NQN's Terrifying, Torturous Halloween Party!

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Halloween Recipes

Halloween Recipes

Now for me, Halloween is like my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one. It's that episode of the Brady Bunch when all Mrs Brady wants to do is sing at some event for Christmas but she loses her voice. So in an effort to get better I was summarily shipped off to bed by Mr NQN, this time with little protest as I was too weak to do so. I moaned, sniffled, tossed and turned, couldn't sleep because of my blocked sinuses and shivered under the blanket. You see, it's all very fun to do this for play but much less fun to do it in real life!

Halloween Recipes

But I had lots of things to do in the week leading up to my Halloween party. I wanted to pick up some cloches, those wonderfully old fashioned silver domes. My theme was an old fashioned gothic mansion. Cloches are actually quite difficult to track down so I put a shoutout on Twitter where lovely chef Luke Murray of OBar and Dining offered up theirs. They're no longer used for service so I drove in one lunchtime, made a mess of his directions and kept missing the turn to get into their loading dock.

Halloween Recipes

Around and around I went around the city and I made three "flybys" to get into the lane. I finally got there and they were absolutely worth it. They technically needed a polish because they hadn't been used in a while but they were perfect as they were for my party purposes!

Halloween Recipes

Anyway that's enough pre party jibber jabber. Take my gnarled hand and let me lead you into this year's Halloween party! But a little warning my pretties, this is a very, very long post and there are a lot of photos!

Halloween Recipes

Ventriloquist doll

The day of the party I awoke and it was a Hallowe'en miracle but I felt better. Not singing like Mrs Brady better but good enough to enjoy my party. I was busy browsing Pinterest for bottle labels when I came across a make up picture that I had pinned a while back. It was of a ventriloquist doll and I was so smitten by it again so at the last minute, I decided to change my costume and Mr NQN as my ventriloquist doll partner. I told him that if he wasn't able to find a costume he has to get dressed up as a woman so he agreed readily ;).

Halloween Recipes

Mr NQN and Fred the Dead skeleton

It's funny what you find in the top drawer of your bathroom cabinet. It turns out that I had a tube of white cream makeup from a couple of Halloween's ago. The make up is actually very easy to do provided that you have the necessary items: white cream makeup, black liquid eyeliner, black pencil eyeliner, brown eyeshadow, pink blush and red lipstick. That's all you need! The key points are the whites of the eyes, heavy brows, exaggerated eyelashes, freckles and most importantly the mouth which is actually drawn on your lips and chin. I was ready for my guests!

Halloween Recipes

Wine labels from here

Every time there was a knock at the door, I disappeared from view while Mr NQN answered the door and led them to the table of ghoulish goodies. He described the various dishes that I made and lifted a cloche here and there before lifting up the cloche in the centre which had...

Halloween Recipes

Me under it!! {Insert evil cackle here!}

I love scaring people and everyone's reactions were priceless and uniformly scared with the exception of one person (more on that later ;)). Several people did ask if we cut a hole in our table, just because that might be the sort of thing that I would do. We didn't but if you want instructions on how to scare your guests pretty then they're towards the end of the post.

Halloween Recipes

After a scare, you need to give guests something stiff to drink. Have you heard of highball glasses? How about eyeball glasses? These are eyes that were printed out using a colour photocopier. SO easy and effective and you can hide the fact that you're nothing like Martha because none of your glasses match. People will be too busy ogling the eye once they've finished the drink. Just find some scary eyes and print them out in colour and trace around the bottom of the glass and stick them around the edge with a glue that sets clear.

Halloween Recipes

Sadistic Dentist Sangria With Teeth and Eyeballs

I did a "pumpkin" juice but the Sadistic Dentist Sangria complete with teeth was the drink of choice. A few people did ask for extra "teeth"...

Halloween Recipes

Would you like something light to start with? How about some slime dip and pus with bloody corn chips? Or black bean dip with herb oil and beetroot corn chips. I prefer the more "romantic" description personally.

