These recipes do still have a slightly silly theme to them- but you can make them sensibly if you want -without all the ghoulies and ghosties.
If you are planning a Hallowe'en drinks or dinner party this year, I've put together some creepy concoctions for you to give you some ideas- starting with cocktails and nibbles, followed by wild mushroom pate with creature crackers. Main course is stuffed snail bake with blood-stained garlic bread and dessert is chocolate and plum cake with oozy bramble glaze (served with toffee apple ice cream).
Does it all sound appetizing? Probably not. But I assure you it's good really. (And it's a vegetarian dinner party too).
For cocktails, I'm offering mulled red wine or kir (not shaken or stirred so it keeps it's layers). There are lots more ideas on http://www.marthastewart.com/275515/halloween-cocktails-and-drink-recipes/@center/276965/halloween
A kir is a mixture of creme de cassis and white wine- I poured the wine in first, then the creme de cassis so as to keep them separate. Then added a garnish of a little olive spider- made from a black olive and some cocktails sticks.
|Kir cocktail and friend|
|Black olive spider garnish|
Moving from spiders to other creepy creatures, I made some crackers to go with my wild mushroom pate from a similar mix to the biscuit one above- but used granary flour and no olive paste. This time I cut out circles and then pulled them into weird shapes and cut eye holes etc with scissors before baking.
The mushroom pate serves as the starter and also the filling for the snail shell bake so make twice as much as you need for the entree.
Soak a handful of dried porcini mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes or so. Squeeze them out and chop them finely (but keep the soaking liquid). Pulse 150g of portobello mushrooms, a clove of garlic and 1 small onion in the food processor until it is a fine duxelle. Add the chopped porcini and then place in a frying pan with a little olive oil and fry gently. As it begins to dry out, add the strained soaking liquid and a dash of dry sherry and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated.
|Wild mushroom pate with creepy crackers....|
|....or sensible snacks|
Meanwhile, put some large snail shell pasta (conchiglioni rigati) on to cook in some boiling water. Cook it until it is nearly al dente- then drain it, and cool it under some cold running water.
When cool, pipe or spoon the leftover mushroom pate into the shells and arrange in a baking dish.
|Snail shell bake|
|Blood-stained garlic bread|
For dessert, I made a chocolate sponge cake (various recipes on the blog if you click on the cloud above) with some fresh plums, halved and stoned and dropped into the mixture. When cooked and still warm, I drizzled over the remains of a jar of bramble jelly mixed with a teaspoon of icing sugar.
|Chocolate plum cake with bramble drizzle|
To serve with this I also made a toffee apple ice cream by churning leftover creme anglaise, stewed apple compote and caramel sauce in the ice cream maker.
|Just churn for toffee apple ice cream|
So, there we are: a hallowe'en menu (or autumn dinner party) depending on whether you want to trick or treat your guests.