Matilda’s Chocolate Playdough – Fantastic Playdough Recipe!

I’ve made many a batch of playdough in my time, but I’ve never been excited enough by a recipe to write it down, and I’ve never actually kept a batch in the fridge for more than a day or two, until I recently discovered a very simple recipe that is silky soft and fantastic.

It’s also the first time I’ve actually ‘cooked’  a playdough, but it won’t be the last. I’ve adapted this recipe from Imagination Tree, largely because I didn’t have enough salt or any cream of tartar, but I’m also hoping the exposure to Epsom salts will make sure my little people don’t run out of the magnesium and other benefits that come from Epsom salts.

Since we’re working on Matilda right now, I decided to go for a chocolate playdough so that we could make the chocolates Miss Honey remembers her father having after dinner – the same ones Miss Trunchbull now keeps to herself.

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Matilda’s Chocolate Playdough – Fantastic Playdough Recipe!
Author: Luschka – adapted from Imagination Tree
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salts (you can use normal salt)
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water – added a little at a time
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • teaspoon glycerine for that silky shine
Instructions
  1. On a steady heat, add the flour, salt, and oil in a large mixing bowl
  2. Add the cocoa
  3. Add the boiling water then into the dry ingredients
  4. Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  5. Add the glycerine
  6. Remove from heat
  7. Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone.
  8. If it remains a little sticky then add a more flour a little at a time until it’s right.
Miss Honey's Playdough Chocolates

You can hardly tell which picture is from the movie, and which is playdough, according to the 3 year old 😉

For more Matilda themed activities, click on the image below:

matilda

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Activities – DIY Jazzies

I don’t know why, but as long as I can remember I’ve loved Jazzies. I really don’t know why – they are made from cheap chocolate, and full of Hundreds and Thousands (Nonpareils, to my American readers) that taste of nothing. When we decided to do Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for our home-ed Play & Learn theme, I knew we had to make our own Jazzies.

Initially I was going to pour the melted chocolate into muffin pans to make them perfectly round, but in the end I decided to just free-hand it and let the kids have fun. They don’t care so much for perfectionism!

The main thing here was to provide a selection of toppings for our DIY Jazzies, and as it happens I didn’t have any Hundreds and Thousands, so we went for chocolate sprinkles and chocolate twirls, Frozen snowflakes, shredded coconut, wafer flowers and popping candy. If I had any, we’d have added some chopped nuts and dried fruit too.

DIY Jazzies

I melted the chocolate at 50C for 3 minutes in my Thermomix, but you can do it in a microwave or on the stove (put the chocolate in a glass bowl that fits inside a pot. Put water in the pot, but the bowl in the pot and boil the water till the chocolate has melted. Be careful, the glass will be hot.)

While the chocolate is melting, lay out strips of plastic wrap. (I taped these down onto the table so the kids couldn’t lift them. On trays would be better as you can then move them out of the way.)

Once melted, spoon the chocolate out and place a tablespoon full at a time on the plastic. Let the children do the toppings – you don’t have to act too fast, it does take a few minutes for the chocolate to set.

Leave for 2 – 3 hours till the chocolate is firmly set, then peel off, and enjoy.

DIY Jazzies Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Keep in an airtight container for up to a week, depending on the toppings you’ve used.

The better the chocolate, the better they’ll be. Doesn’t this just leave the small people feeling like chocolate inventors though? It’s a fun activity!

Study Unit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Find more Charlie & The Chocolate Factory activities here.

Kids In The Kitchen: Chocolate Crispies

A few weeks ago my boss, Emma, from PlayPennies sent Ameli a little gift that ticks two boxes for her: books and cooking. Yes, she sent her the Usborne First Picture Cookbook. It’s a cardboard book with seven simple child friendly recipes. It’s a gorgeous book, beautifully illustrated, full of atrociously bad for you, but incredibly good recipes.

We set about making what we could with what we had in the house straight away, and here’s our first go at what turned out to be absolutely delicious Chocolate Crispies.Read more: Kids In The Kitchen: Chocolate Crispies

Kicking Addiction : The Chocoholic Cure

I have a problem with chocolate. Not all sweets, necessarily, but chocolate, definitely. If I know there’s chocolate in the cupboard, I can’t sit still till it’s eaten. I can eat chocolate well past the point of feeling sick.  It’s like an obsession, and it’s one I really don’t understand. See, I used to smoke, and I loved smoking, until one day I decided enough was enough and I no longer wanted to smoke. I gave myself a deadline of that new years eve, which was a few weeks away, and that night I sat in the garden and smoked my last cigarette before going to bed. I said goodbye to it, thanked it for it’s years of ‘friendship’ and buried the butt in the snow. I was on at least 20 a day, and while it wasn’t easy to give up, I did, without drugs or other quitting aids, and haven’t had as much as a drag in five years. Quitting to smoke is actually easier now I would say. I  mean, there’s these vape mods and digital vaporizers now where you can use since it’s a healthier alternative and a very good way to take baby steps to kick out the habit.