Halloween Recipes

Armadillo Road Kill Cake

A celebration should always have cake. Oh dear, but look what happened to this poor armadillo! It looks like he got run over. Curiously the lifelong and staunch vegetarian Tuulikki loved this cake. Ironic too because when she illustrated my book, she didn't like drawing the armadillo as a cake! This will have its own separate post in case you want to make a whole armadillo or one that has been run over. The number of emails that I get about wanting an armadillo cake is astounding.

Halloween Recipes

Maple and pumpkin donuts

Okay now for something less ghoulish! How about a maple and pumpkin baked donut?

Halloween Recipes

Kraken Rising Pie

I haven't forgotten our monsters of the deep. The kraken rising pie was filled with feta and spinach with a cyclops kraken on top!

Halloween Recipes

Beating Heart Cupcakes

Dessert was also from the kind doctor who always seems eager to perform surgery. These beating heart cupcakes will have your beloved's heart throbbing!

Halloween Recipes

Zombie Cookies

As the zombies advanced, we simply found the best way to avoid becoming one of them was to bite off their heads. Who knew that it was so easy?

Halloween Recipes

Bloody Body Parts

Oh dear, look what the mad doctor has been up to! He's been surgically removing ears and body parts and keeping them in a jar to feast upon. He always was a little odd...

Halloween Recipes

Misfortune Cookies

Don't worry if you get a bad fortune Dear Reader, you see there's no other kind in this jar!

Halloween Recipes

Bug Coleslaw

If you don't look closely at the salad, you might not notice the little ants or bugs in it. Apparently they're good for additional protein though!

Halloween Recipes

Bloody Mary Ribs

For the meat course, the mad doctor was only too happy to serve up his specialty-Bloody Mary Ribs. He assures us that Mary is the name of the pig and not a human...

Halloween Recipes

Spider Cookies

Don't you just hate it when you have an infestation of spiders? And they just will not get off your cookies? Just eat them anyway, protein is good for you!

Halloween Recipes

What's under the witch's hat? You'll just have to read on Dear Reader ;) Witches always have a trick or two in their palms...

Halloween Recipes

And if any guests dare venture into the bedroom, they would get a scare with a ghost that moans and twirls when it senses you are near! Many of the props like this were from the fabulous The Party People who have the biggest selection of Halloween items that I've seen!

Halloween Recipes

Careful of entering the kitchen!

Halloween Recipes

Onto the recipes!

Kraken Rising Pie

Halloween Recipes

In the vein of confronting some of my phobias (the open sea being one of them, which is why I'm yet to venture on a cruise), the Kraken Rising pie was a suggestion sent to me by Joanne who often sends me fantastic cooking ideas. It would feed the two vegetarians that were coming.

The base is easy-it's garlic, spinach, onion and feta and shaping the Kraken was the biggest challenge. It's easiest if you fill it with just pastry. The cyclops rising from the sea wrestling with a boat was just the finishing touch. I was really worried that this wouldn't work out but it ended up being one of my favourite items of the night. Just make sure nobody eats the boat.

  • 250g/9 ozs. fresh or frozen spinach chopped and drained
  • 200g/7 ozs Danish feta (or other creamy feta)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese (tasty, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you like)
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk extra
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 large black olive
  • a small toy boat (make sure people don't eat this)

Step 1 - Make the filling by combining the spinach, feta, onion, garlic, cheese and eggs in a food processor and process until cohesive. Grease a pie plate with butter or oil and fill with the cheese spinach filling and refrigerate until needed.

Halloween Recipes

Step 2 - Preheat the oven to 220C/428F. Thaw the pastry and with a fluted cutter roller cut out some "legs" tapering them at the end as shown-you won't need the entire sheet of pastry for the legs but save some for attaching the "eye".

