Spooky Hallowe’en Feast for all the Family!

I know, I know: Hallowe’en is “just for the kids”, but I know that we adults love it just as much as the little ones do! So I got to thinking, aside from the excitement of dressing up as ghouls and ghosts and heading out into the frosty night to go trick or treating, how lovely would it be add an extra little flourish to All Hallows Eve than to share a fun feast that all the family can enjoy together? So for this year, why not give my Hallowe’en Feast a go – not only will the kids love it for the fun factor, but adults will love it because it tastes delicious too!

All recipes are designed to feed four, but can be easily scaled up for bigger gatherings!

Spooky Pea and Ham Hock Soup with Garlicky Croutons

The first thing to know about this menu is that I am using plenty of shortcuts for time efficiency, but there is absolutely no compromise on flavour! For this really delicious and vibrantly green soup, I am using ready cooked Ham Hocks which you can pick up from your local supermarket rotisserie counter, and ready-made jelly stock pots.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp each of olive oil and butter
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • Green stem of a medium leek, trimmed, quartered and finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Handful each of parsley stalks and leaves
  • 375g bag of frozen peas
  • 650ml hot vegetable stock
  • 25g ready cooked ham hock per person
  • 1 ball of Macroom Buffalo Mozzarella
  • Double cream and chopped fresh mint to finish
  • Sourdough bread, cubed; 1 garlic clove, sea salt.

Method:

  • Into a deep saucepan, place the olive oil, butter, onion, leek and water. Place over a medium heat and cover to sweat the ingredients for about 10 mins, being careful not to colour the vegetables.
  • Add in the parsley stalks, leaves and frozen peas. Stir to coat everything. Add in the stock and bring to the boil, cooking for another 5 minutes. Add some of the fresh mint.
  • Meanwhile, make your croutons by slicing some sourdough and taking off the crust. Rub all over with the clove of garlic and then cut the bread into cubes. Place into a pan with some olive oil and salt, toast and toss until golden brown all over. Empty onto a piece of kitchen paper.
  • Place everything into a blender until completely smooth. Return to the pan and reheat, adding the shredded ham hock and the finely chopped mozzarella.
  • Ladle into bowls and finish with a drizzle of double cream, the rest of the freshly mint and croutons.

Witches Meatball Cauldron

It is easy to make up this dish with as little or as much effort as you would like! For instance, you could make the meatballs yourself, or buy them ready made. And you could make the squid ink pasta, or buy in a great quality ready made one yourself. But I absolutely insist that you don’t buy a ready-made sauce, if only because this one is so quick and simple to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic (smoked preferable)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 beef meatballs
  • Squid ink pasta (dried unless making it yourself), (spaghetti, fettuccini or tagliatelle work best)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  • Heat a deep saucepan and add the butter, olive oil, onion and garlic. Stir to coat, cover and set on the lowest heat for 5 mins.
  • Add the tins of tomatoes and a drop of water, stir, recover and cook for about 15 mins over a low heat stirring occasionally to ensure it’s not sticking to the pan.
  • Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with some olive oil and brown off the meatballs on all sides. Do this in batches, and take off the heat when done.
  • Fill a saucepan with cold water and salt generously, heat up to boiling.
  • Meanwhile, once the sauce is cooked, transfer it to a blender and wiz until completely smooth. Place back into the saucepan and add the meatballs. Cover and heat to cook through the sauce and meatballs.
  • When the water comes to the boil, add in the squid ink pasta with a drop of olive oil. Cook until al dente. This should be enough time to have cooked through the meatballs.
  • Drain pasta and portion into warmed bowls, creating a little crater in the centre for the sauce.
  • Spoon in the meatballs and sauce, grate over some hard cheese, such as parmesan, and serve with a green salad and garlic bread.

Brain Jelly and Eye Screeeeeam!

This is just a little bit of fun! There are tonnes of Hallowe’en themed jelly moulds out on the market too so just see what’s out there and play with it! The brain mould worked really well, and I paired raspberry flavour jelly with coconut milk to create the opaque look. Serving it with some simple chocolate truffles gave it a luxurious feel for the adults, and the jelly eyes was just for laughs!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packs of raspberry jelly
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 200ml coconut milk – warmed (important otherwise it will curdle)
  • 600ml of tepid water
  • 2-3 drops of green food colouring
  • Spooky jellies, some great quality ice cream and chocolate truffles to finish

Method:

  • Pull the jelly into cubes and pour over the boiling water, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Meanwhile, warm the coconut milk in a small pan until just about to simmer. Don’t let it boil.
  • Pour the milk into the jelly mixture and stir to combine. Add the tepid water and food colouring and stir.
  • Prepare your jelly mould by brushing lightly with vegetable oil. This will ensure the jelly mixture takes on all of the detail of the mould but also will ensure the jelly releases easily from the mould when set.
  • Place in the fridge and allow to set, preferably overnight.
  • When ready to serve, place the serving plate over the opening of the jelly mould and hold firm. Invert quickly, the jelly should slip out easily. Gently lift off the jelly mould.
  • Decorate the plate with chocolate truffles, homemade or bought – it doesn’t matter, spooky jellies and serve with scoops of a really good flavoured ice cream – either chocolate, coconut or raspberry ripple.
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