One of my favorite holidays is coming! It combines so many things I love: fun decor, fun food and the opportunity to wear some silly dress! I fell in love with Halloween while studying in North Carolina, it's really spectacular there and the autumn's nature backdrop is just gorgeous! I might be not a big fan of some really tacky Halloween decorations mostly made out of Chinese plastic, but aren't those pumpkins look fantastic!
Unfortunately, it's not celebrated at the same scale in Europe. And while pumpkin decorations might seem out of place in the inner city of London, I still think everyone can make this holiday shine even here with some willing friends, preparation and imagination. I managed to have a Halloween party in the small London apartment somehow.
When it comes to Halloween party planning, it's really worthwhile to start a bit earlier to make sure all of your party supplies are in and at the best price. Most of the stuff can be ordered directly from China either on Ebay or Aliexpress.com for a fraction of high street stores prices and mostly it will be of the same quality or even from the same manufacturer. Just pay attention to the sellers reviews and read through the items details carefully to avoid disappointment!
I prefer finger food for my Halloween parties and style them as buffets. As a busy and lazy person ;) I either invest in food taste or decor and rarely have time to address both to the highest standards.
So, my Halloween food is usually nothing special or complicated to prepare, but I invest some time into its decoration. As I mentioned earlier, it's always about "talking points" when it comes to home entertaining and creatively decorated food is a perfect talking point for your guests!
One don't need to invent a wheel with Internet at her fingertips, Pinterest got plenty Halloween ideas for your inspiration.
Most of the recipes I am going to share today were taken from Internet and I just tweaked them a bit to my taste. Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact sources but you can probably google them.
Also, I think many of the dishes, pictures of which I provided here, don't need a recipe really. Just use your favorite recipe of muffins and put some weird gummy eyeballs on top or chocolate web - here you go Halloween Muffins. Or take your favorite recipe of deviled eggs and decorate those with spiders made out of black olives! Well, how about you favorite dip decorated with the spider web too? Oh, I think you got the idea.
Halloween Cheese and Poppy Seeds Bats
- 180-200g of cream cheese (small pack)
- 200g of grated hard cheese as per your taste (cheddar, emmental etc)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic
- Herbs (chives, parsley etc) and spices (cayenne pepper etc) per your taste or replace with chopped smoked salmon
- 3Tbsp of poppy seeds for the decoration
- several black olives for eyes
- red peppercorns for eyes "irises"
- charcoal crackers or blue tortilla chips for the wings. I used the following, because of their hexagonal shape they are perfect for wings when cracked into two parts:
- Combine cream cheese, grated hard cheese, crashed/minced garlic, lemon juice, spices and herbs, mix thoroughly into a homogeneous mass.
- Form small balls of a plum size.
- Roll each ball in poppy seeds.
- Chill the balls until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes.
- Just before serving, decorate with split charcoal crackers (or blue tortilla chips) on either side of the each ball to imitate the wings. Imitate the eyes with thinly cut "wheels" of olives and red peppercorns for irises.
Korean Inspired Seaweed and Pig Ears Salad
This salad is not for the faint-hearted when it comes to weird ingredients. But I like it for its various textures and a bit of spicy bite. Because it should be prepared, at least, fortnight before, it's also perfect to spread the cooking workload across several days.
- 20g dry wakame seaweed
- 2 big pig ears (~250g)
- 1/2 of a small red cabbage
- 200g finely julienned carrot
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Spice mix as per your tolerance (ground coriander, chili paste, salt, black pepper)
- 1 Tbsp of sesame seeds
- 100ml of vegetable oil (I prefer sunflower or corn)
- 2 Tbsp of sesame oil (optional for stronger taste)
- 2 Tbsp of dark soya sauce
- 2 Tbsp of balsamic or white vinegar
- Start with preparing your pig ears (ask your local butcher for them or order on-line from the specialist meat suppliers). Mine arrived perfectly cleaned, but one might need to clean them if buying from less scrupulous sellers. Boil them for at least 2 hours. Then remove from water, cool down and slice into thin stripes.
- Rehydrate your dry wakame seaweed (ask for in Asian supermarkets or buy on-line).
- Mix together cut ears, seaweed, julienned carrots, sesame seeds and finely cut red cabbage. Add crushed garlic, soya sauce, vinegar and mix again.
- In a separate pan heat vegetable and sesame oil with the spice mix. While it's still piping hot, pour the mixture over the veggies and ears mix.
- Marinade the salad in the fridge for at least 10 hours, but the longer the better.
- For a bit of Halloween touch I served mine decorated with quail eggs and cherry tomatoes "mushrooms".
Have a spookylicous Halloween!