Thursday 22 March 2018

Trick ortreat Donal Skehan has ghoulish recipes to thrill those little witches & goblins

Donal Skehan

A lot of my fond food memories growing up came from the weeks leading up to Halloween -- in my house, Halloween was up there with Christmas, Easter and birthdays in terms of excitement.

Planning for the costumes started in early October, just when the seasons began to change and the leaves turned crisp.

The highlight was just a couple of days before the big day itself, when we would spend the day in the kitchen baking up treats, carving pumpkins and putting the finishing touches to our costumes.

Fruity barmbrack was placed in lunchboxes all week until a ring was found, steaming bowls of pumpkin soup were served up as an after-school dinner, and creamy colcannon mash was a regular side dish at the dinner table.

On top of Ireland's deep-rooted, traditional Halloween celebrations, as a country we have adopted many US customs too.

My mother, much to the complete and utter embarrassment of my brothers and me, adopted these American customs early on, and any trick-or-treaters brave enough to call to our door were treated to a full show of elaborate decorations, eery music blaring out of a CD player and a crazed woman in a witch's hat insisting on tricks to be performed before any treats were handed over.

Yes, Halloween in our house was always memorable!

While we might have settled for a slice of barmbrack slathered with salty Irish butter, our American cousins have perfected all things sweet for Halloween.

With this in mind, the recipes here give a nod Stateside.

White-chocolate truffle eyeballs popped in kilner jars will have any potential trick-or- treaters quaking in their witches' hats and are incredibly easy to make.

My crackerjack popcorn snaps are coated in a delicious toffee caramel that sets to make a crunchy sweet treat.

Blood-red mummy cupcakes are made with a classic red-velvet cupcake batter and ghoulishly decorated with fondant icing and smarties.

So this weekend, make sure you and the kids get into the kitchen as Halloween is just around the corner.

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