Our kids love cooking up meals in their play kitchen, and one of their greatest pleasures is mixing up the ingredients. We've had great fun stocking their kitchen with all sorts of little bits and pieces that can be stirred in a mini cooking pan with a handful of other things; pompoms for meatballs; soy sauce fish containers for, er, fish; strands of wool for spaghetti, and so on. I'm always on the lookout for new things to include! The other day I had an absolute brainwave, and came up with this easy-peasy, quick, and essentially FREE way to make these fabulous play-food sliced mushrooms. Want to make some too? Read on!
I'll admit the K-Dog and I are partial to the odd glass of discounted supermarket Prosecco of an evening (what we children of the 80s like to call the Liebfraumilch of the new millennia). As a result, we often have a handful of sparkling wine corks knocking around - the larger, more bulbous variety of wine cork, not the straight up and down ones. As I was looking at some of these corks recently, it came to me (yes, I'll admit to not being especially observant or quick on the uptake!) that they were shaped very much like a mushroom. Ten measly minutes later, and voila! Sliced mushroom playfood.
It's dead simple to do, and requires NO special equipment or supplies... though you may have to drink a bottle (or two) of wine beforehand...
Next, in order to make sliced mushroom playfood, you will need to use your knife to (carefully!) slice your mushroom shaped corks. No pre-soaking needed, just go for it! Once sliced, you will have almost perfect play mushroom pieces. You have completed the hardest part!
To make your mushroom slices perfect, simply follow two final steps.
First, trim the 'stalks' a little with your scissors to make them thinner and more mushroom-y. No need to be exact - we are replicating organic and therefore inherently imperfect shapes here!
To finish, use your felt tip pen to shade in the underside curve of the mushrooms' caps - a sort of apostrophe-shape on both sides of the top of the stalk. Do the same on the reverse of the slice.
And, you are done! Stand back, admire your work, and then arrange in a pot or mini punnet (if you really want to go to town), before handing over to your little chefs. And as these are effectively made of compostable tree bark, they're great to play with in mud kitchens too!
*Or not - though these are indeed fabulous, they are not food. Make sure your little ones understand these aren't really for eating before letting them loose!