In the meantime, you can pan fry your chorizo (or italian sausage) that can be chopped and added to the top.
  7. Have the parmesan, olives, sausage and parsley available for the family to add themselves to the top of the soup once they are at the table. This is a way to incorporate the division of responsibility principles into a more difficult "mixed texture" meal.

Feel free to tag us in any of your pics on Instagram as @playwithfood_au!

x Simone and Ellie


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