Carol Cooks Halloween Food.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Carol’s cookery column well we are halfway through October and those of you who celebrate Halloween probably already have your porches and front gardens decorated…I am here to help you with the food but not just for Halloween as I have seen and heard that a few of you are already experiencing flurries of snow…and only October whereas here it is hotting up as our high season is coming…
The potato is ideal Halloween and cold weather food a simple food that can be elevated into something quite warming and special.
Before we get to the fillings we need to bake them…
How to bake…Simply select your potatoes and scrub them clean, dry them and poke a few holes here and there…I am sure many of you have witnessed the mess when potato bursts its skin in the oven…
I oil my potatoes very lightly and pop straight onto the shelves of a preheated oven… Cook on 400 F/200 C and cook for about an hour or until soft and the skin is crispy …I turn mine a couple of times to ensure they crisp evenly.
Now for the fillings…
A favourite in our house is to scoop out the flesh of the potato and put to one side add a tbsp butter to the inside of the potato shell and crack an egg into the shell then top with some ham or bacon and chopped spring onions and season …Pop in the oven on 350F for about 20 minutes or until the white is set and enjoy… it is a lovely thing.
For those of you who fancy something just a little different… A baked sweet potato is very nice and they lend themselves to some slightly different fillings like feta cheeses, olives and sundried tomatoes or roasted grapes with goats cheese and honey is just to die for …especially if you have a slightly sweet tooth… Not a filling hubby likes he prefers cheese, bacon and the like in a normal potato as he puts it…
Me I like something a little different… This is a nice treat… A recipe given to me by a friend who used goat’s cheese I use feta or ricotta if I can get it…
Sweet Potato with goat’s cheese, honey and roasted grapes.
• 4 sweet potatoes
• 2 cups of red seedless grapes
• 1 tsp of coconut or olive oil
• ¼ tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
• 4 ounces of goats cheese or feta/ricotta
• Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
• 2 tbsp of honey plus additional to drizzle if required
- For 4 potatoes take 2 cups of small seedless grapes and put on a baking tray drizzle with oil and a season with salt and pepper then roast them at 350F for about 20 mins or until the skins just start to burst… Do check them as ovens vary and they can tend to burn…
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool then take your cooled sweet potato and gently remove the flesh those skins are not as hardy as a normal potato are they? So my advice is to leave some of the potato attached to the skin or you may struggle to fill them.
- In a bowl mash the potato with 3 oz of the goats cheese, honey, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste then put the potato back in the skins and crumble some more goats cheese on top …To serve add the grapes and drizzle more honey if desired…
A couple of weeks ago I showed you how to make Homemade Sausages. If you are making them for Halloween, then this recipe for my homemade mustard is just the thing to add that little zing…
My mustard is a WIP I think I need to either dry my seeds in the oven or in the sun as dry frying it is so easy to burn them…which I did with the first batch so had to start again.
My quest for smooth mustard like the famous Colman’s mustard is not yet over but a work in progress……I will keep you updated…
In the meantime, my son taste tested …we had a little Colman’s mustard left so he used both on his dinner and said he really couldn’t taste any difference so it got the thumbs up from him and as he is a very good chef that was praise indeed!
I would never probably have thought to attempt to make my own mustard if it wasn’t for the fact that sometimes you can get it and then you can go months without seeing any and I know some people stock pile and I may keep an extra one of some things but it just doesn’t sit well with me to buy everything on the shelf… I don’t agree with stock piling…
• 1/4 cup cold quality vinegar (wine vinegar, rice vinegar etc.)
• 1/2 a cup of cold water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1/4 of a cup of mustard seeds
- Mix together the water, vinegar, salt, and turmeric, then chill this in the refrigerator for a half hour to an hour.
- Grind the mustard, and then pour the cold liquid over the ground mustard immediately. Set it in the refrigerator for 2/3 days before using, for the best flavour.
- If you don’t want yellow mustard, simply omit the turmeric.
- The reason for the emphasis on cold vinegar and water is because this retains the flavour of the mustard; otherwise, it loses its pungency quickly. Letting the mix stand in the fridge for 2/3 days reduces the bitterness of the mustard seeds.
- Also, as it chills, it should thicken up. This is the reason that store-bought mustard can be difficult to get out of the container if it comes directly from the refrigerator and isn’t at room temperature.
- This mustard will keep in the refrigerator for about a year due to its vinegar content.
- Mustard is much easier than I originally thought it would be to make but I have learnt that the final taste depends on the vinegar you use and also the mustard seeds…
Potato wedges are also very nice and maybe a little easier to serve as you can put them in a bowl and add the topping or serve separately and also not everyone can eat a whole jacket potato with filling so easier for portion control.
To make your wedges
- Cut a potato into 6 pieces although this depends on the size of your potato.
- Place potatoes in a baking dish; coat in oil making sure the potatoes are covered evenly.
- Sprinkle fresh bread crumbs over potatoes (this makes them) a little more crispy and coat each wedge well.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 355 degrees F (180 degrees C) and continue cooking until wedges are tender enough to puncture with a fork, about 30 minutes more.
- Potato wedges are easy to do and you can add fresh rosemary, garlic or make a marinade and if you are running short of time just pre-cook slightly and then pop into the oven.
Lastly a lovely bowl of homemade soup always goes down well
- 1 small squash/ pumpkin peeled and deseeded. Cut into pieces.
- 1 brown onion, peeled and cut up
- 1 carrot washed and cut
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- Piece fresh ginger finely chopped
- 3 Broccoli stalks, peeled and cubed (I always save the broccoli stalks) for when I make soup. Waste not, want not and I think ideal for soups for flavour.
- 1-1½ litres fresh chicken stock or stock cubes.
- Heat a glug of olive oil and gently cook the garlic, ginger and onion to just soften and not colour.
- Add other vegetables gradually and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes, then add stock and seasoning.
- Simmer gently for about an hour or until vegetables are lovely and soft and remove from heat.
- I let it cool down before I blend the soup.
- This makes a lovely vegetable soup but I also use it as a base for a heartier soup and freeze in portions.
- When I reheat I add little-dried chilli flakes and 1 or 2 tbsp of coconut milk. It just gives it a creamy flavour.
- Sometimes I add crushed lemongrass stalk and add a little fish sauce, it depends on how I feel, it is a versatile soup base so play with it, and have fun.
- Add some curry powder, a squeeze or 2 of lime juice or coriander, whatever you fancy.
- It is also lovely with some added prawns or some picked crab meat.
- Serve with some lovely garlicky croutons and enjoy!
That’s all for this week I hope you enjoy your Halloween festivities and stay warm and safe xxx
©Carol Taylor 2018
The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-2018/
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
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My thanks to Carol as always for the time and effort that goes into these posts.
Thank you for dropping in today and Carol would be delighted to answer any of your questions and we always enjoy your feedback. Thanks Sally