Halloween Recipes

Step 3 - Then shape a head which is round. I cut out a round of pastry about 15cms/6 inches in diameter and molded the off cuts from the rest of the pastry square into a round ball to and placed the ball in the centre of the circle. Press together and shape into a head shape. Place the kraken head in the centre of the pie plate and place the legs around it positioning the legs so that it looks like it is swimming. Then cut out some pastry to make a top and bottom eyelid and make sure they fit the size of the olive. Secure the olive to the pastry and "glue" the eyelids on with the egg yolk. Brush the rest of the pastry with the egg yolk. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

Halloween Recipes

Step 3 - Place the toy boat somewhere amongst its legs.

Bug Coleslaw

Halloween Recipes

It's slightly ironic that I made this bug coleslaw as I'm inveterately scared of bugs. The only kinds that I don't mind are those tiny spiders that are known as money or luck spiders and ladybugs. This isn't quite as scary, the black sesame seeds perhaps resemble more ants than actual bugs but I wanted a salad or healthy option to serve (and if you have kids, ghoulifying anything might make it instantly more appealing).

Instead of having a traditional creamy mayonnaise based dressing, this is a honey pepper dressing I found on Marissa's blog recently. It's a beautifully light egg-free alternative, and the coleslaw is a very distant cousin to a German coleslaw but with a distinctly Asian flavour to it. I think bitter salad vegetables would also be perfect for this divine dressing.

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 2 teaspoons black sesame or nigella seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil

Step 1 - Finely slice the cabbage and toss with the green onion and black sesame seeds. Mix the garlic, honey, rice wine vinegar, black pepper, salt and olive oil in a jug making sure to whisk well as the honey tends to settle on the bottom. Just before serving, shake the dressing well and add to the sliced cabbage and toss this together.

Body Part Dumplings

Halloween Recipes

I saw this all over Pinterest and I thought that it was brilliant because a) they look grotesque and b) it was a great savoury food option and c) everyone loves dumplings. There's always plenty of sweets at Halloween but often not enough savoury ideas. I actually used my mum's wonton recipe for these but I've given simple instructions for using bought dumplings too as you can certainly use those to great effect. If people complain that they're not home made, you can just say that these were the body parts of the last guests that complained ;)

  • 2 packets of dumplings (won tons are good or anything very folded over looking)
  • 2 tablespoons chilli sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chilli oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce

Step 1 - Cook the dumplings in plenty of boiling water until they rise to the surface.

Halloween Recipes

Step 2 - Meanwhile mix the chilli sauce with both soy sauces and chilli oil in a large bowl that can fit all of the dumplings. Remove the dumplings from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl with the chilli sauce and mix together so that the dumplings are totally coated.

Bloody Mary Ribs

Halloween Recipes

A couple of days before the party I went to buy ribs from the butcher. I took a look at the front cabinet and saw the pork spare ribs and the American baby back ribs but neither were exactly what I was looking for. I asked the butcher whether he had other pork ribs wink wink.

"You're not after beef ribs or lamb ribs?" the young, eager butcher asked smiling. He looked so freshly scrubbed and pink hued from the lights.

"No, definitely pork. I wanted something more...umm human looking" I said for lack of a better description.

Oh yes Dear Reader, if you ever want to see a butcher's face pale and his eyes look around to call for security, just ask if they have any meat that resembles human.

All I meant of course is that I wanted those thick, large pork ribs over the baby back ribs for maximum grotesque effect. His colleague found the ribs I was looking for-they're called "full ribs" and the butcher went on to be none the wiser as I didn't really explain why I wanted human looking ribs. I'm sure I'll get served by someone else next time...