I’ve tried to do that with chocolate, but it’s not been possible. I’ve failed every single time.
I heard about Thinking Slimmer’s Chocoholic Cure for quitting the chocolate addiction and I’d like to try it, so I’ve signed up and they’ve sent me the “pod” as they call it.

I’m sure a side effect of giving up the ‘the girls have gone to sleep and I deserve chocolate’ chocolate addiction, will be weight loss. Despite various people in my life finding it impossible to believe – you know who you are – I am perfectly comfortable in my skin. Sure, if I could wake up tomorrow morning and be a size 14 again I wouldn’t turn it down, even if just because it would make online clothes shopping easier,  but when Ameli was very young, I decided I didn’t want her to see me hating me. I didn’t want her to inherit negative self-image from me.  And most days I do pretty well in that venture.  I do not need to look a certain way to be fulfilled, to be happy or to be confident. I’ve never let what I do or do not weigh affect whether I go for a swim, or get in on a photo, or share images of myself in a nightie with the world.  I am happy with who I am, and comfortable in my skin.

I am undertaking this venture now because I hate being beholden. I don’t like ‘owing’ anyone anything, because for me it comes with feeling like they own me. If someone loans me money, I feel like I have to justify every time I spend money on something ‘frivolous’ like parking undercover so we don’t have to walk in the rain!  In the same way, I hate feeling ‘owned’ by chocolate. I hate knowing that once the girls are asleep, I start fighting the desire for chocolate. I hate knowing that I will be fighting it and I hate knowing that there’s nothing I can do about it.

While I can’t imagine that I’d ever go to a hypnotherapist, really, I know that listening to a self-hypnosis CD helped with the birth of both of my babies, so why not try this. If it works,  great. If it doesn’t…  too bad.

To me, success would be relief from the highs and lows of sugar addiction. It would be my girls growing up with a healthier relationship to food than I have. It would be being a better mother than I am being, and it starts with kicking the habit.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Chocolate Cards Review And Competition

I have a second little competition for you today – but since it’s chocolate I’m sure you’ll forgive me!

Your Surprise have sent us a gorgeous Chocolate Card, and I think these make such fantastic Christmas gifts, especially for those people you’d love to get something  for, but can’t think of what.

Read more: Chocolate Cards Review And Competition

Out the (Organic Food) Box – Beetroot and Chocolate Cake

Continuing on from last week’s ode to beetroot, I want to share this fantastic cake with you. I know you might think I’ve gone mad, but the truth is, beetroot and chocolate are a fantastic mix. Especially beetroot and bitter dark chocolate. And what a great way to get such a healthy vegetable into your children too!

In a way this is a ‘healthier’ chocolate cake too (or so I tell myself – hear me out!) as normally I like my chocolate cake to have a thick layer of equally chocolatey icing and a nice rich jam, cream or icing layer in the  middle. This recipe, however, is so rich, all it needs is a sprinkle of icing sugar for decorative purposes.

Ingredients:

  • 175 g cooked beetroots, roughly chopped
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 250 g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200 ml sunflower oil
  • 100 g dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C
  2. Tip the beetroot into a blender & blitz until chopped.
  3. Add a pinch of salt & the rest of the ingredients, expect the oil & chocolate.
  4. When completely mixed pour the oil in in a steady stream while mixing all the time.
  5. (If it is very dry, stir in a few teaspoons of milk, one at a time)
  6. Melt the chocolate
  7. Stir in the chocolate, then tip the mix into a lined 900g loaf tin or cake tin.
  8. Cook for 45 – 60 mins until a inserted skewer comes out clean.
  9. Leave on a rack to cool.
  10. Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve

The Melange Chocolate – Tasting Evening

I’m a big fan of chocolate in pretty much any form. I love eating it, drinking it, smelling it and if it wasn’t for these old Victorian drains, I might even have bathed in it. Can you imagine, then, how I felt about an evening of pairing decadent, delicious and unusual chocolate flavours from my favourite chocolatery, The Melange, with everyday wines available in my local supermarket?

Read more: The Melange Chocolate – Tasting Evening

A Peckham Gem – The Melange Chocolate Shop

I interrupt my (ir)regularly (un)scheduled posts to bring you this newsflash. Today we found a treasure, a true gem in the most unlikely of places. It must be what Columbus felt when he discovered America, or Alexander Graham Bell when the telephone finally worked. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but still, I stepped off a pavement in Peckham, London and into a Chocolaterie in France.
Read more: A Peckham Gem – The Melange Chocolate Shop