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James McIntosh

It’s Halloween!

Posted by James McIntosh Monday, 27th October 2014

Spooky time of year, no sooner are we back at school than its half term time again for teachers and students. But having kids at home is fun, but they may need a bit of entertaining! 

In London where I live, one can’t help the night time ramble of ‘trick-or-treat’, my car is parked on the street and I do like to keep it clean and shiny, so I ensure I’m well stocked with sweets.  


Food Retail is changing hugely at present. The ‘discounters’ are rising and the main supermarkets are trying to compete, however, although it takes a little longer, I have realised how much I can save by shopping at markets, buying bowls of slightly odd shaped fruits and vegetables. They taste just as good, cook just as well and are as easy to prepare, but when it comes to saving money, I’m all ears. The first think you need to for Halloween party is a ‘Jack-O-Lantern’, and I found some fantastic pumpkins for £3 in the oddest spooky shapes to make a really frightening Halloween. Messy to make, but hollowed out over some newspaper makes life easier to for the cleanup.  In the spirit of “here’s one I made earlier” I had a go, I have not made one in 20 years (and in those days we used a swede).




Start by taking a smooth-ish side of a pumpkin as the decorating side. Using a serrated knife, cut the top off to make a lid by cutting deep and slowly. Make a little square ‘notch’ attached to the lid so it will fit perfectly every time you go to place the lid back on. It’s easier to use a pencil to draw cutting lines on top first. Rip the lid off, it may be a little tough, but I assure you it won’t scream!

Put your hand inside and pull out all of the stringy “brains” and seeds (rubber gloves could be good here). It’s a great “Eeeeewwww” moment. The stringy, icky stuff will come out.  Take out as much as possible and then using an ice-cream scoop scrape the inside walls clean. Separate the seeds from the brains. We will come to this later.                                       

Cut the attached stringy brains from the lid to tidy it up. 

Draw a ghostly Halloween design on baking paper and wet the back of it. It should stick to the flatter side of the pumpkin and cut along the design. Place a lit candle or tea light inside and it’s ready to go.

It’s now time to make the "Blood soup"

Blood Soup

  • Soften an onion in a pan on the Rangemaster Hob and add all of the stringy brains.
  • Add 1/2L stock made with one stock-cube, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add a few drops of red food colouring and serve.
  • Using the Rangemaster Oven you could toast the seeds to sprinkle on top or to keep as a healthy snack, or plant to grow your own pumpkin for next year.

And, if that is not scary enough, try our “Mummy Dogs”

Shutterstock 159847964Mummy Dogs

          • All you need is some chipolata sausages, some readymade savoury shortcrust pastry. 
          • Heat the Rangemaster oven to 180C (160C fan) / Gas Mark 4 and roll the pastry really thinly.
          • Wrap the bottom 2/3’s of each sausage with party strips in an uneven fashion. Do the same to make a tiny hat at the top.
          • Cook until the sausages and pastry are cooked through.
          • Dip a cocktail stick into some mustard and place 2 dots onto the un-covered sausage that is showing through the pastry for eyes.


Happy Halloween!



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