Feel that chill up your spine? ‘Spooky Season’ is officially here!
Halloween has become a day to celebrate imagination and fun. It originated from an ancient Celtic seasonal festival to mark the end of the harvest and to remember the dead (known as Samhain), which is celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 1.
Although Halloween is not a locally recognised holiday, the activities associated with the day are gaining traction in South Africa, with residential estates and schools hosting trick-or-treat parties or fundraising activities for families to partake in.
If you are planning a fabulous party to celebrate, here are some spooky Halloween recipe ideas you can make at home for adults and kids.
These recipes by entrepreneur and chef Jan Kohler are a little scary, a little sweet and a whole lot of fun.
15ml Black Sambuca
15ml classic gin
1 can of tonic water
Raspberries, blueberries, and liquorice bits to garnish
In a cocktail glass, pour the Sambuca and gin over ice and top up with a tonic of your choice. Garnish with fruit like raspberry or blueberries or even some chopped liquorice bits.
For a pitch-black gin, drop some black gel food colouring on the end of a cocktail skewer and stir it in.
Vegan butternut soup
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp of garam masala (or suitable curry powder)
1 kg butternut, diced
400ml coconut cream
500ml of vegetable stock
Olive oil, for frying
In a large, deep pot, fry the onion and the spice in a bit of olive oil. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the butternut.
Add the vegetable stock, ensuring that the vegetables are immersed in liquid. Put the lid on and allow to simmer until the vegetables are very tender.
Keep checking the liquid levels and don’t let the soup evaporate – add more stock if needed. Set this aside to cool.
Pour the entire mixture into a food processor and pulse until the soup is smooth and free of lumps. (You might have to do this in two parts). Return the soup to the pot and stir the coconut cream through, warming it over medium heat as you go.
The result should be a thick, velvety soup. Serve it with a delicious activated charcoal sourdough to give it a spooky Halloween vibe.
Poison apples and black brittle
For the candy
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
⅓ cup of golden syrup
Half a tsp of white vinegar
A couple of drops of black gel food colouring
To make the candy, combine all the ingredients (reserving the food colouring) in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt. Turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring only occasionally.
To test whether it has reached the right temperature, you can use a sugar thermometer or the traditional method. If you have a thermometer, turn off the heat once the syrup has reached 150C.
If you don’t, drop a bit of the syrup into a glass of cold water, and if it forms a solid ball, it is ready to use. Stir in some black gel food colouring until you get the desired colour.
For the toffee apples I prefer to use Granny Smith apples as they are firm but you can use whichever kind you like. It’s very important to thoroughly wash and dry the apples before you start coating them, as any waxiness will stop the candy from sticking to the apple.
Insert a skewer into the apple and then dip it into the syrup, twisting so that the entire apple is evenly coated. You can also use a spoon to get to any parts of the apple that are hard to reach.
Once well coated, you can place them on a sheet of baking paper and allow them to harden.
With any leftover syrup, you can make black peanuts brittle. Depending on how much you have left, add a few handfuls of peanuts and raisins to the pot and stir.
If you would like to make peanut brittle bars, pour the mixture into a greased and lined baking pan and cut it up before it hardens too much.
To make peanut brittle clusters, allow the syrup to cool slightly so that you can handle them, and then roll them into balls in the palm of your hands. These make a great addition to my spooky Halloween cheese board.