When you think about Halloween and Bonfire Night – two events that fall closely on the calendar each year – you tend to think about the same kind of things. Chilly autumnal evenings spent mostly outside with kids running round in search of sweets and goodies dressed as ghosts, or standing by a giant fire watching the fireworks while holding a sparkler in one hand and a burger in the other. Why is it that we always think of the same things though? There are far more foods in particular that can be associated with these two nights.
Sure, when you’re out at a bonfire you might want something hot to warm you up, but if you’re at home hosting your own party (on either occasion) you can still make desserts like pumpkin pie topped with freshly whipped cream (incidentally, visit http://www.whippedcreamdirect.co.uk to find cream chargers that will turn your fresh cream into whipped cream).
As it’s the first on the calendar, let’s start with some great Halloween treats that are both spooky and delicious so you can hand them out to trick or treaters, or keep them all for yourself!
Rice Krispie Bats
All you need for this creepy delight are some bat-shaped cutters that you can pick up from the majority of baking shops and supermarkets at this time of year, 45g butter or margarine, 300g marshmallows, 180g Rice Krispies, and then a mixture of sweets, dried fruit or nuts for decoration. For the icing, you just need 140g butter, 280g icing sugar, 1-2tbsp milk and some food colouring.
In a saucepan, melt the butter on a low hear and add the marshmallows, stirring until they have completely melted and take the pan off the heat. Add the Rice Krispies and stir until they’re well coated in the butter-marshmallow mixture. Next, spread the Krispies and mixture into a tray and leave to cool. Cut out as many bat shapes as you can and then decorate them with icing and sweets, dried fruit or nuts.
For the icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until it goes soft and add half the icing sugar, beating until smooth. Add one tablespoon of the milk along with the remaining icing sugar, beat until creamy and add the food colouring. To make the icing a bit runnier, add extra icing sugar or milk.
Okay, this isn’t something you can give trick or treaters as a sweet, but you can give them a well-earned break from scaring the neighbourhood by handing them a drink (and yes, it is non-alcoholic).
A Vampire’s Kiss is two shots of passion fruit, one shot of sparkling water, a splash of cranberry juice and crushed ice, with some seasonal fruits on the side (like black cherries) to decorate the glass.
Right, enough with the scary Halloween goodies, time to move onto Bonfire night. If you’re heading out you’re going to want something nice and warm, even if you’re only going into the garden to let off your own fireworks. For that reason, you’re going to want something hot and with a bit of a kick!
Chilli Con Carne
A classic dish that most people love, and the meat can be replaced by Vegetarian alternatives if you’re not a meat-eater! The ingredients are nice and simple – 400g lean beef or turkey (or vegetarian alternative), one chopped onion, one clove of garlic, 400g tinned tomatoes, 400g kidney beans, 1tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp olive oil and black pepper.
To make the dish, heat some oil in a large saucepan and fry the garlic and onion gently for a few minutes before adding the mince, cooking until lightly browned. Throw in the tinned tomatoes, chilli and cumin powder to season and then put the kidney beans in to the pan, simmering the whole lot for between 15 and 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Obviously, add as little or as much spice as you think the guests could handle – you don’t want them running outside to cool their mouths!