  • 2.5kgs/5.5lbs full pork ribs (you can also use American baby back ribs)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, bashed and peeled
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • A few shakes of Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup redcurrant jelly
  • 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
  • Salt and Pepper

Step 1 - Marinate the ribs overnight in a baking tray with the onion, garlic, tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Turn over a few times if necessary. You can also do this in a zip lock bag if you have sturdy zip locks but mine kept breaking as this is quite a liquid marinade and the ribs are big. You know, human size ;)

Halloween Recipes

Step 2 - Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with sides with a couple of layer of foil (this is to save up on cleaning later). Place the ribs and the marinade meat side down and bake for 40 minutes.

Halloween Recipes

Step 3 - Mix the jelly and sweet chilli sauce together. Take ribs out of oven and place the ribs meaty side up. Brush with the jelly or chilli jam and bake for another 25 minutes basting two or three times during this time. Season with salt and pepper and extra Tabasco if you want it super spicy.

Slime Dip With Pus AKA Frijokes Negros

I have to admit that I was hoping that this would end up darker in colour than it actually did. It's a recipe for Frijoles Negros, a black turtle bean dip from Mexico from an e-book called Food For The Dead by Sean Callinan (a colleague of Mr NQN's). It didn't specify whether the beans were dried or tinned but the cooking time indicated that they were dried.

Halloween Recipes

There was also no mention of soaking them overnight which is really necessary to avoid undesirable digestion "issues" and to allow for better absorption of nutrients so I've adapted the recipe. The black turtle beans were found at Fiji Markets and also at the IGA in Marrickville and in other "ethnic friendly" suburbs. I almost hate using that term because it sounds like it should come out of the mouth of someone much less ethnic than me like Martha Stewart.

  • 1.5 cups dried black turtle beans
  • oil for frying
  • 3 rashers middle bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 birds eye chilli or jalapeno chilli
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Finely chopped herbs steeped in oil for "pus"
  • Red corn chips to serve

Step 1 - Place beans in a very large bowl and cover with 6 cups of cold water. Soak overnight.

Step 2 - Rinse the beans very well until the water runs clear. Then place in a large pot or pressure cooker and cover with water and cook for 1 hour. I didn't have time so I made these in the pressure cooker, cooking them for 15 minutes on medium pressure.

Step 3 - Drain the beans and then heat a large cast iron pot on medium to high heat. Fry the bacon, onion and garlic in a tablespoon of oil until fragrant. Add the beans, beef stock and chilli and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4 - Take a stick blender and process it until it becomes a dip like consistency. Serve hot or cold and when plating up, add a little green herb oil. I forgot to do this for the photos-oops!

Sadistic Dentist Sangria

Halloween Recipes

The next time I'm going to visit my dentist I'll think of this. Oh hang on, that will probably make it worse. This sangria looks a little like blood especially when you have teeth floating in it. I was originally going to use those fabulous tooth lollies from childhood. It turns out that they're not easy to buy anymore but you can find them in a mix pack of "retro lollies." And that just makes me feel old. Then the teeth lollies sunk to the bottom so I went with plan B, carving them out of apples using a small paring knife. This is a really easy three ingredient sangria that is full of flavour.

  • 3 cups sarsaparilla
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • teeth fashioned out of carving a large, peeled apple also make a couple of eyeballs using a melon baller

Step 1 - Mix all of the ingredients together. Add the teeth and eyeballs in and they will float to the top.

Spider Cookies

Halloween Recipes

Isn't it funny how everyone has their phobias. For me, I can't even look at a snake while for others it's rats or spiders. So you don't see many snake items here on the blog but I'm quite okay with spiders unless they're large and hairy.

Halloween Recipes

This is another item that Joanne sent me and I thought that it sounded fantastic. Apparently all you need to do is drag a toothpick from the melted chocolate disc to make legs. That sounded fine but when I did it, all I got was scratchings from the toothpick and there was no way that I could draw legs. Slightly alarmed in an OCD way that I would have less than my lucky number of 13 items, I didn't want to give up. So I used a chocolate writing pen and red writing icing to make legs and eyes and I hope that they look like spiders - make that evil spiders! The cookies are fabulous, they're based on the Bill Granger cookies which are similar to those soft, chocolatey Mrs Fields cookies.

