When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers 'tis near Halloween.
It’s almost Halloween, the shops are now brimming with ghoulish costumes, pumpkins galore and mums and dads are stocking up the cupboards with bags of sweets, chocolates, and anything else that will keep the endless hordes of wonderfully dressed children (with their ever watchful, and dare I say judgemental parents hovering close by) happy and full of sugar.
As a Brit, I have often looked down on Halloween. Perhaps thinking it was another over glorified and slightly crass Americanism. Just another excuse to sell more greetings cards and tacky masks. However, having lived in the Middle East for 12 years and being surrounded by so many different nationalities, I now see it as an excuse to dress up, have fun with the neighbours and cook up and create some fabulous food.
It’s also Jemima’s birthday! We always have a little party to celebrate, and there’s never an issue choosing the theme :)
I’m now a total convert to the Halloween ‘holiday’, and here’s what I love about it:
- It’s a time to embrace your alter-ego. When else is it acceptable to wonder the street dressed as Batman or Homer Simpson? Costumes bring out our inner child, the anonymity allows us to be a little carefree and go a little mad!
- It’s an excuse to snuggle up with your loved one on the sofa and watch a scary movie.
- It’s the one time of year that is not frowned upon to eat as many sweets as possible.
- But best of all it’s a great time to get cooking and creative in the kitchen. I suggest throwing a small party and experiment with some hideous looking (but tasty) dishes.
Instead of the normal pumpkin pie, why not have a try at the following (they’re great for children’s parties and always make guests smile):
Water Melon Sharks
A great way to get the little ones eating fruit salad. Simply cut a watermelon at an angle and hollow it out. I followed my own rules which meant rather a lot of trial and error. You can cut out the shark’s fin from the left-over peal and carefully cut out the sharks teeth. I used blueberries as eyes and a little raspberry juice as blood.
Mini Rice Pumpkins
Just cook some rice and allow to cool and mix a little orange food colouring, and I use little chives for stalks.
You can have great fun with a wide range of different shapes and ‘vomit’. I usually buy about 3 small pumpkins and cut out a scary or pained face. The kiddie’s favourites are:
- Homemade tomato salsa – ideally served with crisps or Doritos.
- Homemade guacamole – make sure your guests can dip in with fresh cucumber sticks and carrots.
- Homemade hummus – why not add a few whole chickpeas or some beetroot pieces to make it look really horrid! You can serve this with little toasted pita breads or crackers.
Dress up, eat well, and have fun and happy Halloween!