Alexia’s Minted Pea & Watercress Soup
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
For the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
600g frozen peas
1 litre chicken stock
6 sprigs of mint, leaves picked
3 tablespoons crème fraiche
½-1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt & pepper
For the topping:
2 tablespoons nuts, roughly chopped (eg. walnuts or hazelnuts)
2 tablespoons mixed seeds (eg. sunflower, pumpkin, poppy and sesame)
Veg Portions / Serving: 2
Recipe donated by Alexia Robinson and Liz Earle for Veg Power. Food photography by Georgia Glynn Smith | www.glynnsmith.co.uk
This is one of my favourite ways of using the fresh British watercress grown by The Watercress Company not far from where I live. The recipe is actually from lizearlewellbeing.com as I find Liz Earle a huge inspiration especially when it comes to healthy recipes using seasonal veg.
Place a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and add the oil and butter. Once foaming, add your chopped onion, season with salt and pepper, and allow to soften without colouring, stirring occasionally. This should take about 7-10 minutes. Once translucent add the peas, stock, watercress, a pinch of salt, plenty of pepper and the mint, reserving a few small leaves for garnish. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes, until tender.
While the soup is simmering, place a frying pan on a medium heat. Once hot, add the mixed nuts and seeds with a pinch of salt, and allow to toast for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally until they are beautifully golden brown and have a nutty aroma. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Once the soup has simmered, remove from the heat and use a stick blender to blitz until smooth, then add the crème fraiche and give it a final blend. Adjust the seasoning, adding the lemon juice to taste.
When you are happy you can either return the soup to the heat and warm through or wait for it to cool, refrigerate and serve chilled. Either way, add an extra dollop of crème fraiche, a tablespoon of the toasted nuts and seeds and a few of the reserved mint leaves to serve.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
There are lots of ways to get children involved here – the best part for them to join in with is the weighing and measuring. They can also have fun squeezing the lemon juice and adding the crème fraiche, and seasoning and adding the nuts and seeds at the end.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.