What to Eat This Halloween: 7 Days to All Hallow's Eve

Halloween recipe
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As October rolls to a close and there is only a week left to stock up the home with candies and buy those last-minute costumes, the real celebration of All Hallow's Eve or Samhain is all but forgotten on North American soil, along with food that was both traditional and healthy. This Halloween, let's try to steer clear of the darkness modern definitions present and turn back to the goodness that the day originally signified.

What IS Halloween?

Contrary to popular belief, Halloween is the Celtic Samhain or 'All Hallowtide', also known as the 'Feast of the Dead'. It is the one day in the year that the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest, when the dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration marks the end of Summer and the start of the Winter months, apparently fully skipping over Autumn. Furthermore, Christians have adopted this pagan tradition and made it part of their calendar through dubbing November 1st 'All Saints Day'a day in an effort to protect the ancient traiditons but integrate into modern religion. It has become the day of commemoration for those Saints who normally did not have a specific day of remembrance. The night before was known as 'All Hallows Eve' which, over time, became known as Halloween. Unfortunately, it's only a day of costumes, monsters, fright and candy for most children growing up in today's world.

Did you know there are traditional foods to prepare for Halloween as well?
If you like finding fun items like rings in your food, these dishes are perfect for you to prepare. Plus, your kids will love them!

Colcannon:
Before you make any food, it is good to know the legends surrounding it, particularly around the traditional dishes. For colcannon, it is said that "Young Irish girls in years gone by were blindfolded and sent out to the garden at Halloween to pick a cabbage. A ring was then hidden in the colcannon made with said cabbage. Whomever found the ring on their plate was said to be the next to marry... unmarried women put the first and last bite of colcannon into a stocking and hung it on their front door. The next unmarried man to grace that door was said to be her intended husband."

Now, how exactly do you make this love-inducing dish?

You will need:

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 4 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Start off by mashing those potatoes. Peel them, chop them really small and place them in water seasoned with half a teaspoon of salt before letting it simmer for 20 minutes. Throughout, finely mince the onions and the shallots before chopping up the kale. Melt 2 ounces of butter in the skillet and saute the shallot for 2 minutes before adding the kale and continuing for another 3-4 minutes. Now add the onions and mix it all up 2 minutes longer. Get back to mashing those potatoes by adding 2 ounces of butter and up to a cup of the half and half. This goes back to the days when the creamy top of the milk was used instead of the liquid under it. If you have access to fresh milk from a cow, you might want to grab the original "top of the milk" cream. Add the greens and mash them all together now. Add salt, pepper and any other spices that meet your tastes.

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Now, add the ring in there somewhere and don't forget to warn your guests about it!

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Barnbrack Cake (Also known as Irish Tea Brack):

You will need-

  • 110g (4oz) sultanas
  • 110g (4oz) raisins
  • 110g (4oz) currants
  • 50g (2oz) natural glace cherries, halved or quartered
  • 300ml (10fl oz) hot tea
  • 1 organic egg, whisked
  • 200g (7oz) soft brown sugar
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp mixed spice
  • 50g (2oz) homemade candied peel

Equipment you will be using is a 450g (1lb) loaf tin – 12.5 x 20cm (5 x 8in) OR 3 small loaf tins 15 x 7.5cm (6 x 3in). You will also need a ring, stick, pea, and a piece of cloth, all wrapped in greaseproof paper.

How to make the bread/cake:

Put the dried fruit and cherries into a bowl before pouring over it the hot tea and leaving it overnight to become nice and plump. The following morning, make sure you line the loaf tin with silicone paper before preheating the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Add the whisked egg, soft brown sugar, flour and mixed spice to the fruit and tea mixture you had soaking it all up during the night and stir well. Add the ring, stick, pea and piece of cloth, tucking them in well and ensuring they are hidden by the dough. Cook in preheated oven for about 1 and half hours, after which you should place it to cool on a wire rack in an airtight tin.

The best part? You get to enjoy this with 11 other people and have fun lookinf for the items mixed into the loaf!

What is YOUR recipe for Halloween?

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