  • 125g/4 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (large round ones) plus some extra, just in case you need to top the cookie with one
  • Brown or chocolate icing pen and a red icing pen

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 160C/320F. Line two baking trays with parchment.

Step 2 - Beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until incorporated. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Then lastly fold in the chocolate chips.

Step 3 - For large cookies, take a heaped tablespoon of dough and roll them into balls. Stick an extra chocolate round on top. Place them four on a tray and bake for 16 minutes. Check after about 10 minutes to see if there's a chocolate round on top (for the spider's body). If not, place one on top.

Step 4 - Remove from oven and then cool. Draw the legs with a chocolate or brown icing pen. Draw two small red dots for eyes.

Witch's Hat Ice Cream Cones

Halloween Recipes

I remember one year bringing out some ice cream towards the ed of the night when we were playing games and that seemed to be a welcome refreshment for people. I didn't have any use for a bag of these cones which quite frankly taste like styrofoam by themselves. But like bacon improves almost anything, chocolate does too and I decided to coat them in chocolate.

I then spied the enormous bag of red velvet crumbs that I had leftover from making the armadillo cake and decided to do a version of my carrot cake ice cream. Except this would be called "Red Velvet and Blood Clot Ice Cream." So in answer to what is under the witch's hat? It's filled with blood clot ice cream!

  • 16 small cones with a "brim" or edge to them
  • 200g/7 ozs dark or bittersweet chocolate
  • 25g copha or coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups cream
  • 3 tablespoons icing or powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup red velvet cake
  • Cherry jam

Step 1 - Melt chocolate and copha or coconut oil in a double boiler or in a microwave. Line a baking tray with parchment. Dip the outside of the cones in the chocolate, allow the chocolate to drip off as much as possible and allow to set completely. I decorated these with little bats that Charlie gave me as a gift.

Halloween Recipes

Step 2 - Whip the cream until soft peaks form and add the icing or powdered sugar. Mix in the crumbled red velvet cake and swirl through the cherry jam.

Halloween Recipes

Step 3 - With a teaspoon, fill the cones with the ice cream mixture and freeze.

The Road kill Armadillo, Maple Pumpkin Donuts, Beating Heart Cupcakes will come up in a separate post soon and of course if you want to make the Zombie Cookies or Misfortune Cookies are linked.

How to construct the "surprise" table:

Halloween Recipes

I know that I seem over the top but even I would hesitate to cut through my actual table. So if you have one of those extendable tables, you can make it a "surprise" table by unscrewing the hinges leaving the centre section open. Then get some sturdy ply board and tape securely to the table and each other making sure to leave the space for your head. The other part of this is the cloche and you'll need one big enough for your head and of course someone to "assist" you with enacting the whole scenario. It's worth it for the reaction I promise (although probably not worth cutting a square into your table ;)).

Halloween Recipes

One by one, the guests filed in. Some made a dramatic entrance such as Mr NQN's sister Amaya who knocked on the door as the wolf from Red Riding Hood. Amaya who is actually pregnant reclined on the lounge dramatically declaring herself full from eating.

Halloween Recipes

Shortly after came Tuulikki as Little Red Riding Hood. I was under the table at this point and dying to know what was happening because everyone was giggling.

Halloween Recipes

Then came thunderous banging as Laporello beat on the door so hard that I could feel it from my hideout under the table. I had no idea that it was him and I actually thought that it was a neighbour annoyed by our party noise.

Dramatically Laporello ran in wielding an axe. He was the axe man saving Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf. Little did I know this and all I heard was lots of laughter and rounds of applause which made staying under the table difficult. I'm a meerkat and I definitely like to poke my head about and see what's going on.

