It’s coming up to that spooky time of year again – the shops are full to the brim with devilish delights, creepy costumes and ghostly goodies to celebrate Halloween on 31 October.
There’s no end to the creative ideas out there to make your Halloween party a success: whether you get creative with some pumpkin carving, have fun with face-painting and fake wounds, tell stories of things that go bump in the night or – my favourite – go trick or treating (hopefully with more treats than tricks!)
However (as usual) my focus turns to food, and how to come up with a spooktacular feast. The best way forward, I find, is to start with easy recipes and to simply give them a little Halloween makeover that doesn’t require supernatural skills in the kitchen – other than a dash of creativity.
First of all, it’s time to get some spine-chilling soup on the go. Guaranteed to be lapped up is a cauldron of tomato soup, made with a base of onions, carrots, celery, garlic (to fend off the vampires) and a combination of fresh and tinned tomatoes. To make this ‘blood bath’ even spookier, take a few mini mozzarella balls and stud them with green and black olives to represent floating eyeballs. Then simply drop them into the soup when you’re ready to serve.
To serve alongside the soup, try some spicy broad bean fritters with lemon minted yoghurt, shaped into witches fingers with slivers of almonds as gruesome fingernails. Or, you could try shaping them into Halloween bats if you’re feeling brave enough to tackle a bit of handy knife work. For the fingers, I rolled the mixture into a cylinder shape and for the bats, I made larger, oval-shaped patties and once cooked, I carved them into simple bat shapes.
For my little devils, I always make a spooky Halloween margherita pizza, shaping the mozzarella into little ghosts. To make the ghosts, you’ll need a block of Mozzarella cheese (rather than the fresh mozzarella in liquid) so that the ghosts hold their shape. Again, use little pieces of black olives for the eyes. I followed Jamie’s basic pizza recipe for this Halloween version.
For pudding, there’s a sticky and seductive treat: a simple tray-baked meringue with rhubarb cream and toasted almonds, made into a coffin of delight. To shape the meringue, I spooned the meringue mixture into a piping bag, snipped off the top and then traced the shape of a coffin onto a sheet of baking paper. Jamie’s recipe is enough to make three medium-sized coffins or one large one. To make the ‘oozing blood’ sauce, I took a hand-blender to the remaining rhubarb and sugar mixture, adding a small punnet of fresh raspberries to create a brighter red colour. Take a teaspoon and simply drizzle over the sauce.
I hope these simple, spooked-up recipes inspire you to give some of Jamie’s recipes a Halloween makeover! Don’t forget to share your Halloween food photos with the @JamieOliver team.