As I think I mentioned a few posts back, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with halloween. I’ve never been into the really scary side of it, but I love all the foodie and crafty opportunities. I also love traditions and making memories with the kids. The last couple of years I’ve taken the kids to a pumpkin patch to pick their own pumpkins and this year I did it again.  Sadly Jess has a broken foot at the moment, so she stayed behind, but Lila and I managed to choose her the perfect pumpkin anyway.

We headed to Garson’s Farm in Esher, which I’ve blogged about before, as we love going to Pick Your Own anyway. Its always pretty busy at this time of year, but its great to see so many people having fun and making the most of the season. We were so lucky that it was such a beautiful sunny day too. The pumpkin patch was well stocked with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.

We picked five fabulous pumpkins and somehow managed to carry them between the two of us – those things are not light! All 5 came in at £13, which is really great value. I think they’re a little bit cheaper than in the supermarket. You also get the added fun of picking them yourself.

Once we’d got them safely in the car, we wandered off in search of squashes. We always pick up a few squashes to use in my pumpkin recipes, as they usually have a better flavour. I used a mixture of the two in my Pumpkin Soup recipe from a few weeks ago. I also use squashed in my Pumpkin Pie recipe too.

I’ll pop a post up to show you how they came out after we carved them tomorrow. Do you enjoy Halloween? What are you’re favourite things about it? Do you go all out, or do you just choose a few elements like we do?

As I’ve not been doing ‘Week in Pictures’ posts for a while, I thought I’d start doing short posts about things we’ve been doing recently. I know a lot of my readers really enjoy those. We’ve had a few nice days out recently that I’d love to write about soon. There’s always lots going on over on my Instagram too. I’m constantly posting on there.

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With Halloween just a few days away, things are getting decidedly creepy in my house. Pumpkins have appeared and baking plans have begun. To be honest I’ll take any excuse to bake and get crafty! With the kids on half term, I don’t have time for anything very ambitious, so I’ve been thinking about quick and easy halloween recipes. First up are my creepy Halloween Meringue Kisses of Death. These are basically just meringue kisses, with black food colouring, but as port of a seasonal spread they look great.

Halloween Meringue Kisses

Equipment:

I make these in my Kitchenaid stand mixer, but you could also use an electric whisk. Other than that, you’ll just need a spatular and a piping bag with a large nozzle to make these. You’ll also need baking paper and a large baking tray to bake them in the oven.

Halloween Meringue Kisses

Ingredients:

3 eggs (whites only)

75g caster sugar

75g icing sugar

Black gel food colouring (I use this one from Hobby Craft)

Halloween Meringue Kisses

How to Make Halloween Meringue Kisses:

Preheat oven to 100ºc. prepare a large baking tray with baking paper.

Turn a piping bag inside out and add stripes of black food colouring. Turn back the right way and add a large nozzle.

Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Gradually add both the sugars, until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks.

Put the mixture into your piping bag and pipe out small amounts of the mixture to make the kisses.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

These are best kept in an airtight container, until you are ready to eat them.

Halloween Meringue Kisses

Let me know if you give these Halloween meringue kisses a try. Obviously you can make them in different colours for different occasions. I’m looking forward to trying some Christmas colours and some cute pastels in the spring.

Halloween Meringue Kisses

For more recipes check out my Baking section.

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It’s Friday 13th and halloween in just around the corner. It’s time to think about halloween decorations. I never used to be that into halloween, but I love many excuse to dress up, bake and decorate, so in recent years I’ve just embraced the fun of the season and gone pumpkin crazy. If you’re still looking for some unique ways to decorate for halloween I’ve found 13 fabulous and quirky decorations on Etsy. These are all from UK based sellers too, so you don’t need to worry about them arriving in time for halloween.

I think it’s really important to support small businesses all year round, but celebrations and holidays are a really good time to move some of your spending to independent businesses. Etsy is a really great place to do that. I love the tradition orange and black pumpkin theme myself, so I’ve gone for that look with my choices.

1. Halloween Wreath

Etsy Halloween Decorations WreathI love this fun garland. I usually opt for decorations that are a little more grown up and this really fits the bill. This is perfect for hanging up on your front door, or just as a decoration inside the house.

2. Crocheted Pumpkins

Etsy Halloween Decorations Crochet PumpkinsI love handmade items, as no two are exactly the same. I also think its a great way to support maki=ers and crafters. These sweet crocheted pumpkins are just perfect for the season. I like the idea of having a few and scattering them around the house for a little halloween fun.

3. Pumpkin Pie Candle

Etsy Halloween Decorations Pumpkin CandleI’m constantly burning scented candles and love finding new ones to try. This pumpkin pie scented soy candle would look great as a subtle decoration. And again I think this would work well with a more grown up theme.

4. Knitted Pumpkins

Etsy Halloween Decorations Knitted PumpkinsWhile browsing Etsy I spotted so many hand made pumpkins that I really liked. These knitted ones are so beautiful, I love the orange and black combination. These would be perfect for bringing out each halloween and building a collection of special decorations.

