With October half term comes Halloween and the excitement of fancy dress, face painting and trick or treating. Let’s face it, routines fall slightly by the wayside at some point during this spooktacular holiday. Along with Christmas, Easter and birthdays, Halloween offers the ideal excuse for those extra foodie ‘treats’, usually in the form of sugar laden sweets and all manner of chocolatey creations! And, there is no reason why children shouldn’t have the odd (trick-or) treat day. However, that being said, the mention of ‘Halloween’ can give those mini opportunists the ammunition to use this special occasion to their advantage.
I personally like the age-old saying of ‘everything in moderation’.Whilst ‘treats’ are of course absolutely allowed, it is also important to also try and create some healthy homemade alternatives. If you put your creative talents to the test and make the food you are serving, look fun, you can even use this holiday to your advantage and an opportunity to encourage little ones to give new healthy foods a go.
Halloween is also a fantastic excuse to get your ghosts and ghouls away from screen-time and instead, get creative in the kitchen! Children of all ages can benefit from spending time as your very own mini sous-chef. From peeling to grating, mixing and rolling, there are lots of simple tasks for tiny hands andHalloween is the ideal time to get started!
You’ll stand a good chance of instilling a love of good, healthy food when preparing simple meals together from scratch. It doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. Some Mummy Muffins(with hidden grated pumpkin) or mini Bat Cookiesare a good place to start. Not only is this a fantastic way to spend some quality time together and an opportunity to teach them new skills but it will also do the job of making them understand that treats not readily available to have every day.
There isn’t a ‘best before’ date on learning how to cook and whilst starting young equips children with the knowledge and skill to make good food choices as they grow-up, it’s never too late to learn good habits.
So, here a few of my favourite fiendishly fun treats to conjure up this Halloween.
Magic up your very own pizza ‘fright night’ with my Spooky Pizza recipe. You can get the whole family involved in creating their own homemade pizzas. Mini chefs will love to help you make the dough, cut out mozzarella ghosts and salami bats and decorate with olive spiders.
Prep: 2hr 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Makes: 1 pizza
275g strong bread flour
2 tsp dried fast action yeast
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp olive oil
150 – 175 ml water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
6 slices salami
250g block mozzarella
1. First make the dough. Measure the flour, yeast, salt, oil and water into a mixing bowl. Mix together using a spoon. Turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes until you have a smooth shiny dough. Place in an oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
2. Meanwhile to make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sundried tomato paste and basil. Leave to cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C Fan. Knead the dough, then roll out to a large 30cm circle. Place on a baking sheet or round pizza tray. Spread the sauce over the base.
4. Stamp out salami bats and mozzarella ghosts using Halloween cutters. Make spiders out of the black olives.
5. Put the olive spiders and salami bats onto the pizza. Bake for 15 minutes until nearly cooked, then add the pizza ghosts and put back into the oven for 4 to 5 minutes until just melted (don’t leave too long or the mozzarella will spread too much ) and the edges of the pizza are golden brown.
It’s obvious but vegetables are a smart way to snack, however sometimes they need a little livening up to appeal to hungry tots. Interestingly, children who don’t like cooked veggies will often eat them raw. Cut up some batons of cucumber, carrot and red pepper or some naturally sweet sugar snaps to have on the side with this tasty guacamole dip. Kids will also love creating their very own wicked witch characters, and it’s a great way to get them eating their greens – I promise, even the most ardent veggie hater will be back for more!
Prep: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 ghoulish guacamole boats
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp parsley chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
Purple tortilla chips
1. Measure all of the guacamole ingredients into a bowl and season to taste. Blend using a stick blender until you have a thick smooth consistency.
2. Serve the guacamole in the scooped out avocado shells and decorate to create your witches faces.
CHOCOLATE ORANGE ENERGY BALL BATS
These ‘chocolate truffles’ replace butter, cream and chocolate with dates, cashew nuts and cocoa powder and will be the perfect fuel to keep energy levels up ready for trick or treating! The dried fruit contains fibre and iron, nuts provide all-important omega 3s and oats help release energy slowly throughout the day.
(If you can resist) keep some balls decoration-free in the fridge for post-Halloween as these are ideal to take out and about with you, and a healthy snack the whole family will love.
Prep: 30 minutes
Makes: 15-20 bats
160g cashew nuts
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp orange extract
White chocolate chips
Black icing pen
1. Measure all of the ingredients including 4 tbsp of boiling water into a food processor. Whiz together until the mixture is finely chopped and well blended.
2. Shape into 15 to 20 balls.
3. Roll one third into coconut, one third into cocoa powder and one third into chocolate sprinkles.
4. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm. Make eyes out of chocolate chips and eyeballs from the black icing pen.
5. Slice an Oreo cookie in half and scrape away the filling. Break the cookie in half to make 2 wings and insert into the side of the energy ball. Break small pieces of cookie to make the noses.
For lots more recipe inspiration and advice, visit www.annabelkarmel.com.