My Mum's spiced eggplant with creamy lentils & grapes (page 76)

Switch & Mix

The aubergine can be substituted for the chicken breast on page 41, or the salmon on page 55. Season with the cardamom dressing before and after cooking as per this recipe. Cook them for the time that I give you in their recipes. No other changes are necessary.

Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids

  • Measure the spices.
  • Measure the olive oil.
  • Measure the grape juice.
  • Peel the onions. Start your child off by cutting off the tops with a knife. Then peel the skin just enough to give them something to grip and then pull off. This is extremely satisfying at any age.
  • Peel the garlic. Jake and James love banging it to loosen the skin first.
  • Grate the ginger with as much supervision as they need.
  • Measure the tomato puree.
  • Measure the vegetable bouillon powder.
  • Measure the yoghurt.
  • Measure the almonds.
  • Open the tin with as much supervision as they need. (Jake started doing this at 4 1/2).
  • Pick the grapes off their stalks.
  • Pick the mint leaves off their stalks.

My Cooking With Kids Recipe Diary

Jake 5 years 4 months, James 2 years 8 months

Jake and James have eaten a lot of lentils in their time and Jake really loved this. In our house, lentils have become a sort of comfort food in the same way that savoury mince is. James was a bit poorly so he just had a little taste and lots of rice. He’s eating well at his daycare, lots of pasta and vegetables, so I’m not too worried. He eats a lot of fruit as well.


The thing that worries me most of all is that he doesn’t want to taste anymore; he used to always want to try everything. Often when we’re in the kitchen together, I try to give him something to taste and he’s not interested. I try hard not to get upset or worried and extremely hard not to put him off anything or make meal times a big deal. I wonder if it’s because of times when I’ve tried to get him to taste things that he’s tasted before and that he knows or at least thinks that he doesn’t like. So he doesn’t trust me now.


I heard or read somewhere that you have to try something 17 times, or another said 26, before you know you don’t like it. So I’ve always persevered. But maybe I shouldn’t, maybe the better idea is to give him a longer break between tries. Maybe the idea is to stop reading too much about the theory of parenting. I'll try giving him a longer break though, until the next time we eat mushrooms.