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Halloween cakes

Halloween cakes

Serve these cakes at a Halloween party, or box them up for impressive ‘take home gifts. They look particularly stunning on a dark plate or cloth.

Makes: 18

Prep: 1 ½ hours, plus cooling

Cook: 40 minutes

A little lightly salted butter, for greasing

2 quantities Orange Sponge mixture

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp runny honey

6 tbsp apricot jam

2 tbsp hot water

Orange food colouring

750 g/1 lb 10 oz white ready-to-roll icing

Icing sugar, for dusting

55 g/2 oz plain chocolate, roughly chopped

Several soft green jellies

20 small Oreo cookies, filling removed

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 26-cm/10 ½-inch x 8 ½-inch roasting tin or similar sized tin. Grease the baking paper.

2 Turn the cake mixture into the tin and level the surface. Bake in the preheat oven for 40 minutes, or until risen and just firm to the touch. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

3 If the cake has risen in the center, cut off a thin slice with a large knife. Using a 6-cm/ 2 ½-inch half-moon cutter as a guide, cut out shapes from the sponge. Turn the cakes over so theat the base forms a flat top.

4 Mix the juices with the honey a small jug and drizzle over the surface of the cakes so syrup seeps into the sponge. Press the jam through a small sieve into a bowl and stir in the hot water. Brush this mixture over the tops and sides of cakes.

5 Knead orange food colouring into the ready-to-roll icing. Roll out 40 g/1 ½ oz of the icing on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to an oval 15 cm x 10 cm/6-inchs x 4 inches. Lift it over a half-moon cake and fit it around the sides, pinching the icing together at the points. Cut off the excess at these points and then cut around the base of the cake. Repeat with the remain cakes, reserving the icing trimmings.

6 Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and heat until melted. Put the chocolate in a small paper piping bag and snit off the tip. Colour the icing trimmings a deeper orange and shape them into small balls. Mark  ‘pumpkin’ ridges with the back of a knife. Cut small pieces of soft jelly and push them into the tops for stalks, securing with chocolate.

7 To shape bats, heat an Oreo cookie in the microwave until it’s soft (this will take 1 ½-2 minutes, but check after a minute). Cut a circle from one side with a 2.5-cm/ ½ – inch cutter. Cut small flutes from the opposite sides with a 1.5-cm/ ½-inch cutter. Secure the decorations in the place with chocolate and pipe bat eyes and extra bats around the sides of the cakes.

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

It’s worth making your own burgers to cut down on fat- in these, the meat is extended with mushrooms for extra fibre.
INGEREDIENTS
Serves 4
1small onion, chopped
150g/5oz/2 cup small cup mushrooms
450g, 1lb lean minced beef
50g/2oz/1cup fresh whole meal breadcrumbs
5 ml/1 tsp dried mixed herbs
15ml/1tsp tomato puree
Plain flour, for shaping
Salt and ground black pepper relish, lettuce, burger buns or pitta bread, to serve
1 place the onion and mushrooms in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the beef, bread crumbs, herbs, tomato puree and seasoning. Process for a few seconds, until the mixture blinds together but still has some texture.
2 Divide the mixture into four, then press into burger shapes using lightly floured hands.
3 to cook, place the burgers on a microwave proof roasting rack and microwave, uncovered, for 6-7 minutes, turning over once. Leave to stand for 2-3 minutes.
4 Alternatively, for a browner and crisper result, preheat a microwave browning dish according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the burgers, pressing down well on to the base and microwave on high for 5-5 ½ minutes, truing over once. Leave to stand for 2-3 minutes. Serve with relish and lettuce, in burger bun or pitta bread.
VARIATION
To make lamb and mushroom burgers, substitute lean minced Lamb for the minced beef.
COMBINATION MICROWAVE
This recipe is suitable for cooking in a combination microwave. Follow the oven manufacturer’s timing guide for good results.

