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

 

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Pancake Day #1 – Traditional Crepes

Bring on Shrove Tuesday!! It has to be the best day in the culinary year….great for young and old – there are so many ways to incorporate pancakes into the day! This year it falls on the 21 February – 6 days and counting!

What is Shrove Tuesday all about?  The name Shrove comes from the old word “shrive” which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. Lent, for many, is a time of abstinence, of giving things up, and being the last day before the period of Lent, Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration (indulging!) as well as penitence.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day, and throughout the United Kingdom the day used to be (and still is) associated with pancakes because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar that traditionally aren’t allowed during Lent. (read more on Wikipedia)

To start – a simple crepe recipe! The trick is to keep the batter runny, and to pour it on thin! These pancakes should be crisp and delicate. You can add a few tablespoons of beer to the batter to increase crispness but this is not a must.

We love them with lemon and sugar – or try with a dollop of Greek Yogurt, a scatter of blueberries and a drizzle of honey! Yum! A great breakfast or pudding.

Traditional Crepe

150g flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
375ml milk
1 tsp vanilla paste
Grated zest of a small lemon
1/2 tsp cardamom (can be omitted but does give a lovely flavour)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
 
Veg oil for frying
Icing sugar and lemon to serve
Greek Yogurt, Honey and Blueberries another option
 
  • Put flour and sugar in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl beat together egg, vanilla paste, lemon zest, oil, cardamom and milk until smooth
  • Whisk the egg mixture into the flour
  • Pour the batter into a jug and let stand for 10 minutes to collect itself
  • Grease a non stick frying pan with some oil (using a paper tissue works well) and heat
  • While the pan is heating up give the batter a quick stir. If it feels dense add a little bit of milk
  • When pan is hot and ready, pour on a small amount of batter – the first pancake, for some bizarre reason, always turns out dreadful!!!!! If anyone has the answer to this please let me know – therefore just use a small amount of batter. Flip it when the sides of the pancake start to go golden and fry on the other side for a minute or two
  • Keep flipping your pancakes and either serve them up straight from the pan (if you, like me, have quite a few little hungry faces staring at you!) or keep them warm in on a plate in the oven and serve once you have used all the batter
  • Enjoy with icing sugar and lemon or yogurt and berries….or maybe nutella?!
  • Oh and don’t forget that after the indulgence bit you are supposed to give up something….what will it be for you this year??

Happy cook – less than happy subject of photography!

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.

Salmon with Lemon, Honey and Soya Sauce

A great lunch or light evening meal – wrap these up in baking parchment and serve as a little parcel!

A couple of slices of salmon fillets
5-6 thin slices of lemon
Drizzle of honey
Drizzle of olive oil
Drizzle of soya
Sprinkle of grated lemon zest
  • Preheat oven to 200C
  • Place the salmon fillets on a large piece of baking parchment
  • Lay the thinly sliced lemons on top
  • Drizzle the sauces over the top
  • Sprinkle with the lemon zest
  • Close the parcel like you would a present – making sure it is shut properly
  • Place on baking tray and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes
  • Serve with a green salad, cous cous, sticky rice or oven roasted vegetables tossed in lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Beautiful, simple – the children love it – husband loves it – what more could you ask for in a recipe?!

Fruit, Yogurt and Nuts

Absolutely bursting with flavour, this is my favourite thing in the morning! I pretty much have it every day. Makes me happy to look at and the combination of the greek yogurt, honey and nuts is divine.

You can have the fruit with low-fat or fat-free yogurt but the best flavour, as well as what is best for you (in small quantities), is full fat greek yogurt. Remember, your body needs fat (so make it the good kind)!

Half a banana in slices
5 halved strawberries
Small handful of blueberries
1 kiwi sliced
5-6 almonds
5-6 walnuts
2 tbsp greek yogurt
Drizzle of runny honey
  • Place your fruit in a bowl, add the yogurt, sprinkle nuts on top and drizzle with honey….
  • You can use any combination of fruit – the above is just my standard plate!

Lemon, Honey and Ginger Tea

This is simply heaven! If you are feeling sniffly and cold, perhaps a bit sickly, or just in need of a pick me up – look no further! It is a vitamin booster if ever there was any and it tastes great too!

As ginger and lemon are strong flavours you may have to play with the dosages a bit to make it suit perfectly to your taste buds! This is how I love to drink it!

Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp runny honey
Good chunk of fresh ginger – peeled and finely chopped
Boiling water – enough for 4 cups of tea
  • Get a flask or a tea pot
  • Place the ginger, lemon juice and honey in it
  • Pour your boiling water over this and leave for 15 minutes to infuse
  • When ready to pour you can either sieve into cups or simply avoid the bits of ginger that come with the tea while you drink!
  • Snuggle up on the sofa, cover yourself with a blanket and close your eyes…heaven!