Gingerbread play dough

I love gingerbread! I discovered a awesome recipe that’s gluten free a few years ago and every year we make a gingerbread house.  Our efforts look absolutely nothing like the houses on Pinterest and Instagram but we have a whole heap of fun doing it. As today is the last day of term (hooray!) I though I would quickly share something fun (and super easy) you can do with your children in the holidays.  It would also a cute gift for little friends.  So without further waffle from me I  bring you gingerbread play dough.

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  • 150g plain flour
  • 150grams salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 70ml of water
Put everything in a bowl and stir until you have a dough, so wonderfully simple.  Let the fun begin!
I’ve put some playdoug in a pretty jar with tiny little gingerbread man cutters and a packet of buttons as a gift but I also made a batch just for us. If you’d like to pin the recipe to make later then I’ve created an image with he recipe on for quick reference.
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Elderflower Cordial

I always feel the preserving season is really underway when the elderflower come out & I make Cordial.  I use this same recipe, below, every year.  I am afraid I don’t know it’s original source as it was given to me but it is a good recipe and makes a fragrant and delectable syrup which you dilute to drink or that you can pour over ice cream for a wonderful summer treat.  It keeps for months and months as long as your bottles are well sterilised but can also be frozen.  This recipe makes about 1.5litres.
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You will need…
20 large elderflower heads
1.8kg Granulated sugar
1 Litre of water
75g Citric acid (you will need to buy this from a chemist – tell them you want it for cordial)
2 lemons
Place the elderflowers in a large bowl.  In a pan mix the sugar and water and bring to a gentle boil, stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  Pour this mixture over the elderflower and stir in the citric acid.  Grate in the zest of both lemons and then slice the lemons and add the slices to the bowl.  Cover and leave for 24 hours before straining through a double muslin.  Decant into sterilised bottles and store in a cool dark place.
You can drink this cordial almost instantly once it has been decanted however after a couple of weeks the flavour develops a little more.  I can never resist a little taste when it’s first made – it has a lovely freshness at this stage.
Please be careful Elderflower is a tree or large shrub with sprays of white flowers that later turn to deep purple berries, it has a distinctive smell.  Be certain that what you are picking is Elderflower!  Some people have mistakenly picked cow parsley as the flowers are similar but this grows up from the ground on tall stems.  Cow parsley is poisonous!  However, after a little familiarisation elderflower is very easy to identify so don’t be put off, give it a go!

Flower Arranging

June for me is the month of flower.  If you didn’t already know I LOVE flowers and more often than not there are some on my table.  Rarely are they bought flowers more often than not they are cuttings from the garden, something we’ve plucked from a hedgerow on the way too or from school or carefully selected gathering to remind us of a lovely weekend walk.

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I don’t claim to be an expert on arranging flowers (I am rather anxious to be joining the church flower arranging rota soon) but I’ve had a little practice so I thought I would share what I do know.

  • Firstly the shorter you cut the stems of your flowers the longer they will last because the water won’t have to travel so far, using less of the plants energy.  Consider using a smaller vase, a jam jar, tea-cup or decorative bowl for your flowers.
  • Bacteria kills flowers so change the water regularly and add a tablespoon of household bleach to the water. Don’t panic the bleach will not kill the flowers, quite the opposite. Then add a tsp of sugar to feed your flowers.
  • Tulips stems will continue to grow after they are cut, that’s why they look floppy after a few days.  Don’t be afraid to trim the stems of your cut flowers every few days.  Cut at an angle to give greater surface area so your flowers can absorb as much water as possible.
  • Remove any leaves that will be below the water line they will just make the water disgusting and reduce the life span of your flowers.
  • Flowers like cool temperatures.  If you have bought flowers for a special occasion keep them in water in a cool place (like your garage or shed) until you need them.

I hope you have found these tips useful in extending the life of those precious blooms that grace your home.  I’ll leave you with a picture of our May-day posies.  This year we chose to revive the ancient tradition of giving May-day Posies of wild flowers to our neighbors & I hung a little jar of flowers on our front door in honor of the day. You can read more about this tradition here.

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Nutella ice lollies

My kids are crazy about Nutella they’d eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea if I let them.  I very much doubt they are alone in this.  I saw a recipe for grown up Nutella ice lollies using baileys and I tried making them with just milk instead of baileys but they needed a little punch.  So this is my very own tweaked (child approved) Nutella ice lollies recipe.

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Nutella ice lollies (makes 4)

  • You will need 225ml milk,
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 heaped tbsp of Nutella

Put all the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth, pour into your lolly moulds and freeze for at least 24hours.  When you want to eat your ice lollies dip the moulds in some hot water to release the ice lollies.