We now welcome our Halloween guest blogger – Mary-Rose Agius. A graphic designer who lives and works in London, Mary-Rose’s true passion is for food and calls on a rich Maltese familial background to create recipes with a twist and an occasional challenge, with her blog (Force De La Mer) attracting the attention in recent years of Lurpak who published one of her dishes in their national advertising campaign:
Halloween is upon us, and that means Halloween parties for both kids who trick or treat and adults alike. But rather than dish out the bags of fun size chocolate bars and Haribos, or the usual baked-from-frozen quiches, here’s a few different ideas to get you going in the kitchen (or lab, if you’re so inclined, Dr. Frankenstein) that can be a touch healthier than the usual fare.
5. CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRY GHOSTS
A great one to get the kids involved for a sweet treat for both adults and kids alike! If you have a steadier hand you can have a go at making little mummies too.
4. BUTTERNUT & NUT BUTTER SOUP
For the those going for more of a sit down dinner party affair, nothing can be more Autumnal and iconic of Halloween than the pumpkin. This particular soup is made from butternut squash, but easily replaced with pumpkin instead – a great way to get through any pumpkins left from carving. The peanut butter gives it a wonderful richness, while the thai-influenced chilli and lime cuts through it, making this a great starter.
3. SPIKED PUMPKIN PIE WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE
One just for the adults! Our American cousins on the other side of the pond seem to use pumpkin far more for sweet instead of savoury dishes. But how about drinks, for a real change? This hot chocolate uses white chocolate, but can easily be swapped out for dark chocolate for a slightly less sweet, but just as decadant night cap.
2. THREE INGREDIENT HALLOWEEN APPLE BITES
Another one for the kids to get involved in making, are these cute (or terrifying, depending on your take on these things) apple bites than can take a bite out of you!
1. PUMPKIN PIE SPICED DATE, SEED & NUT BITES
These little bites are easy to make, the only major equipment is a food processor and a couple of baking trays. Grain-free, dairy-free and sugar-free they’re a bit healthier than the usual Halloween fair, but sweet and crunchy enough for the kids to enjoy, as well as the adults.
Recipe makes 48 bites, recipe is from my own blog forcedelamer.com. I double bake these bars to make them crunchier, but you can skip this step if you prefer them softer and chewier:
Two 9”x12” baking trays at least half an inch deep
Brush for oil
Large chopping board
Large, sharp knife
Coconut oil for greasing (or any light nut oil)
125g sunflower seeds
125g pumpkin seeds
125g blanched almonds
175g flaked almonds
100g black sesame seeds
For the pumpkin pie spice:
1 tsp vanilla extract
5g stpre bought pumpkin pie spice
or make up your own using four teaspoons each of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and three teaspoons allspice, sealing them in a airtight container for future use.
Preheat a fan forced oven to 140 degrees celsius.
Take two baking trays, cut the baking paper to fit with some extra hanging over either end to allow easy lifting when the mixture bakes. Line with the paper and brush with a little bit of oil.
Take half of the pumpkin and sunflower seeds, all of the dates and blanched almonds (not the flaked ones) and 50ml of water and blitz in a food processor until roughly chopped, you’ll have to pulse it to stop the blades gumming up. Place aside in a bowl.
Blitz the raisins with 50ml water, this time to a paste and mix through the date, seed and nut mixture. Add the rest of the pumpkin and sunflowers seeds, the black sesame seeds and flaked almonds.
Add the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly.
Spread out the mix onto seperate baking trays. Try to spread as evenly as possible with the back of a spoon, easing it into the corners of the tray.
Take a clean sheet of baking paper and using your hands, press down to smooth out and compact the mixture further. (Using just your hands is a sticky mess, it’s much easier this way!)
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, turning the trays around half way through to ensure they’re baked evenly.
Take out and leave the trays to cool for about 10 mins before carefully lifting out slabs onto a chopping board. Cut into 48 2.25”x2” pieces.
Completely cool on a wire rack.
Optional double bake step: Preheat oven to 50 degrees celsius and return bars on the wire racks to the oven for a further two hours to crisp them up. Leave to completely cool.
Store in an airtight container. These should keep for at least two weeks.