5. Pumpkin Plates

Etsy Halloween Decorations PlatesIf you’re having a party for halloween these plates would look fabulous on an orange and black themed table. Don’t forget to stock up on orange jelly beans!

6. Fabric Pumpkins

Etsy Halloween Decorations Fabric PumpkinsMore handmade pumpkins! These cute fabric pumpkins are perfect for a homely display. These come in a great selection of different orange fabrics.

7. Felted Garland

Etsy Halloween Decorations Felted GarlandI really like the colours used in this felted garland. This could either be hung up or just used as part of a display. They are also neutral enough to be kept up all year round.

8. Pumpkin Garland

Etsy Halloween Decorations Pumpkin GarlandFor a more traditional halloween garland, these pumpkins are just awesome!

9. Fan Decorations

Etsy Halloween Decorations Fan DecorationsAnother decoration that would be perfect for a more grown up theme are these hanging fan halloween decorations.

10. Boo Sign

Etsy Halloween Decorations Boo SignThis boo sign would look great hung up on your front door, or again anywhere around the house. It ticks all the halloween decoration boxes, with its colour and bats, ghosts and spiderwebs!

11. Tassel Garland

Etsy Halloween Decorations Tassel GarlandTassel garlands have been really popular over the last couple of years. They are a really simple and easy way to decorate and brighten up the home. These orange and black garlands are perfect for creating a fun and modern halloween look.

12. Bat Brooches

Etsy Halloween Decorations Luxulite Bat BroochOf course your house isn’t the only place that needs halloween decorations! These bat brooches from Luxulite are perfect! I love everything on their shop anyway, its well worth checking out.

13. Pumpkin Mug

Etsy Halloween Decorations Pumpkin MugAfter all that decorating I think you deserve a big cup of tea. Whether you’re serving up a trick or a treat, this pumpkin mug is perfect for a hot beverage as the nights draw in and the ghouls come out!

Will you be decorating for halloween this year? Do you have a theme or just go crazy with the halloween decorations? Which is your favourite one from above?

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One of my favourite things about Halloween and Autumn is pumpkins. Carving our pumpkins into weird and wonderful designs is one of my favourite family activities of the year and working out what to do with the spare pumpkin is always a challenge. This year I decided to make pumpkin pie and it came out absolutely delicious.

pumpkin-pie-recipeI’ve used a mixture of butternut squash and pumpkin in this recipe, carving pumpkins don’t have very much flavour and the squash helps to make a smooth mixture and give the pie a better taste.

pumpkin-pie-recipe-vintage-frillsYou will need:

  • 375g chopped pumpkin
  • 375g chopped butternut squash
  • 350g sweet shortcrust pastry (I use this recipe)
  • 140g caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 25g melted butter
  • 175g condensed milk

traditional-pumpkin-pie-recipeHow to make:

  1. Put the pumpkin and squash in a large pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºc
  3. Roll out the pastry and fill the bottom of your pie tin.
  4. Line with parchment and baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 220ºc.
  6. Push the pumpkin and squash mixture through a sieve and put to one side.
  7. Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  8. Mix in the eggs, butter and condensed milk, then add the pumpkin and squash puree and stir together.
  9. Pour into the pastry shell and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 180ºc and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool, remove from the tin. Store in the fridge and serve chilled.

traditional-pumpkin-pie-recipe-2This did take quite a long time to make and my pastry isn’t the neatest, but the pie tastes absolutely delicious and I think I’m going to have to make it a yearly tradition!

pumpkin-pie

As usual if you try this or any of my other recipes, send me over some pics, I always like to see them!

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Halloween Cupcakes 1

A couple of weeks ago I made some halloween themed cupcakes for the girls school disco. I only had a couple of hours to gather ingredients and throw them together, so I thought they’d be a great last minute idea for Halloween. They’re perfect if you want to take something to a party or just for something to do with the kids over half term.

Halloween Cupcakes 2

I used a really basic chocolate fairy cake mix and decorated them using decorations I picked up in Waitrose.

Halloween Cupcakes 5

Halloween Cupcakes 6

To make the chocolate cakes you will need…

Fairy cake cases

170g unsalted butter at room temperature

170g caster sugar

3 eggs lightly beaten

120g self raising flour

a pinch of salt

50g cocoa powder

For the icing… (I don’t use specific amounts, I just mix as I go)

Water

Icing sugar

Orange gel food colouring

Halloween Cupcakes 3

How to make the fairy cakes…

1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees (fan)

2. Line a tray with 24 fairy cake cases. (I used quite small cases so you may not need this many)

3. Mix the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.

4. Mix the eggs gradually into the mixture.

5. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt and fold into the mixture.

6. Divide the mixture between the cake cases, they should be filled to just over half way. May sure the mixture is flat in the cases as this will make the icing easier.

7. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes until slightly golden.

8. Meanwhile mix some icing sugar with a little orange food colouring and water until you have a good consistency.

9. Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack before adding a generous helping of icing and adding your decorations.

Halloween Cupcakes 4

If you’d like an even quicker easier option I also made these cakes using melted chocolate, Rice Crispies which I decorated with chocolate decorations and sprinkles.

Halloween Cupcakes 7

Halloween Cupcakes 8