SAMPLE THE BEST OF PUNJAB

Now, foodies don’t have to go far to sample authentic Punjabi dishes. Sadda Sona Punjab -the Punjabi fo od festival at Sultans of Spice offers some of the most famous dishes from cities like Ludhiana, Amritsar and Patiala. The restaurant has been transformed into a typical Punjabi village and the buffet includes popular dishes like Boondi Jaljeera, Paya Shorba, Aloo Mukki, Masaledar Bhutte, Bhatti da Kukkad, Burrah Kebab, Surjit Di Amratsari Machi, Makki di Roti te Sarson da Saag, Ludhiy ane Da Kadai Paneer, Baigan Da Bharta, Punjabi Dal Fry, Rajma Chawal, Butter Chicken Makhan Singh da, Gosht Beli Ram, Aam ki Kulfi, Punjabi Pinni and Rice Kheer. The highlight of the buffet is the many live counters such as the lassi counter (Amritsari Malai Lassi and Peda Lassi), live chaat counter (Aloo Tikki Chaat, Samosa Chaat, Sooji ke Gol Gappe, Papdi Chaat and Dahi Bhalla), live parantha counter (Keema Parantha, Mughlai Parantha and 12 other types of vegetarian and non-vegetarian), live veg tawa counter with an array of vegetables, and the non-vegetarian tawa counter (kheema, gurda, kapura, kaleji and bheja, served with Amritsari Kulchas).Diners can indulge their sweet tooth with the live jalebi and tawa mithai counters.

Sadda Sona Punjab -The Punjabi food festival is on at Sultans of Spice, BluPetal Hotel, Jyothi Nivas College Road, 5th Block, Koramangala, till March 29.

 

 

Tuna and Mixed Vegetable Pasta

Cook this simple and very speedy sauce in microwave while the paste cooks conventionally.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

30ml/ 2 tbsp olive oil

175g/6oz/1 ½ cups button mushrooms, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ red pepper, seeded and chopped

15ml/1 tbsp tomato puree

300ml/ ½ pint/1 ¼ cups tomato juice

115g/4 oz frozen peas

15-30ml/1-2 tbsp drained pickled green peppercorns, crushed

275g/ 10 oz/2 ½ cups whole wheat pasta shapes

200g/7 oz can tuna chunks in brine, drained

6 spring onions, diagonally sliced

1 Place the oil in a microwave proof bowl with the mushrooms, garlic and pepper. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Stir in the tomato puree, then add the tomato juice, peas and some or all of the crushed peppercorns, depending on how spicy you like the sauce.

2 Cover the bowl and microwave on HIGH for a further 4 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

3 Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil on the hob and cook the pasta for about 12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until just tender. When the pasta is almost ready, add the tuna to the sauce and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute to heat thought. Stir in the spring onions. Drain the pasta and tip it into a warmed bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to mix. Serve at once.

Tuna and Mixed Vegetable Pasta

Cook this simple and very speedy sauce in microwave while the paste cooks conventionally.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

30ml/ 2 tbsp olive oil

175g/6oz/1 ½ cups button mushrooms, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ red pepper, seeded and chopped

15ml/1 tbsp tomato puree

300ml/ ½ pint/1 ¼ cups tomato juice

115g/4 oz frozen peas

15-30ml/1-2 tbsp drained pickled green peppercorns, crushed

275g/ 10 oz/2 ½ cups whole wheat pasta shapes

200g/7 oz can tuna chunks in brine, drained

6 spring onions, diagonally sliced

1. Place the oil in a microwave proof bowl with the mushrooms, garlic and pepper. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Stir in the tomato puree, then add the tomato juice, peas and some or all of the crushed peppercorns, depending on how spicy you like the sauce.

2. Cover the bowl and microwave on HIGH for a further 4 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

3. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil on the hob and cook the pasta for about 12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until just tender. When the pasta is almost ready, add the tuna to the sauce and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute to heat thought. Stir in the spring onions. Drain the pasta and tip it into a warmed bowl. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to mix. Serve at once.