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Celebrate the season in style by sipping a warm glass of Halloween blood

Celebrate the season in style by sipping a warm glass of Halloween blood


A moment ago we were still enjoying the carefree warmth of long summer days and suddenly the nights are turning long again. By late afternoon the shadows already begin to creep up. By early evening an inky blackness has spread. And as every child knows danger lurks in the dark; monsters, ghouls and unimaginable horror. All of a sudden it is Halloween again – the marker of the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death.

Time to usher in the winter season and to celebrate an ending and a beginning in an eternal cycle.

Kick off your Halloween party with these elegant little “blood” shots as appetizer. To stay in the theme serve them with some black grissini.

Should you have already had your Halloween celebrations there is no need to wait until next year to enjoy this little treat. These beetroot shots are a stylish amuse for any dinner party – great for the festive season that is right on our doorstep. (Although in that case I would leave out the plastic spiders….)

Not only do these little shots look stunning and taste fantastic, they can be prepared ahead and can either kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen for up to a month in advance.

 

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Ingredients
(I have made these shots for years and have no idea where I found this recipe or who I have to thank for it)
About 1 liter which makes 20 glasses of 50ml

Optional: black plastic spiders
1 bunch (15g) fresh tarragon
200ml yoghurt (use a liquid
2 red onion
3 tbsp light brown sugar (NL: gele basterdsuiker)
75ml red wine
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 liter vegetable stock (hot)
500g cooked or roasted beets*
Salt, pepper

Recipe

  1. Bring some water to the boil and pour over the plastic spiders to clean them.
  2. Chop the tarragon and blend all but 2 tbsp with the yoghurt.
  3. Optional: place a spider half-way in each ice cube.
  4. Spread the yoghurt in an ice cube tray, cover with cling film and allow to freeze.
  5. Peel and finely chop the onion.
  6. Place the onion in a pot and add the sugar. Cover with a lid and cook for 10min on a medium flame. Keep the lid on the pot and shake once in a while.
  7. Add the red wine and vinegar. Cook until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
  8. Peel the beetroot, cut into small cubes and add to the pan.
  9. Pour in the hot stock.
  10. Add the 2 tbsp of tarragon you reserved. Allow all to cook gently for about 15min.
  11. Blend smooth using an (immersion) blender.
  12. Pass the puree though a fine meshed sieve.
  13. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve the soup in small (shot) glasses with an ice cube.
  15. To store: The soup can be cooled and kept in the fridge for a few days. Alternatively it can be kept in the freezer for up to a month. Remove from the freezer a day before serving to allow to defrost in the fridge. Heat for 5min on a medium flame.

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Tips & Variations

Consider some of the following

I prefer roasting beets but they can also be cooked. Heat oven to about 200C (400F) Wash the beets. No need to peel. Fold a large piece of aluminum foil double. Place the beets on top and rub with oil, salt and pepper. Wrap the foil loosely around the beets make sure the foil is closed well. Roast the beets for 40-60 min or until a knife pierces the beets easily. The beets keep in the fridge for up to a week.


Serve with

More Halloween party treats

Horrifically good

Horrifically good

Happy Halloween!

Over the last few years Halloween has become one of my favourite holidays (to be honest, by now it is only second to Christmas). Halloween was never celebrated in my family, or the places I lived in. Nonetheless, by now it feels like a tradition.

To me a typical halloween is a day spent together with friends and family, old and young being creative and having fun. The party really is all about the preparations: You fold white napkins into ghosts and wrap biscuits in bandagees to make them look like mummies. By the evening the house is filled with spooky decorations and the dinner table is piled high with horrifically delicious food.

These grissi are quick and fun to make; they look great serverd with a blood-red beet soup.
(Of course you can omit the black ink and make regular grissini as well. So much better than the store bought variety.)

Ingredients

(hardly adapted from the blog “delicious days“)
30-40 grissini

1 heaped tsp dry yeast (or 10g fresh yeast)
250g bread flour (e.g. type 550, NL: Tarwemeel – see tips and variation for additional info)
1 level tsp of fine salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bags of squid ink (4g each)
Optional: nigella seeds, coarse salt, sesame seeds

 

Recipe

  1. Stir the yeast into 125ml lukewarm water.
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
  3. Add yeast water, ink and oil to the flour.
  4. Use the kneading hooks of your whisk (or a spoon) to blend all together. After the dough starts to form turn it out onto a clean works surface and knead for about 5 minutes until you have soft dough. (I got not stains from the ink.)
  5. Lightly oil the bowl. Place dough inside, cover with a towel and allow rising in a warm place for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 200C (390F).
  7. Cover a baking tray with baking paper.
  8. Roll out dough to a thin rectangle (about as thick as pasta).
  9. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into thin strips (the tiniest bit wider than tagliatelle).
  10. Roll each strip into an even shaped rope and place on the baking tray.
  11. If using spice, brush with water and sprinkle with spice.
  12. Bake for 10 (-15 minutes). They should turn lightly crispy (and if you do not use ink a touch golden)
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  14. Stored in an airtight container they will stay crisp for a few days.

