Sunday, October 30, 2016

Spooky Halloween Goodies

Here are some fun ways to get cooking with Halloween.

Try my Halloween Witch Finger Cookies - You can find the recipe here.

Get creative with fondant by decorating some cupcakes. There are so many tutorials and ideas on the web. I had great fun making these one year for Halloween. 

Make some healthy gut friendly gummies for the kids...

I use this recipe by the IQS team. For these ones I substituted frozen mango for the kiwi fruit.I found the pumpkin silicon molds at my local Coles for $2 each. Whilst they came out a bit wonky I thought they still fit in perfectly with the Halloween theme. 

Finally, try a slice of my Halloween Pumpkin Pie.

If you prefer something a little more alcoholic the team at Carnival Cruises have some great Halloween cocktail ideas here.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween Fun

I am super excited as I am about to spend my first Halloween in the U.S.A. Its going to be ghastly and ghoulish and so much fun.

To help get me into the spirit I have been decorating at home. Here are a few fun ideas that you too can create at home. It's especially fun for the kids.

The team at Carnival Cruises have come up with a fantastic array of Halloween decorations ' to die for'. My favourite is this table centre piece - its super easy to replicate by simply cutting spooky shapes and critters out of black cardboard. You can pick up some up at your local newsagent or Officeworks. 

And who doesn't love a lolly snake or two?!

Image source: Carnival Cruises

If you are like me and think carving pumpkins looks too hard (and dangerous) why not try this great Halloween inspired idea instead...

Image source: HGTV
Paint the pumpkin black, add cardboard ears which you can secure with blu-tack, some white & black paint for the eyes and pipe cleaners  or similar for the cat's whiskers. 

Image Source: Better Homes & Gardens

My local $2 shop has bags and bags of Halloween cobweb. Add some to an old upside-down umbrella, twist around furniture or place around objects on your dining table for that spooky web look. Add a few plastic spiders and critters for some extra spooky fun.

Have a great Halloween everyone. Stay in touch via Instagram for my latest Halloween adventures.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pumpkin Pie for Halloween

There are just two weeks left until Halloween and you only need to stroll down to your local supermarket to realise Halloween in Australia is getting bigger and more exciting each year as more of us embrace this largely American tradition.

I'm working with Carnival Cruises in the lead up to this year's Halloween to bring you a series of spooky Halloween recipes. They too have some great Halloween treat ideas.

On to the pie! 

I have made this pumpkin pie a number of times now and it's delicious. I have tweaked it a number of times with regard to the spices I use and I like this combo the best.It is super easy to make and great if you need whip up something to take for dessert. Being able to buy the store made pastry shells makes it all the more appealing when I am strapped for time. 

( Adapted from Curtis Stone's Pumpkin Pie Recipe)

Makes 2 x standard size pies (store bought shells) or 1 x large deep dish pie.

butter for greasing
2 x large store bought sweet pastry pie shells ( approx 20-25cm diameter) 
1 x 1.1- to 1.4-kg butternut or similar sweet pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs 
1/2 cup brown sugar ( substitute for coconut sugar if you are avoiding refined sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans

to serve
Whipped or dollop cream 

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. 

Toss pumpkin in oil, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and arrange the mixture in an even layer on a baking tray that has been sprayed with a little cooking oil.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until soft and golden brown. 

Once cooked, blend the hot pumpkin in a food processor until a smooth puree forms. You can add a little of the cream if you need to to help the pumpkin blend. Set aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs and then add the brown sugar and salt.

Add the cooled pumpkin puree and whisk to blend well. 

Whisk in the ( remaining) cream, and pour pumpkin mixture into the prepared crust(s).

Carefully place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the filling is just set and the crust is pale golden brown. The center will still look wet and a knife inserted about 1 inch/2.5 cm from the sides of the pan will come out almost clean.

Transfer the delicious pie to a rack and cool completely. 

to prepare praline topping
Heat a heavy large pan over medium heat until it is hot.

Sprinkle sugar evenly over the base of the pan and cook until it melts. Add the nuts and coat with the sugar syrup,tossing until the syrup turns golden brown and the nuts start to clump together. 

Transfer nuts to a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool.

Once cool, break up the nuts into chunks and place in an airtight container until you are ready to serve the pie.

to serve
Top each slice of pie with a dollop of cream and a few candied nuts.