Can’t be bothered to make witches hair spaghetti or pumpkin soup from scratch?
I feel your pain.
If you want to nod your head towards Halloween for the children without the endless sweaty toil at a hot oven, and you’re not a totally organic lentil weaving wholefood maniac (not that I have anything against being a provider of decent food for the majority of the year), why not have a go at making some Halloween Hamburgers followed by some awesome hot chocolate for pudding?
Don’t panic, we’re not even going to MAKE the burgers from scratch. Oh no! Just buy some decent (or not, it’s your call) ones from the supermarket and cook them as you will. (I prefer frying – hence my gargantuan hips) While you’re doing that, pick up some of that extraordinarily orangey, bouncy processed cheese slices and some jacket potatoes. Chuck some whipped cream in a can, hot chocolate, mikado biscuits and a flake in your basket for good measure, oh! and a bottle of decent red wine.
About an hour before you’re going to put the burgers on, preheat the oven to gas mark 7 and place a roasting tray with some oil (olive or vegetable) in to heat up. Chop the potatoes into wedge shapes, soak in water, refresh, and dry throughly – for spicy wedges, dredge some cajun spice plus a little cayenne over the dried potatoes – before tipping the wedges into the roasting tray (stepping back to avoid fat spattering)
While the burgers are sizzling in the pan, or spluttering under the grill, get some of that amazingly awful cheese out of the fridge (although judging by the colour, texture and taste of the stuff you could probably keep it in a cupboard under the stairs for 40 years before it even started to think about going off) and push a cup into it to make a circle
Let your creativity take you where it will – as long as that will is to make the cheese look like Jack O Lanterns.
When the burgers are cooked, pop the little cheese pumpkins onto the top so they start to “melt” a bit (um this shit don’t melt, it just sweats a bit)
and serve with the potato wedges, some ketchup and maybe a veggie of some description – corn on the cob would be good, or a small tomato and cucumber salad..
So for pudding?
If you can’t be arsed or don’t have the time to make my fabulous Halloween cupcakes then you can make an HAYMAZING hot chocolate drink which is laden with enough sweet stuff to class it as a pudding. (This always worked with my two when they were small – and still does the trick now when they’re ravenous teens)
Choose your cups and fill three quarters full with milk. Transfer the milk into a jug and then pop it into the microwave. Adjust your settings according to how modern and fantastic your microwave is; mine is 1000000 watt (or thereabouts) and I give it about three minutes on high for three cups. You want the milk to be very hot but not boiling.
While the milk heats up, place a couple of marshmallows (OMIGOD my homemade marshmallow would be frighteningly good in this) in the bottom of your cups.
Once the milk is hot enough whisk your instant hot chocolate into the milk. I always add an extra teaspoon per person than the recipe on the side of the carton dictates.
Because this drink will also be a “pudding” feel free to add some extra chocolate at this point. I like to crumble some Flake into the mix, but have also used Bournville in the past or Mint Aero.
Whisk thoroughly again and then pour the hot chocolate liquid onto the marshmallowed cups
The next bit needs to be completed quickly so get everything ready. You’ll need, the canned cream, the M&M’s, the mikado biscuits as “stirrer” and some flake to sprinkle on (You could use canned cream, malteasers and forget the “stirrer” – Just use whatever you have to hand) At this point open your bottle of red wine.
Quickly squirt the cream onto the hot chocolate it will start to sink immediately, so work fast…
An easy way to celebrate Halloween without the complicated recipes – what more do you want from me?
Oh yeah, pour a glass of your red wine into your fanciest glass…sniff…and take a sip. You deserve it.
Despite all my frownings and pronouncements to the contrary, I have decided to get into the spirit (see what I did there?) of Halloween and we have a small party planned for TOMORROW.
I’m like Ebenezer Scrooge on Halloween, and I have been visited by the ghost of Halloween Past.
As I wrangled the boxes from the loft, one of the lids came free and my “spells” book fell out
The Past showed me this book that I made, back when the children were very small (I think this dates from 2005) and needed some kind of instruction on party throwing. I remember making this book using a few sheets of black tissue paper, a blank book with lined paper and plenty of sloppy glue. I scrunched the paper up, and layered it onto the book and 6 years later it’s still here.
So the book fell open on the loft ladder at this page and reminded of me of my lovely plan to read various rhymes before playing each game. I was to be the Head Witch and would read the games out in rhyme (like some sort of FOOL) and the small children would obey me…
LOOK! I put little time reminder’s in the corner of the pages…how sweet and naive I was back then. *sigh*. Of course I faltered when actually confronted by a group of 5 year olds and although I followed the top tip of dusting a tiny amount of flour on the first sheet of paper and blowing (which makes a brilliant cloud of “dust”) before I started reading, I soon found myself flicking through the book in search of something ever more exciting as the children demolished the table of food and ran a circuit of madness from the front room/kitchen/hall.
Even so, the book reminded me of the effort I have always made for Halloween and shamed me.
AND WE’RE BACK!
So first up. Pumpkin Carving. I got two fab shaped examples. One squat, one long, and part one of tonight’s plan is to carve them:
So first you cut a lid, simple enough. Use a sharp large knife, and I use the same large knife to make an initial cut into the fibrous centre of the squash and to ease the removal of the crappy/seedy innards. I have bothered, in the past, to remove the seeds and toast them – Total. Waste. Of. Time. They just irritated me. Don’t bother.
So, then I scrape the insides with a big metal spoon (serving size if you want to be precise). Oliver got involved and took charge of the smaller, squatter pumpkin. He ended up wearing rubber gloves (THE MASSIVE GIRL) as the scrape and pull method was just not working for him. I’d recommend not being too squeamish and getting right in there.
So once we’d scraped and scraped we could start carving. I decided that the long pumpkin should be inverted to make a more realistic “head” shape. Oliver decided to draw his design in Permanent Marker pen. We’re both idiots.
Ah, but you see, Jack ‘O Lanterns are most effective once lit, and so it was time for our traditional “turn all the lights off, light the pumpkins” moment.
Sod it. Let’s move onto the cakes…
Oh! so I want to make cupcakes with an oreo biscuit in the bottom and I am deeply impressed by these owl cupcakes which also uses Oreo Cookies. SCORE! I can get them in Poundland.
I line a deep muffin tray with
crappy Halloween cases and add half an oreo to each case.
I make a basic chocolate cake batter and then *DUN DEEE DAH!!!!*
I see a cosmic sign. A symbol of the Goddess. A sign of something strong and feminine shining at me from my mixing bowl. Some see Dead People, some see Jesus in a piece of toast, some see Mary in a Tortilla…
I see boobs in batter. Moving on.
So I add the Booby Batter to the cases and bake
And as they bake I make a second batch of smaller cakes – fairy ones. OH YES FAIRY CAKES ARE BACK!
I still had a small amount of batter left, so I crushed up the tops of the Oreo cookies I had left over and added them to the mixture before filling a remaining three cases and baking
I now have many cakes. MANY MANY CAKES. All of which require icing and decorating.
I’ll be back…