Tips & Variations

I used half whole wheat spelt flour, half whole wheat bread flour. Unfortunately the latter had large bran pieces in it. I would use this combination of flours again if I was making plain grissini, but for the black sticks a flour without bran will result in a more stunning looking black grissini

Other Halloween ideas

Cheese Biscuits Disguised for Halloween
Black Widow Cocktail

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Halloween is close again and it is time for dressing up and chasing out those demons.  This weekend my dear friends H & J MF invited me over for a fabulous Halloween party at their lovely (ups, sorry, horrific) house. Of course the question then was: what to wear;  who do I want to be this year?

So let me ask you:  If you would create a super hero alter ego for yourself, who would you be?

During the day I would be a wholsome-looking cook in a frilly apron, serving up platefuls of nurturing  and heart-warming food. But then when danger threatens my beautiful, safe and muffinscented world,  I would turn into a black flash of ligthening,  a master at using every day kitchen implements to defuse any type of dangerous situation.

My symbols? My civilian self would cradel a cup of warm anis-flavoured milk and smile beningnly at the folly of life. My alter ego, on the other hand, would be glaring over the edge of a cocktail glass, judging the world.

Of course this cocktail could not be an appeltini or a cosmopolitan; it would have to be a black widow.

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Ingredients

lime
Black or red salt
1 part silver tequila
2 parts good quality blackcurrant juice (mine was lightly sweetened with grape juice)
ice
blackberries

Recipe

  1. Chill the tequila and juice.
  2. Rub the rim of your cocktail glass with lime.
  3. Place salt on a plate and dip the glass in the salt to crust the rim.
  4. I would suggest making a small amount first so you can tweak the ratio to your own taste.
  5. Place lime juice, tequila, juice, ice in a cocktail shaker and blend. (you can skip this step and just pour the ingredients straight into a jug or glass).
  6. Pour into the glass without the ice cubes.
  7. Decorate the glass with a blackberry.

 Tips & Variations

Consider some of the following

  • vodka instead of tequila
  • add cassis

 Other Halloween ideas

Cheese Biscuits Disguised for Halloween

Attack of the Mummies

I cannot believe there was ever a time I did not celebrate Halloween! Over the last few years it has become my second favourite holiday (Christmas is still unchallenged at number one.)

What I love about holidays in general and Halloween in particular is that I get to behave as a kid: I get to play with food!!!

One of the ideas I stumbled across is to wrap biscuits in bandags to make them look like little mummies. (Hihi – so much fun!)

Of course you could use a store-bought biscuit, but if you are going through this much trouble you really want the biscuit to be worth the effort. These crunchy, flaky morsels are quick to make and taste fabulously salty and cheesy.

Actually these biscuits taste so good I will not be waiting until next Halloween to make them again.
Ingredients
(Biscuit recipe from the blog “one perfect bite” but and  mummy idea from “recipegirl“)

220g flour
1 tsp salt
110g cold butter
200g grated strong cheese (I use Dutch extra belegen boeren kaas but you can use cheddar or even Parmesan)
about 6 tablespoons water
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
bandage for wrapping

 

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 230 C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Place flour and salt in a bowl.
  3. Cut the butter into small dice and then use your fingers to rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Grated the cheese and mix in using your fingers.
  5. Stir in water and cayenne with a fork. Quickly bring together the pastry. Do not overwork.
  6. Roll out the pastry to about 5mm thickness. Using a knife cut the pastry into rectangles of about 5×2 cm. Transfer the pastry to the baking tray.
  7. Prick each biscuit a few times with a fork.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Use something small and blunt to stab two eyes into the biscuit (I used the end of a thin stemmed tea-spoon.)
  11. Wrap with the bandage to resemble a mummy.

Tips & Variations

replace cayenne with chopped chives

Mummy invasion