Bloody Fingers, Bats and Teeth….

Fingers

 

Halloween is approaching once again. It was not until I had children that I really started enjoying this celebration – and really – I only enjoy it because I get to cook funny looking things!

Last year I wrote a bit about the history of Halloween as well as posting quite a few recipes; a refresher below:

……I have learned that Halloween has ancient origins linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain. The name of the festival is derived from Old Irish which roughly translates to “summer’s end”. It served to celebrate the end of a good season of harvest of apples, pumpkins, spices and cider as well as a setting for supernatural encounters. The original Celtic holiday occurred on November 1, not October 31, and was one of the most important holidays for Celtic people, who believed that the spirits of those who had died over the course of the year would mingle with the living before traveling on to the afterlife. Festivals and celebrations were meant to aid the good souls on their way, and keep bad spirits from doing harm to the living.

Since that time, however, the holiday has grown and changed – fuelled largely by horror films such as Frankenstein and Dracula.

The carving of pumpkins, which is my absolute favourite part of Halloween, stems from Scotland and Ireland where they used to carve turnips as a symbol of remembering souls held in punishment. Immigrants to North America later discovered, and used, the pumpkin which was much larger and therefore easier to carve. Today it is used to open your home to little “trick or treaters” – if you leave a lit pumpkin on your front step they know they are welcome!

Chocolate Spiders

Sweet Pumpkin Loaf

Bat biscuits

Ghost Cupcakes

This year we have made a few different bits – the favourite ones (according to the children) were Bats, Fingers and Teeth! The recipes will follow below!

I hope you have a smashing Halloween and Half Term holiday and enjoy the time with your little ones.

Bloody Fingers (adapted from Sainsbury’s Magazine)

This recipe will make 24 fingers

375g short crust pastry

Tomato puree – about 1 tbsp

24 blanched almonds

1 beaten egg or some cream

Grated parmesan – 1 tbsp full will do

  • Pre-heat your oven to 190C
  • Cut the short crust pastry into three rectangles; then cut each rectangle into eight fingers
  • Roll each pastry piece into the shape of a finger – do not fold the dough or roll it out as this will create “splitting” fingers! I.e. the fingers will open up when cooking.
  • Round the finger tips and use a sharp knife to score gentle lines across the middle for knuckles
  • Press your thumb into the top of each finger to make an indentation for the fingernails
  • Dot the tomato puree onto each indentation and press and almond onto each
  • Place all the fingers on a lined baking sheet
  • Brush with either beaten egg or cream
  • Sprinkle parmesan on top
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes – or until golden
  • Let them cool and enjoy!
  • They are great served with hummus, guacamole, pesto or tomato salsa

Marshmallow Bats

Simple and cute – makes 12 (ish)!

250g plain chocolate

12 marshmallows

Baking sheet and pencil

  • Melt 250g of dark chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer) in a bowl over simmering water. Do not let the chocolate overheat or it will go crumbly in texture
  • On a baking parchment sheet, draw the bat wings with a pencil (Google image them and print off a picture to trace if you are not the creative type) ensuring you link the wings with a circle (big enough for a marshmallow
  • Ensure the sheet is placed on a moveable surface as the bats will need to go in the fridge once made
  • Turn over the baking parchment – you should see the trace
  • Once the chocolate has melted fully remove it from the heat and let it cool down – this will probably take 10-15 minutes
  • Using a spoon (or piping bag if you prefer) fill the wings and centre “blob” on the parchment with chocolate. make sure you make a relatively thick coating to ensure the bat wings do not break when you need to remove them later
  • Dip your marshmallows in the chocolate and place one marshmallow, as the bat’s body, on the centre blob of every wing set
  • Continue until you have finished the chocolate and marshmallows
  • Place the bats in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  • Once completely dry, decorate the face with icing pens and sprinkles (for eyes)

Bat

Wobbly Teeth – surprisingly tasty (Sainsbury’s magazine)

Apples

Thick honey (or toffee sauce)

Mini marshmallows

  • Slice your apples into wedges – making the bottom wedges very flat to allow them to sit easily on a platter or plate
  • Put some thick honey (or toffee sauce) on each wedge
  • Place the mini marshmallows on the flat wedge, into the honey, and lay an apple wedge on top
  • Enjoy!

Teeth

 

Blueberry Delight – guest blog by Sienna aged 6

Sienna, my 6 year old, is clearly affected by my always taking pictures of food and blogging about it! This morning she asked if she could write a blog – with her very own made up recipe… The best part for me was watching my three doing something together without my intervention. It was great and made my day!

Here is the result! She created the recipe, made it, directed the photography shoots and wrote the blog herself! Enjoy!

Warning to parents – as all three children crowded around the table, in Sienna’s words, as they were “cooking” – “oohh this is messy”….. 🙂

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This is my first blog recipie, and my brother and sister love it, so I hope you do too! It is only for children!

you will need   

blueberrys

icing sugar

honey

what to do

dip a blueberry into the

honey and get your hands in to turn

the blueberry and make it sticky!

now take it out and drop it into

the icing sugar, roll it to make it sweet and pretty then…you’re done!

if you want to, try with jam and strawberrys.

Glass Stained Christmas Biscuits

Probably the prettiest biscuits I have ever seen or made! I loved making these, as did the children! It was one of their Advent activities – inspired by an Annie Rigg article I read.

Great as a gift, a treat, a fun activity….also very easy! The most difficult part was bashing the sugar boiled sweets! Thought the children could do it but they actually found it too hard.

Probably worth while to mention that the sugar boiled sweets return hard once they cool – I somehow managed to make myself believe they would be soft and gooey….NO! Rock hard. If you prefer a soft, jammy centre, make the biscuits as per recipe but instead of sugar boiled sweets layer two biscuits on top  of one another – one with shapes cut out – and fill the cut out bit with jam! Will not be stain glass effect…but very tasty! 🙂

Glass Stained Christmas Biscuits (basic dough recipe the same as Cookie Christmas Tree)

 
450g plain flour
225g butter – softened
225g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
Sugar boiled sweets – different colours
 
  • Put flour and butter in a bowl and chop into it until the mixture resembles big breadcrumbs
  • Add caster sugar and continue combining
  • Add vanilla essence and crack the egg into the bowl and keep bringing the dough together – I usually crack it into a cup first…just in case it is a bad one!
  • Keep bringing together until you have a smooth dough ball. Wrap this in cling film and place it in the fridge for about an hour
  • Put the boiled sweets in freezer bags and bash with something hard!!! Keep colours separate as this gives a prettier end result

They sort of resemble little semi-precious stones…I think so anyway!

  • Once the dough has chilled pre-heat oven to 200C
  • Line baking trays with baking paper
  • Roll the dough out quite thinly – it rises a tiny bit in the oven but not much – and cut your shapes! Snowflakes are really pretty as are hearts and stars. If you have a Christmas Tree shape this would be sweet with little holes for glass stained effect baubles…
  • Lay them on the baking parchment trays and fill the holes you have cut in them with the crushed sweets – the children enjoyed this almost more than eating the dough every time I turned my back to them!!!
  • Once the biscuits are filled put them in the pre-heated oven for 10ish minutes – maybe slightly less depending on your oven. It is fun to watch the sweets melt…
  • Once cooked let them cool completely on the tray before moving! Tthey will come off ever so easily when cold and can be hung, stored or given away as gifts at Christmas Parties!