After taking 2010 off, we were back with a vengeance for Halloween 2011! This year was our eighth party, and it was bigger and better than ever. More than forty guests packed into our house to show off their costumes, sample our spooky food, and have some fun. Most of these photographs were taken by Jonathan Feldman and myself, with a few from Jamie Griego, David Edgar, and Jane Matlock as well. Thank you to the photographers, and to everybody who came along!
Here’s the only wideshot I can find of the food table, and it doesn’t even include everything! On the savoury side we had: Hot & Smoky Baked Beans (made vegetarian and cooked in the crockpot all day); Deviled Eggs; Shooter’s Sandwiches; Meat Pies; Guacamole & Veggies; and Devils on Horseback. On the sweet side we had: Shoo-fly Pies; Witches’ Finger Cookies, Nuts and Bolts; Fairy Bread; Panna Cotta Brain; Pumpkin Pie Pavlova, Eggs of Newt drink, and Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream (floated in the Snook’s homebrew). Oh, and we made a Meat Head. Yes, seriously.
The Snook has made Shooter’s Sandwiches for the last few parties. Each consists of a hollowed out bread loaf filled with savoury yumminess. There’s a mix of mushrooms and shallots, along with a rump steak for the carnivores. After he makes them, he weights them down so they get squished flat. They always go fast!
We know from experience that deviled eggs are a huge crowd pleaser. This year we experimented with a more gourmet recipe, and they turned out really well. As usual, we dyed them in wacky colours to make them a bit more spooky.
These are Devils on Horseback, an old school appetizer from back in the day. Ours consist of pitted dates stuffed with parmesan, wrapped in bacon, and baked in the oven. Everybody loves these!
I saw this recipe for Shoo-fly Pie several weeks ago and thought: “Hey, if we decorate them with plastic flies, that’s kind of gross!” So that’s what we did. Shoo-fly pie is a traditional Amish pie involving molasses and baking soda. We subbed treacle for the molasses, and we dropped a few currants on each one to look like more flies! One recipe easily made 48 mini pies. (We used pre-made pastry cases. We’re not insane.)
Fairy Bread is an Australian crowd pleaser. Nutritionally-devoid white bread with the crusts cut off, spread with butter and covered in seasonally-appropriate sprinkles. Yum.
This is Martha Stewart’s Eggs of Newt. It’s sort of like an alcoholic bubble tea! You boil up tapioca (sago) and then mix it with lemon juice, sugar syrup, and Cointreau. I just did it because I thought it would look ooky on the table. People actually did drink and enjoy it though! (My tapioca continued to swell for hours, so it got thicker and thicker as the night wore on.)
Everybody expects the Panna Cotta Brain, and we do not like to disappoint. We topped this one with whizzed up canned strawberries.
I had a dream of making the ultimate American-Australian hybrid dessert: the Pumpkin Pie Pavlova (PDF recipe). The Snook was skeptical, saying that a sweet topping plus sweet meringue would be sickly. But I persevered, and it was AWESOME. Even the Snook admitted it. People ate the whole darn thing! I topped it with real whipped cream to which I’d added maple syrup. Yum.
I always make these finger cookies, and every year they disappoint me. I just can’t keep them from spreading! I even chilled the dough overnight. Anyway, I decided it was easiest to just call them “Dragons’ Claws” and not stress. They were tasty.
We always try to have something dramatic as a centerpiece, and Meat Head has been on our wish list for years. We finally made it happen. After the Snook carefully disinfected a plastic skull, he painted it with red currant jelly and popped some pickled onions in for eyes. Then we covered it in thinly sliced ham, using more jelly to hold the layers together. It was the most disturbing thing we’ve ever made, and the guests LOVED it. A few even tried a piece of ham as the evening wore on! Massive success.
And now on to the guest pictures!