Halloween Cookery Group Menu
Ghouls and coffins and dismembered limbs... sounds like a good menu doesn’t it? This Bring-a-Bowl menu is perfect for cookery group – all you need is the ghastly costumes and a candlelit venue!
Planning and ServingThis menu is designed on a ghostly theme, so the host can go to town with decorations, sound effects and games – if you want to.
A Wickedly Tasty BuffetUse your imagination – anything can be grotesque if you stick a ghoulish label in front of the plate. Garnish your Halloween buffet table with carved pumpkins and lanterns made from black card – casting intriguing shadows on your walls... Allocate one dish to each member, and enjoy a Bring-a-Bowl buffet to remember!
- Witches' Supper. Make up cone-shaped ‘hats’ from black card, and stick a circular rim around each – like a witch’s hat. Now, fill each one with battered ‘fingers’. Slice fish fillets into finger-shaped goujons, then coat in egg and breadcrumbs. Bring to the meeting uncooked (in an ice-box) and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden, then pile them into the ‘hats’ to serve!
- Jack-O-Lantern Pie. This is a great centrepiece for your Halloween feast. Using a Cornish pasty recipe, prepare a filling of sautéed steak, onion, swede and potato. You’ll want the filling to be fairly dry. Make a batch of pasty (Delia has a good recipe) and use it to line a large, round pie dish. Fill it generously, then roll out a round of pastry for the lid. Cut it to shape on your floured board, and now get artistic. Cut out a Jack-o-Lantern design in the lid, making eyes, nose and fierce teeth. (You can download pumpkin templates online if your artistic skills are lacking!) Finally, carefully roll the lid onto a rolling pin and lay it onto the pie. Seal the edges with a fork and brush with egg yolk before baking as per the recipe. This is fine warm – you could bake it right before heading off to the meeting (wrap it in foil and put into a box).
- Nut Roast Tombstones. Instead of serving nut roast from an ordinary loaf tin, carve slices and arrange to look like tombstones. Arrange on green tissue paper and make fingers from thinly sliced onion, to create a ‘night of the dead’ look. Serve at room temperature.
- Braised Intestines. Red cabbage, shredded and braised in red wine with sliced onion and cranberries, makes a great dish of pretend intestines! Cook in advance (the flavours improve) and reheat in a pan at the host’s house.
- Blood-Stained Potato Salad. Make your usual potato salad with vinaigrette or mayo dressing (quick recipe: combine 200ml, or about 14tbsp, mayonnaise with 2-3tsp grainy mustard and 2tbsp finely chopped chives or parsley). Meanwhile, roast some beetroot in their skins (wrap in foil and bake for about an hour). Put the potato salad into their serving dish. Finish by peeling and dicing the beetroot (wear gloves unless you want ‘bloodied’ hands as well!) and scattering over the potato: the red juices will ooze onto the potato for a really gruesome look!
Sweets and DrinksAnd to wash it all down...
- Wine of the Dead. Cook up a ghastly mulled wine: in a saucepan, warm one bottle of rich red wine with a shot of brandy, an orange that you have studded with cloves, a halved lemon, a cinnamon stick, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. As you serve it, float peeled grapes (eyeballs) in each glass.
- Butterbeer. Make your own version of Hogwarts’ wizardly drink by blending one tablespoon of Monin ‘Butterscotch’ syrup with a dash of lemonade, and topping up with light beer. The result is a sweet, butterscotch-flavoured shandy. For an authentic look, serve in flagons!
- Chocolate Coffin Cake. Bake your favourite chocolate cake – choose a dense, sticky one – and cook it in a tray. Slice it in half, and cut each half into coffin-shaped rectangles. Don’t worry about cutting and pasting, because it will all get covered in icing. Angle and support the top cake (using offcuts) to look like a slightly open lid. Next, cover in dark chocolate ganache. Stipple it to look like coffin planks, and add blobs of black icing for ‘nails’. Use a few meringue ‘bones’ to make a hand that stretches out from beneath the lid. Finally make a plaque from gold card and stick it to the top.