Halloween and I don’t get on because it involves people knocking repeatedly at my door. I am fairly welcoming, but only by appointment. People dropping by unannounced give me hives.
When we lived in London I almost never answered my doorbell. It was London. It could only be a murderer or rapist at my door, or worse, one of those tedious people conducting a Mori poll. I only made that mistake once and forced the guy to do the survey on the doorstep. I couldn’t let him in because of the London-murderer-rapist thing.
Then we moved to the suburbs and it was worse. Neighbours actually wanted to speak to us and appeared willy nilly at my door.
It all reached a peak one Halloween night. Kids in rubbish costumes came and chanted “Trick or Treat” in a bored, lacklustre way. It was only because their anxious Mums were loitering at the end of my drive that I didn’t make them do it all over again and this time with feeling.
By the third or fourth round of kids, it was getting late and I had reached my limit. So had my son who had done a spectacular crap in his nappy and needed to be in bed. I opted for changing him in the hall and my poppet started his usual nappy change routine of full throttle screaming and kicking.
Right in the middle of it, the doorbell started to ring. My daughters pranced around in crazed excitement, “Ooo Mummy! Answer the door! Give them sweets!” My son screamed repeatedly, kicking and splattering shit everywhere.
And still the door kept coming.
Up to my elbows in child dung, I looked up from the nappy and gave the primal scream of a woman giving birth to triplets in breech position.
“GOOO AWWAAAYYYY!!! I WILL NOT OPEN THE DOOORRRRRRR!” I held the final note for a long, satisfying time, until my voice cracked.
I waited for the dog turd to come through my letter box or the brick to shatter my window. Nothing. These Trick or Treaters are all face paint and no action.
And miraculously the doorbell did not ring again. For years.
This Halloween will of course be different. We have just moved to a teeny village and I’m all jazz hands and smiles with the neighbours. Although I did decline an invitation to a two course lunch with the vicar.
So I will open the door and hand out sweeties. I’m really hoping the costumes have gone up a gear now that we are importing cheap tat from Bangladesh.
And if I’m feeling generous, I may hand over one of these Halloween Cake Bites. But I suspect I shall keep them all for me. I will need something to help me recover after hours of smiling fixedly while crappy kids repeatedly ring my arsing doorbell.
Happy Halloween to you all.
Halloween Cake Bites
These are riffing off my Christmas cake bites, you can see how the inside looks by clicking here.
All versions will need:
130g dairy free spread/margarine
110g golden syrup or honey
60g GF, DF cocoa powder
150 ml rice milk / dairy milk (for GF versions, remember liquid measurements are approximate. Always add liquid gradually, using more or less as you see fit)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g brown rice flour
25g buckwheat/quinoa/tapioca flour
¾ tsp xanthan gum
1½ tsp GF baking powder
Egg version / Egg free version
1 egg OR:
1 heaped tsp of Orgran no egg Egg Replacer
1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds
⅛ tsp xanthan gum (that’s half a ¼ if you’re as thick as me...)
2 tbsps vegetable oil
4 tbsps rice milk/dairy milk/
To make these with wheat flour:
Use 175g wholemeal, self-raising flour
To bind the cake balls:
3-4 tbsps gluten free apple sauce (a GF apple sauce for weaning babies would do)
(If you can’t find a jar of apple sauce, use 2 eating apples, 2-3 tbsps sugar, squeeze of lemon juice. Peel, core, chop apples and put them in a saucepan, add sugar, lemon juice and a tbsp of water. Cover and simmer until apple is cooked. Blend with a hand blender, add a tsp of cornflour to bind it all together, blend again to remove any lumps)
Sugarpaste in halloween colours
• For egg free versions: mix the Orgran no egg powder, ground linseeds, xanthan gum, oil and rice milk together using a mini whisk. Set aside
• Grease and line two 18cm sandwich tins with baking parchment
• Pre-heat oven to 170˚celsius
• Put the fat and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat together
• Add either the egg or the egg replacing mixture and beat again
• Add the flour (GF or wheat), baking powder, xanthan gum (GF versions) and cocoa powder to the bowl and beat until incorporated
• Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the warmed 150ml of rice milk/dairy milk and gradually stir in to the mixture. For GF versions you may need to add more milk to get a soft, dropping consistency
• Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and bake for about 20-25 minutes until risen and springy. Remove and leave to cool completely
• When the cakes are cool, crumble them into a large mixing bowl. Add the apple sauce and combine until you are able to squidge the mixture into balls, you may need more apple sauce
• Lovingly roll little balls of cake in your hands and set them onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Place the baking tray in the fridge for up to four hours
Roll out your sugarpaste and decorate your cake balls. As you can see, not much skill is involved and you can pretty much do what you want. For the ghosts I covered their nether regions with a small circle of sugarpaste, then laid a 'cloak' of icing over the top and squidged it all together. It does help to have some confectioner's glue to stick eyes, hats and noses, etc. At a pinch you might get away with apricot jam
If you make a real mess of it all, don't worry, the kids will love them (these ghosts were demolished within minutes of the photo shoot) and once you've eaten one and got the sugar rush, well you really won't care
Good luck, with the decorating and Halloween...
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