Trick or treat, which will you choose this Halloween 2019 for the ancient Celtic festival Samhain? As the month of Shorot (in the 6 seasoned Bangladesh), leaves us with dazzling evening skies and a slight nip in the air tells us winter is approaching, I thought of some Halloween dishes you can conjure up and feel relentlessly macabre while serving your guests. So carve out that pumpkin, hunt out all the scary masks you have and bring the grisly to your dining table!
After the Romans had long left England, the Celtic Samhain, which actually means “summer’s end” merged with the Roman festival celebrating end of season in honor of the goddess of harvesting, Pomona, celebrated on 1st November. The Celts continued with the tradition of celebrating this time of the year where people stocked up for the upcoming winter. But this was also a time when spirits of the deceased ancestors were thought to visit the living and warding them off meant villagers wore scary masks or dressed up as ghouls. However by 835 CE (current era), the Roman Catholic Church made November 1 an official holiday and called it the feast of all Saints and Souls. A special cake called the “soul cake” was baked and now, the spirits were not warded off, but homage was paid to the “saints” instead. And thus came the word Halloween or “all hallows eve”. Preparations for Halloween 2019 begin now…
The witch’s brew: Beetroot soup
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble (Shakespear’s Macbeth)
- 2 beetroots boiled and mashed
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 1 stalk of lemon grass
- Pinch of: rock salt, pepper, rosemary & thyme
- Lemon to squeeze afterwards
- 2 Tbs olive oil
After mashing the boiled beetroot, sautee the diced garlic in olive oil for about half a minute before adding the rosemary and sautee for upto 10 seconds then add thyme for a few seconds and add the beetroot mash and lemon grass. Cook it for about 2 minutes then add rock salt and pepper and stir for up to one more minute. Take out lemon grass stalks and serve.
Serving: Squeeze half a lemon or according to your taste and add a few mint leaves before serving hot.
Health Focus on beetroot: Rich in Calcium, iron, Vitamins A & C, beetroots are the wondrous antioxidant that also improve blood circulation, improve functions of the liver and are a super food for pregnant women!
Chicken Mince Spaghetti With Dried Plums & Bombai Morich: A Halloween 2019 special!
The Worms Crawl In,
The Worms Crawl Out,
Into your stomach,
And out your mouth.
They eat your
They scramble your heart.
Now you feel like
You’re all apart.
This is how
It is to die
You end up looking
Like apple pie! (The Hearse Song)
- 250 grams Chicken mince
- 250 gms packet of spaghetti
- Half cup dried plums
- 1 or 2 Bombai Morich (according to the amount of spice you want to add to your life!)
- 1 tbs tomato paste or 4 large tomatoes, skin removed and blended
- 3 Tbs beetroot blended
- 2 carrots diced into small pieces
- 2 larg onions diced
- 5 cloves large garlic diced
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- Pinch of: rosemary, basil, celery and dill.
- Half a cup of Olive Oil
Sautee the onions till transparent then add the garlic and cook another minute. In another pot boil the chicken with half cup of water and celery and the garlic paste till water dries out. Add this to the onions and sautee till the chicken turns reddish. Add rosemary, carrots, plums, finely diced bombai morich and cook for upto 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes then add the beetroot and cook for another 5 minutes. In the last minute add the basil and dill.
Boil spaghetti separately with 1 tbs olive oil and pinch of salt.
Mix the spaghetti with the chicken and add diced olives and mint leaves before serving. Cut out eyes and a ghoulish mouth on large capsicums and have the spaghetti fall out of the capsicums like worms on a plate and wow the kids!
The Ghoul’s Potion: Beetroot Juice with Lemon
Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son! Flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed, you will revive your master. Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe.” (Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire)
- One whole beetroot, raw and blended finely
- Half a lemon
- 1 Tsp brown sugar (optional)
- Pinch of rock salt (optional)
Pour the blended beetroot in a glass and add enough ice or water to give it a juicy consistency. Squeeze the juice of the half lemon in it and for a super healthy antioxidant rush, your drink is ready so just gulp it down! It will totally wake your senses. However if dealing with children or guests who may not be looking for a complete healthy makeover, feel free to add the sugar and salt to add some more flavor to this natural antioxidant drink. You may also boil the beetroot then blend and make it into a juice. However for its complete health benefits do stick with the raw beetroot routine.
Serving: Serve it chilled
Health Focus beetroot Juice: Bid adieu to high blood pressure, starting this Halloween 2019 and anemia with beetroot juice. Known as a super food, this juice contains antioxidants, minerals and vitamins and above all, the red color from betacyanin prevents colon cancer.
Frogspawn: Pandan Flavored Tapioca Pearls with Coconut Cream
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.” (The Book of Exodus)
- Half Cup Pandan flavored Tapioca pearls
- 3 times the water
- Half cup brown sugar
- 2 cardamoms
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- Drop of Kewra
- Optional (4 tbs honey with few drops of lemon juice)
Boil half cup pearls in enough water to fill it up thrice. Boil for about 20 minutes till they r absolutely transparent. Drain the pearls and collect any water separately. Use this water to make a sugar syrup on the side with the cardamom and a drop of Kewra, or dilute a bit of honey with a drop of lemon juice. Use canned coconut cream or simply take coconut milk n whisk it up a lot.
Serve it chilled this Halloween 2019. In a serving bowl spoon in some tapioca pearls then pour the syrup on it and add dollop of cream on the side. Mix it up and gulp it down!
Health Focus Pandan: Did you know that the essence kewra actually comes from the Pandan leaf? The oils of this varied leaf are extracted to help relieve pains like headache, ear aches, chest pains and even fevers.
Images courtesy the Daily Star Lifestyle magazine, prepared in The fearless Olive’s kitchen.
This article appeared in my column in 2014.