Halloween Recipes

Of course guests had to have their photo taken and there was nowhere better than in the kissing booth! Alas our kisser has seen better days but it didn't stop anyone from smooching with Fred the Dead! Here was our first guest Tania as a vampire complete with bloody fangs.

Halloween Recipes

The Girl Next Door came as a belly dancer-don't worry she is fully qualified to do this having done years of lessons.

Halloween Recipes

Teena and Annabel arrived as a hungry vampire and a pumpkin. Annabel it must be noted didn't flinch whatsoever when I jumped out from under the table. I think I'm known as the crazy auntie who goes nuts once a year.

Halloween Recipes

Here's Louise as a witch - we didn't get her legs in the photo but she had red and white striped stockings and shoes just like in the Wizard of Oz.

Halloween Recipes

Viggo was an elaborately dressed vampire who managed to be intelligible even with fangs.

Halloween Recipes

Carl and Charlie came as Elvis and Kitty Cat. They seemed to take a real liking to Fred the Dead.

Halloween Recipes

And of course Amaya, Laporello and Tuulikki as the trio that stole the show with their act. It did occur to me while planning "the surprise" that if I scared Amaya too much, she might go into labour. She didn't! Phew...

Halloween Recipes

I know it makes me sound a little intense but I have been known to utter the phrase "Commit to the costume!" several times. I always appreciate a good costume and Miss America and Queen Viv always put a lot of thought into their Halloween outfits.

Halloween Recipes

Queen Viv is an excellent seamstress whipping up her Voodoo Priestess dress freehand but my favourite part were the chicken bones. Yes they were real dried and painted chicken bones! In fact Miss America's jacket is "four roast's worth!" according to two of my favourite co-conspirators who ate a lot of chicken in the pursuit of these bones.

Halloween Recipes

Julie arrived as a heart eating zombie. Hopefully she enjoyed the heart cupcakes!

Halloween Recipes

While Elly arrived as the Queen of Hearts and found herself a new boyfriend.

Halloween Recipes

People mingled and ate and of course I did forget something-I forgot to put out plates. Oops!Thankfully Voodoo Priestess Queen Viv conjured some up.

Halloween Recipes

Carl gave us his wonderful Elvis and Frank Sinatra version of "My Way" giving us some of the evening's musical entertainment.

Halloween Recipes

Girl Next Door improvises

And then it was game time! One game that we like to play is the winking murder game. One person draws a slip of paper that says that they are the murderer. Over the course of the evening, they then have to wink at people and the winkee has two minutes to find a place in which to dramatically die.

Halloween Recipes

Prizes would be awarded for the most dramatic death, the last person standing and the murderer if they managed to escape capture. Which gave rise to some very dramatic deaths like Laporello's electrocution death and Charlie's fit. And you would not believe who was the murderer...

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Tuulikki following Viggo and trying to catch his eye for about ten minutes. Much to everyone's amusement

Mr NQN's mum Tuulikki! Alas Tuulikki decided that she would kill everyone in about twenty minutes. She would not so subtly walk around to people, catch their eye and then wink at them. No matter how much we tried to explain that the murderer has to remain anonymous she followed people like Viggo doggedly pursuing them trying to stare into their eyes.

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Charlie's chocolate spiders

She was unaware that we were all watching her and oblivious to all of the good natured laughter. I didn't want to meet her eyes but she cunningly took a photo of her winking and put it on her phone and said that she wanted to show me something...The last one standing was Tania who covered her face with her bat winged sleeves. The winking game was followed by a game of scary themed charades (where even the tax office rated a mention) and the last of the visitors flew off on their broomsticks at 1:30am...

As a loquacious ventriloquist dummy, I'd like to thank you for being such delightful guests and coming with me on my tour of the gothic mansion!

Love and creepy chills,

Lorraine,

xxx

So tell me Dear Reader, will you be celebrating Halloween this year? Have you ever trick or treated? And what time is your witching hour (or the time that you usually stay at parties until).

Halloween Recipes