Monday, 31 October 2011
Welcome Ghosts and Ghoulies to All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween as it is commonly called! It was not all that big over in the UK when I first moved over here, but it is gaining in popularity all the time. Some people even decorate for it now.
I used to love it when we would visit America around this time of year and see all the decorating and trouble people would go to. Gardens would be festooned with goblins and ghosts and spider webs and such. It was a really big deal.
I loved going Trick or Treating as a child. Great thought would go into my costume each year, which would first be worn at school in the afternoon for our annual school Halloween Party and then again that night for trick or treating (that is if halloween happened to fall on a school day)! We would be to excited and could hardly wait to go out that night. It was all my mother could do to get us to eat our suppers, but the rule was . . . no trick or treating until we had!
I can remember feeling very anxious as other children started to go about knocking on the doors, whilst we were still eating out dinner . . . I was always afraid that the candy would run out before we would have a chance to go out and about! It was inevitable each year that some people would be out of candy by the time we got there, but we always got plenty nonetheless. It was not unsual for us to call on a hundred houses and our bags would be filled to overflowing by the end of the evening.
Some people went way out in decorating their homes. Scary music would be playing and the hallway would be lit with eery spooky lighting. The homeowners would be dressed like scary monsters and it could take quite a lot of courage to approach those doors. Sometimes people would even dress up like pumpkin people and sit in lawnchairs in the garden and when you walked up the path they would move suddenly and scare the living Dickens out of you!!
The air resounded with the sounds of children's voices shouting out Trick or Treat, and the smell of burning pumpkins . . . whilst beneath our feet the sound of scuttling dry autumn leaves as they danced across the pavement gave speed to our steps. It was a magical special evening that I remember always with great fondness. It is a lot warmer here on Halloween night than I remember it ever being as a child. Sometimes we even had snow, although not very often. It was always cold and frosty at the very least, which only added to the atmosphere.
I used to love taking my own children around Trick or Treating. I don't recall anyone ever going with me when I was a child, but then memory can be selective can't it. It was a different age back then . . . nobody seemed to be as afraid of child abduction or poisoning. We heard the odd story of razor blades or pins being put into apples, but I don't remember ever getting anything untoward. We didn't like getting apples really . . . or those toffee bats called beebee bats, or Halloween kisses . . .we wanted packets of crisps or candy bars! We got those too, but not near as many as the other candies. Funny . . . today I would love a beebee bat or a Halloween kiss, if only for nostalgia's sake!
We have never really had trick or treaters at our door over here. When we were down South, I always made up a bag of treats for the little fellow next door and decorated our doorway. The last year we were there our boss had her daughter's in laws staying with them from Germany and they had a lot of children and so they came down and trick or treated at our place, but that's all we have ever had. Each year I buy some candy just in case and poor Todd ends up having to eat it all himself. He doesn't mind.
One of my favourite parts of Halloween used to be dumping out my bag at the end of the evening and going through it all with our mum, just to make sure there was nothing bad in it. There never was. It felt like a pirates gold to me . . . all the candies and coloured wrappers. We didn't get candy all that often when I was growing up . . . cept at Halloween, Christmas, Easter and then Birthday parties. There was no corner store when we lived in Manitoba to go and spend our money at, although once we moved to Nova Scotia there was and candy became a more frequent treat then. We never minded though . . . the scarcity of candy only made the booty from Halloween Night all the more precious in our minds!
Anyways, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing tonight I want to wish each of you a very goulish and spookily Happy Halloween!
Over here the term "Pudding" refers to any kind of dessert which comes after a meal. It can be anything from cake to pie and everything in between. Back home it referred to a custardy milky dessert and we always loved it when I was growing up, although more often than not it came out of a box. Homemade pudding is so much better though and this is one of my favourite recipes. I think I love Butterscotch Pudding best of all!
If you were to ask people which flavour of pudding is their most favourite they would probably say chocolate, but my personal favourite is the delicious, sweet and slightly salty flavour of butterscotch. Some people like their pudding ice cold, but I like mine slightly warm. Now that my friends is comfort food, pure and simple . . .
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 TBS cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 large egg
1 TBS white sugar
2 TBS butter
1 tsp pure vanilla
Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in the milk. (any lumps should smooth out as the mixture cooks so don't worry about them)
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Beat the egg with the tablespoon of white sugar until light. Gradually stir part of the hot cornstarch mixture into the egg to temper it. Stir this mixture into the cooked mixture and then return the saucepan to the heat and cook for one to two minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and blend in the butter, stirring until it is melted and completely mixed in. Stir in the vanilla. Cool, covered, to help prevent a skin from forming. (Personally I like the skin . . . it's almost my favourite part). Serve warm or cold, with or without some whipped cream on top.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today, some delicious Baked Hotdogs!
It wouldn't be Halloween without it! Enjoy!