Starry Play Dough and Strawberry Sauce

Oh, the season is upon us, a frenzy of gift buying, menu planning, school parties, school concerts, end of year festive gatherings! This post has some ideas for  gift making – why not give some glittering play dough perfumed with rose-water, peppermint essence etc, and so satisfying to make. And boy is it easy! Basic Playdough

2 cups plain flour

2 cups water

1 cup salt

1 tablespoons cream of tarter

2 tablespoons cooking oil

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. Warm water and oil on stove top in a heavy based large pot – add in dry ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon constantly. It will be hard to mix in the beginning but will gradually become a little like tough putty. Keep mixing and turn down heat low. Take off heat and knead. Divide into 3 parts and add in your choice of glitter, colour and perfumes. We used rose water, peppermint oil and green food colouring. Store in air-tight containers and give to your friend. We also suggest making foodie gifts for your friends and loved ones – homemade marshmallows with dried blueberries, morning glory spelt muffins, ANZAC cookies in a airtight jar decorated with ribbons and a label….. 

Last week we cooked with 75 wonderful five year olds in a lesson entitled EAT A RAINBOW. We had great fun looking at a glorious array of different coloured vegetables and fruits at the Rainbow table and then went to group tables and made a starry, starry fresh fruit salad served with a delectable warm strawberry sauce. Some children were holding a knife for the very first time so we went through a few rules before we cooked. Make your non-cutting hand look like a claw – yes a monster’s claw, tucking fingers underneath. Hold the fruit carefully – we chopped grapes, bananas, and tore pomegranates apart, squeezed lemons and just had fun. We got some wonderful tips from Michelle Stern’s What’s Cooking with kids – see http://whatscookingwithkids.com/2010/08/18/teaching-knife-skills-to-kids-and-suggestions-for-cutting-tools. After reading this post I signed up to be one of her subscribers immediately. Our fruit salad recipe aimed to introduce some new foods and judging by the faces of our group everyone seemed to enjoy the lesson.

Starry Fruit Salad

1 pineapple cubed

half a pomegranate – only the seeds not the white pith which is very unpleasant

2 apples, cubes and brushed with fresh lemon juice to stop browning

2 bananas, chopped and mixed with lemon juice to stop browning

half a star fruit sliced small (I am not so fond of this fruit but it was added for a seasonal starry look – is very good in sweet sour Thai type salads according to Barbara Reale)

2 mandarins, peeled and pith removed as much as possible.

10 mint leaves for colour

a small bunch of purple grapes.

Warm Strawberry Sauce

Mix and make a warm strawberry sauce which is simplicity itself. Take 2 cups of frozen or if in season fresh strawberries and heat gently in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or to taste). Heat for a few minutes and then blend or mash with a potato masher. This sauce will scent your house with the promise of summer and tempt all taste buds. We keep frozen fruit in the freezer – strawberries, raspberries, bananas,  and blueberries, using a cupful at a time for sauces and smoothies. So easy! This keeps well in a jar in the fridge for up to a week. Mix into yoghurt, have with ice-cream and serve with the fruit salad above.

Lastly spare a thought for others around the globe. I received a couple of goats, a shower block plus a WC or two from family last year – see http://www.oxfam.org and look at their Oxfam unwrapped section. Maybe I will get some lambs or a nanny and kids this year or even some chickens which will go to needy families around the world. Now that is a great recipe! Next blog I promise to write down the whole chickpea recipe! I really do.

Morning Glory Muffin made with spelt flour

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