Amanda’s Italian Country Soup
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp light olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 large Kind Edward potatoes, peeled and cut into ‘stock-cube’-size pieces
2 glasses dry white wine (if you decide to make an adults only version one day!)
1/2 small white cabbage
1 small pointed spring cabbage, outer leaves discarded, cored and cut lengthways
150g spring greens
1 1/2 l vegetable or chicken stock
salt and black pepper
150g canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
200g butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 small bag baby-leaf spinach, rinsed
1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese (per person), grated
Veg Portions / Serving: 2
Recipe donated by Amanda Ursell for Veg Power.
This soup can be blended as a food for stage-two weaning. Adults can add seasoning later if they feel the need. It is really tasty served with some soft bread for little ones, and for adults, slices of chargrilled sourdough bread rubbed with fresh garlic and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Finely chop the onions, and chop the celery and carrots into chunkier pieces. Peel the garlic cloves. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped vegetables plus the bay leaf. Sauté over a medium to low heat for 20 minutes until ingredients are golden. Add cubed potatoes and turn heat up to medium, stirring all the while. Add the white wine and bring to the boil. Turn heat down to medium/low so it keeps simmering briskly.
Meanwhile roughly chop the remaining green vegetables minus the spinach. Once the wine in the saucepan has reduced by half its volume, add the stock and the green vegetables. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer. Season with a little salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer gently, with the lid slightly askew, for 45 minutes.
Add the cannellini and butter beans. Simmer for a further 45 minutes with the lid off. Finally, add the spinach. Remove the bay leaf and discard, stir well and serve with some freshly-grated Parmesan.
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
Peeling veg can help keep the children happy for some time, and potatoes and carrots are not too fiddly, making them ideal for them to practice with. They can also peel away the outer cabbage leaves, wash the spinach and grate the cheese. If you’re serving the soup with toast, they can rub it with garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
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.