Friday, 6 November 2009

A feast fit for the dead, undead and undecided

I shouldn't be entirely surprised that the food preparation for Halloween took two full days. I had expected a cooking extravaganza and I am quite thankful I had planned so many dishes that could be made in advance, or I would have been making a panicky dash to Co-op by Saturday afternoon. Plus, I'd learnt my lesson from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party I held in the summer, where I was still buttering bread for the sandwiches as the first guests arrived! Although it was hard work, everything worked out brilliantly and I had a lot of fun!

The culinary onslaught began on Thursday evening when I made another batch of the Witches Fingers (see earlier post) and continued into Friday when I did the bulk of the prep work - cooking a huge pot of chili and another of vegetarian ghoulash. I also marinated both the chicken and the vegetables that were to be threaded on skewers and grilled on Saturday, and made the cupcakes ready for decorating.

Saturday morning saw me decorating the cupcakes with orange buttercream on the chocolate cakes, and a spider web frosting on the pumpkin cakes. Not the neatest job ever, but I liked how they looked once I'd stacked them on my black wire cake stand and decorated them with orange and green physallis (that came from the greenhouse!). Next out of the dessert factory was a slab of sticky toffee pudding, and the most delicious pumpkin pie. I'd never made one before, and was glad I attempted it this time, because it was easy and yummy.

A batch of garlic mushroom, and spinach and cream cheese tarts finished off the cooking marathon and then I just had to arrange it all, following my little plan. Working out what each dish was going in, and where on the table, so far in advance might have seemed a bit obsessional at the time, but I was glad I had it worked out on the day - one less thing to think about! I'd also made some spooky little signs on toothpicks to go on the food earlier in the week, so I just had to stick these in and I was done. Phew! One huge glass of wine thoroughly deserved and needed!

The purple satin fabric made a brilliant tablecloth and gave the table a funereal air, I left the fold marks in it and it put me in mind of the quilted lining from a coffin! Inexpensive black casserole dishes made great cauldrons to hold chili and ghoulash. The purple fabric was strewn with black plastic flies, centipedes and cockroaches.

Chocolate cupcakes with orange buttercream, and spiced pumpkin cupcakes with a spiderweb frosting, looked great studded with peeled physallis fruits from the garden.

Little cup of slime anyone?

The sign for the dessert display reads 'Indulge if you dare'. Little glass bowls held extra toffee sauce for the sticky toffee pudding, and double cream for the pumpkin pie. I kept finding little plastic mice, that I had decorated the edge of the pie stand with, swimming in the cream, which was a brilliant but unplanned finishing touch!

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