Spooky Foods

While Halloween today is an event of merchandise, costumes and fun parties, it is in fact derived from a solemn time of year in which Christians remembered the dead, saints, martyrs (hallows) and loved ones who had passed. Today, it is just a fun time to enjoy the celebrations — and the food!

140g unsalted butter, softened
175g plain (all-purpose) flour
50g icing (powdered) sugar
1 orange, finely grated
100g mascarpone
1 tspn icing (powdered) sugar
25g dark chocolate, melted
50g icing (powdered) sugar
1 tbspn fresh orange juice

• Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
• In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar and mix together before adding the flour and orange zest, and scraping down the bowl. Mix further until the dough is formed. Remove it from the machine and wrap in cling film. Chill for one hour.
• Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 3mm. Cut 24 circles with a 7.5cm round plain cutter. Put the cookie discs on lined baking sheets. Refrigerate the cut discs so that they are firm.
• Using a small sharp knife, cut out Halloween faces on half of the circles. Make lines on the face biscuits with the back of a knife to look like the markings on a pumpkin.
• Bake the cookies for approximately 12 minutes in the preheated oven or until pale golden brown around the edges. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
• Mix the ingredients for the glaze to make a smooth, runny icing, adding a bit more juice if needed. Set aside.
• For the filling, beat the mascarpone with the icing sugar in a small mixing bowl by hand, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate.
• Spread the filling over the cooled plain biscuits. Press the ‘face’ ones on top. Brush with the glaze, using a clean paint brush or pastry brush.
• If you wish to make truly spooky cookies, use a little coloured royal icing to pipe complete faces on the cookies.

October-2014_Food_022 tbspns olive oil
1 pack ready to roll croissant dough (or puff pastry sheets)
1 tbspn honey
1 tbspn ketchup
2 tspns American (yellow) mustard
12 hot dogs or pre-cooked sausages

• Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
• In a bowl, mix together the honey, ketchup and mustard. Then brush the mixture over each hot dog.
• Unroll the croissant dough and cut it into long thin strips. (If ready to roll croissants are not available, puff pastry sheets are just as effective.)
• Wind the little croissant strips around the hot dog sausages, leaving a little gap at one end to make a slit for the ‘eyes’. Place them on pre-lined and greased baking trays and bake for 20 minutes or according to the croissant dough instructions.
• Cool a little. Using the mustard, dot a pair of little yellow eyes on each ‘mummy’. Serve warm with blood-red ketchup dip.

October-2014_Food_03100g cherry tomatoes
150g mini mozzarella balls, drained
a handful fresh basil
400g green tagliatelle pasta
350g tomato sauce (store-bought)
4 tbspns fresh pesto (store-bought)

• Halve the cherry tomatoes. Use a small spoon to remove the seeds.
• Cut the mozzarella balls in half. Place one half inside each tomato, trimming the edges if necessary to fit it in. Cut small circles from the basil leaves and add these to the centre of your ‘eye balls’.
• Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce. When the pasta is cooked, drain and stir through the pesto and any remaining basil, chopped finely.
• Divide between four to six serving bowls. Spoon over some tomato sauce. Then arrange the stuffed tomato ‘eyeballs’ on top and serve.

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October 2014: Write Here Write Now

October 2014: Editor’s Note