Happy Halloween!

I’m cheating and posting to eight potatoes and honey and haribo at once today. From an idea for a Halloween themed eat-together, to Halloween cupcakes for kids, I just feel that this post sits comfortably on each, so why not?!

The weekend just gone we went to stay with my Dad and, my now stepmum, Rose, who were relishing the prospect of having a littl’un around to help get them get in the mood for Halloween. We arrived to be greeted with ingredients ready to be magicked into Halloween cupcakes, and a bright orange (almost luminous) pumpkin ready to be carved into a ghoulish grin. As it was, our toddler, Harry, is quite into stars at the moment (or twinkles as he calls them) and he insisted that the pumpkin’s eyes were twinkles; so it ended up looking more like a jolly bald clown who had painted their entire head orange than a fiendish face to frighten folk. Although, I guess if you’re coulrophobic (scared of clowns) you may disagree.

Whilst Harry was ever-so pleased with his pumpkin creation, I am always adamant that the pumpkin flesh doesn’t go to waste. Where I live I am lucky enough to have one of the best food markets in the country on my doorstep, yet, even here, you only tend to see pumpkins around Halloween. With names like Mammoth, Ghost Rider and Jack O’Lantern it is easy to see why so many people forget that these winter squash are actually food, and simply carve grimacing faces with eerie and sinister smiles with which to welcome mock-fear-seeking trick or treaters on All Hallows Eve; or use them as heads for burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on Bonfire Night.

So, if you haven’t already binned them, please, please, please try one of my forthcoming pumpkin recipes with your Jack O’Lantern’s innards (I say forthcoming, because it is unrealistic for me to make all my beloved pumpkin recipes on one night of the year, so I know I’m going to be using pumpkin a lot over the next week or so). I promise you won’t regret it! Come tomorrow they will be cheap as chips (not that they’re expensive prior to that anyway), and they will sit happily in your kitchen for most of the winter until even the most uninspired of cooks is ready to use them. Although, hopefully, you’ll feel inspired here!

We didn’t get round to making it when I was at my Dad’s at the weekend, but if I were to have a Halloween eat-together, I think the menu would read something like this:

Starter

Spicy roasted pumpkin soup
(with obligatory crusty bread)

Spicy pumpkin soup

Main

Harissa roast quail and pumpkin tagine served on a bed of buttered cous cous

Dessert

Toffee apple and toasted marshmallow m’hencha

I know, I know, what about pumpkin pie? As lovely as it is, I think three courses of pumpkin would be overkill; and I love pumpkin soup too much to forego it for the pie! Anyway, apple bobbing has been around since Roman times, and toffee apples and toasted marshmallows have been synonymous with Halloween and Bonfire Night for donkeys years.

Anyway, although we obviously ate together (takeout, an indoor BBQ on the stormiest day of the year so far, and the best roast beef and mustard sandwiches), we didn’t actually have this meal; last weekend seemed a bit premature to be actually celebrating Halloween. I’ve already given Rose the pumpkin soup recipe though, and after carving Harry’s second pumpkin earlier (we left the first one at Nanny and Grandad Rose’s house by mistake), I used the interior to make my favourite spicy pumpkin soup. I am so looking forward to lunch tomorrow!

I can’t wait to make the other recipes I’ve mentioned here (they’re what I have to look forward to next week), but I’m glad that I did more besides cooking whilst staying with Dad and Rose. We had a lovely weekend walking down memory lane: taking Harry and Dad’s dogs, Genie and Toby, to the park where we used to play penalty shoot outs, and visiting the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park (or Crystal Pallister Park as my younger sister used to call it; not quite sure why).

Life is hectic at the moment, hence I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like to, but I promise I will get the recipes and more pictures up over the next week. It’s Halloween today though, so I was determined I’d post something! Happy Halloween everyone!

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