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My Neighbour Totoro Treats

A couple of weekends ago Cooper was invited to his wee friend Juno's 2nd birthday party. When her mum, Megan handed over the invite she asked if I had seen the movie - My Neighbour Totoro. I hadn't so she said I should try to watch it before I went to the party or nothing would make sense and it would all be a bit bizarre.

Luckily the library had a copy, so we settled down to watch it. Cooper loved it, but had to go to bed before it was finished. Graham enjoyed it up until he fell asleep and started giving it big Z's. So I was left watching it alone. It was really good. After I watched it, I realised I have had two bento boxes for years with the main character Totoro on them and just never realised who he was. I choose the boxes for cute factor.

Just in case you haven't seen the movie, I will give a wee blurb about it. My Neighbour Totoro (pronounced toe-toe-ro), is a Japanese animated movie about two young girls who move to rural Japan with their professor father, to be near their mother who is convalescing from some un-named illness.

They move into their home and find it is filled with soot sprites, some little black creatures and in the nearby wood they befriend the Totoro, a huge magical creature. The story is of their adventures together and you haven't seen anything until you have seen the cat bus.

So, with the theme in mind, I wondered what I could make to take to the party. I usually take a cake or cookies. I didn't think I was up to producing a Totoro shaped cake, although I am sure Johanna could have given me some tips, if I had decided to (she is a dab hand at making shaped party cakes). I had a wee browse through the characters and decided I could probably come up with something for the soot sprites. So what I did was make chocolate orange truffles and then I used fondant for the eyes.

Before I give you the recipe, I must tell you a bit about the party. Unfortunately, I don't have many photos to share as the camera lost it's charge after a couple of photos. Darn thing!

So we arrive at the door to a huge building, an old Victorian, converted hospital. A beautiful building with a grand entrance, although a bit of a maze inside. I don't think we would ever have found the right apartment if didn't have some help.

A wee knitted Totoro was standing at the main entrance holding a sign asking us to follow the trail and inside there was a trail of the cutest wee knitted acorns. It was very helpful, although we did lose the trail at one point and ended up on the wrong floor, but we doubled back and found it again. Cooper thought is was terrific fun climbing all the stairs and following acorns.

When we got to the door, there was a bus stop outside to let us know we had arrived at the party. Inside Megan and her husband had made a giant cat bus out of cardboard for the children to play in and there were various other things related to the movie scattered around.

When Cooper arrived, he was given a leaf hat with cat ears to wear. Needless to say that was instantly whipped off. The children enjoyed a few games of pass the parcel and musical statues as well as pulling the ribbons on a Totora pinata, which took a bit of force to break open. Cooper was pretty shy at first, even though he knows the other children, but he relaxed more as the party went on and was completely mesmerised by Megan's husband playing his Ukulele.

Soot Sprite Truffles

1 x 500g packet of Digestive Biscuits
1 x 397g tin condensed milk
4 tbsp margarine
12 tbsp desiccated coconut
5 tbsp drinking chocolate
5 tbsp cocoa powder
10 tbsp orange juice
grated rind of 2 oranges

topping: chocolate vermicelli or strands
eyes: fondant
detail: edible black marker pen
glue: peanut butter

In a large bowl, bash the digestive biscuits with a rolling pin until the crumbs are quite fine. (it's great for stress relief and very satisfying).

Melt the margarine.

In a large bowl mix together the melted margarine, condensed milk, crushed biscuits, coconut, drinking chocolate, cocoa powder and orange juice.

Once the mixture is well combined, place in the fridge for half an hour, to firm up.

Remove the mixture from the fridge and roll into balls.

Roll the truffles in chocolate vermicelli and set aside.

Make little eyes out of fondant, by rolling into little balls, pressing to flatten slightly. Then, glue the eyes onto the truffles with a small dab of peanut butter. When the eyes are stuck on you can draw the pupils with the marker pen.

Makes loads!

Sounds like a fun day, doesn't it? Well, the fun didn't finish there. In the evening we took Cooper out for a bit of culture.

Our good friends David & Tanita, who live in Glasgow, were performing Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle with their choir in Perth Concert Hall. Well, we couldn't miss the opportunity to hear them and we thought it only fair that Cooper came too. He did really well. He sat and listened to the singing and took in everything around him for a good half hour before he started to get fidgety. Graham kindly took him out into the foyer to play, while I enjoyed the rest of the performance.

It was a bit of a rush after the performance, but we managed to catch up with David for a few minutes before he had to dive back on the bus. Of course, we had to pass on a few soot sprites, didn't we? I don't know if they have seen the movie, so they may just have thought "what the heck are they?", but I am reliably informed that they enjoyed them on the journey home.


  1. If I had only known you hadn't seen that film, I would have dragged you over!!!

    I think I watch it once a year - I'm a sucker for anything Studio Ghibli, and I have a Totoro plushie on my desk.

    THANK YOU for the recipe; those were SO, so good, and yes, we had to SHARE THEM with people. ::grump::

  2. Such creative minds to take the theme of the movie to this level. What fun. And I love your little soot sprites!!!!!

  3. I better hide this post from J-Fur because she loves everything Japanese. I could see her falling for those little brown guys. I have even begun falling for them, I couldn't imagine eating them. Sounds like a great party in a great location.

  4. Awesome! I wonder: do you recall where you purchased the bento boxes?

  5. Never heard of the film but am going to look out for it. Sounds like a fascinating party. Funny you mentioned my cakes just as I was wondering about making a totoro shaped cake - that would be a lot of fun. Love your soot balls - they look so cute and sound yummy

  6. Sounds like a cute movie, Jacqueline. And I bet you're glad you had a chance to see it before the party! And how odd that you had the bento boxes!
    Clever idea for a party and I love your soot sprites.

  7. I love Hayao Miyazaki movies and I was not aware of that one, for some reason. I'll have to watch it soon. It sounds like you all had a great day!

  8. Wow - we would sooooo love that party! Your soot sprites are great - we are going to make those too. In fact, they would be perfect additions to a Bento box, wouldn't they? And we have Totoro Bento boxes too.

  9. Awww, that's so pretty and what a cute theme. Love your soot sprites, and now I have to go find the movie :-)

  10. What a fantastic party! So much effort and well worth it by the sounds. Love the soot sprits too ... not so sure I'd have the heart to eat one after that though ;0)

  11. Glad you enjoyed them and knew what they were Tanita :)

    So much effort went into the party Val, it was fab :)

    I think you should make them for J-fur TB, i am sure they would be much appreciated :)

    Yes, I do remember where I got the bento boxes David, they were from a site called j-list. They have an excellent collection of boxes.

    That would be a super cute cake to make Johanna, even if the recipient hadn't seen the film.

    Thanks Barbara, I was rather pleased with them :)

    I am sure you will enjoy it Claire :)

    I just loved the boxes when I saw them Louise. Hope you enjoy the soot sprites :)

    It's a good watch Michelle :)

    They are very easy to eat Chele, hehe :D

  12. Wow! They didnt do things like this at children's parties when I was a kid.. such a shame!! I would have loved it. Truffles...mmmmm.

  13. Really cute! My nephew has loved that film since he was very young. You did a great job of the soot sprites!

  14. My kids haven't seen that movie... I'll look for it at the library. The truffles look cute and tasty.

  15. Me too LF, parties were never like this!

    Thanks CC :)

    Enjoy the film Pam :)

  16. Never heard of the film but I love your soot sprites!

  17. Oh, they are soooooo cute! Linked to them in my Halloween poppadoms post ;)


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