Five top treats for Halloween and Bonfire Night
1 Bonfire pumpkins – it’s important to wait until the bonfire ashes are white and the embers glowing before cooking your pumpkin or squash. Carefully put the whole pumpkin or squash into the embers; use an old spade to gently nudge the embers over the top until completely covered. Leave in the embers for about 40-60 minutes (depending on the size) before scraping some of the ashes to one side and poking a skewer into the flesh to check that it is baked. Use the spade to move the pumpkin out of the fire, then use oven gloves to lift it onto a large chopping board. Slice in half, scoop out the seeds and then spoon the flesh into bowls, drizzle with rapeseed oil, sprinkle with sea salt, pile your favourite cheese on top and some curls of ham or crispy bacon, and finish with a handful of spinach and a dash of balsamic vinegar for a delicious, fun and super-simple bonfire supper.
2 Bake whole sweet potatoes for 40 minutes in their skins (in the oven on a baking tray or wrapped in foil in the embers of the fire). In a bowl, mix together 200g grated cheese, a handful of breadcrumbs, chopped sage leaves, a teaspoon of mustard and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Slice in half and pile on the filling, pop back into the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
3 Homemade scrumptious creamy store cupboard fudge is hard to beat. There are lots of great recipes online and I am sure lots of you have family recipes, but the old favourite made with Carnation milk is always reliable. If you aren’t a fan of bubbling sugar, then why not make one we love to make? A super simple nutty fudge with chocolate chips. Pour a tin of condensed milk into a pan with 150g crunchy peanut or almond butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 50g butter. Melt together until smooth and then boil for 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and sieve in 200g of icing sugar. Beat together with an electric whisk for about five minutes, spread into a lined, square tin and sprinkle chocolate chips and salty peanuts, toasted almonds or roasted hazelnuts on top. Make for trick or treaters or as a gift to take to parties with friends. Homemade fudge really is irresistible and perfect to have in your pocket when tired bonfire-goers need to walk the last stretch home.
4 Simplest soda bread for soup, sausages and stew! Mix together 500g wholemeal flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 450g natural yogurt or buttermilk. Bring together with your hands, shape into a round, use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross in the top. Pop onto a flat baking tray covered with non-stick baking paper and bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes at 190 degrees.
5 Set up a hot chocolate station for trick or treaters or your bonfire party friends. This is fun and tempting for children and grown-ups, too. Lay out lots of different-sized mugs, fill large jars with marshmallows, flakes, toffees, toasted hazelnuts, shortbread pieces and chocolate biscuit sticks. Put cinnamon, mixed spice and hot chocolate powder into a small jar with a teaspoon ready for sprinkling. Add some whole chillis and some cinnamon sticks for an added kick and warmth on chilly evenings and, for grown-ups, a shot of hazelnut liqueur or rum will boost the spirits! Don’t forget a big jug of hot chocolate and some cans of ‘squirty’ cream as well as some spoons for those who have been over enthusiastic with their additions!
From Miranda Gore Browne. You can follow her on instagram @MirandaBakes and facebook as Miranda Gore Browne