Thursday, 24 October 2013

Week 37- Hallowe'en Recipes for Grown-ups

Well, grown-up is a relative term.

These recipes do still have a slightly silly theme to them- but you can make them sensibly if you want -without all the ghoulies and ghosties.

If you are planning a Hallowe'en drinks or dinner party this year, I've put together some creepy concoctions for you to give you some ideas- starting with cocktails and nibbles, followed by wild mushroom pate with creature crackers. Main course is stuffed snail bake with blood-stained garlic bread and dessert is chocolate and plum cake with oozy bramble glaze (served with toffee apple ice cream).

Does it all sound appetizing? Probably not. But I assure you it's good really. (And it's a vegetarian dinner party too).

For cocktails, I'm offering mulled red wine or kir (not shaken or stirred so it keeps it's layers). There are lots more ideas on

A kir is a mixture of creme de cassis and white wine- I poured the wine in first, then the creme de cassis so as to keep them separate. Then added a garnish of a little olive spider- made from a black olive and some cocktails sticks.
Kir cocktail and friend
Black olive spider garnish
To go with the mulled wine, I made some tapenade spiders. I found this spider biscuit cutter in a cookshop and made a dough from 150g of plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt, 30g of butter, 1 tablespoon of tapenade (black olive paste) and a little milk to mix. (Put the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse till fine. Add the tapenade and drizzle in some milk slowly until the mixture comes together as a dough.

Cut out the shapes, bake them on a greased baking tray for about 15 minutes until crisp and starting to brown. Serve with some extra tapenade to dip if you want.
Creepy-crawly nibbles

Moving from spiders to other creepy creatures, I made some crackers to go with my wild mushroom pate from a similar mix to the biscuit one above- but used granary flour and no olive paste. This time I cut out circles and then pulled them into weird shapes and cut eye holes etc with scissors before baking.

The mushroom pate serves as the starter and also the filling for the snail shell bake so make twice as much as you need for the entree.
Soak a handful of dried porcini mushrooms in warm water for 15 minutes or so. Squeeze them out and chop them finely (but keep the soaking liquid). Pulse 150g of portobello mushrooms, a clove of garlic and 1 small onion in the food processor until it is a fine duxelle. Add the chopped porcini and then place in a frying pan with a little olive oil and fry gently. As it begins to dry out, add the strained soaking liquid and a dash of dry sherry and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated.
When cool, mix with a small tub of cream cheese and adjust the seasoning with lots of salt and pepper to taste. Chill well before serving in dishes with creature crackers (or sensible crackers if you prefer). This mixture is enough to serve two- so double it or triple it according to your party numbers.
Wild mushroom pate with creepy crackers....

....or sensible snacks

Meanwhile, put some large snail shell pasta (conchiglioni rigati) on to cook in some boiling water. Cook it until it is nearly al dente- then drain it, and cool it under some cold running water.
When cool, pipe or spoon the leftover mushroom pate into the shells and arrange in a baking dish.
Pour over some tomato sauce and some grated cheese and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Snail shell bake
Serve with blood-stained garlic bread- garlic bread slices with sun dried tomato paste drizzled over. I left two unstained for more sensible eaters.
Blood-stained garlic bread

For dessert, I made a chocolate sponge cake (various recipes on the blog if you click on the cloud above) with some fresh plums, halved and stoned and dropped into the mixture. When cooked and still warm, I drizzled over the remains of a jar of bramble jelly mixed with a teaspoon of icing sugar.
Chocolate plum cake with bramble drizzle

To serve with this I also made a toffee apple ice cream by churning leftover creme anglaise, stewed apple compote and caramel sauce in the ice cream maker.
Just churn for toffee apple ice cream

So, there we are:  a hallowe'en menu (or autumn dinner party) depending on whether you want to trick or treat your guests.

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