It’s Halloween and this celebration is not something I grew up with. It was something we heard that they did in the US and from what we gleaned from the Chinese Whispers, children dressed up as witches or vampires and were rewarded for this by being given lollies from every house in the neighbourhood. We were confused.
Then I had my own children and out of no where this American celebration had, without warning, arrived. I was reluctant to say the least, thinking it to be a bizarre practise that had no relevance in our culture.
But never mind, it’s arrived and Alfie, motivated by scoring large amounts of free lollies in such abundance they would normally be off limits, has been determined not to miss out. A few weeks ago we bought a plastic pumpkin ‘basket’ for him to collect his loot in. A few days ago we hired a black cape and a mask so he could be dressed up as a vampire. A few hours ago I made Spooky Spook cupcakes for the hoards of ‘trick or treaters’ I was expecting on my doorstep.
It could have gone better.
Alfie finished school and came home to rush into his costume. I drove him to a street where I knew there would be plenty of action. And I was right. There were children in dress-ups everywhere. The only problem is that we left it a little late and so many of the houses had run out of treats and so there was nothing left but a sign on the door saying, ‘Sorry, run out of sweets. See you next year’. It was still daylight. It was still the afternoon. Plotting children are clearly setting out for their loot of treasure earlier and earlier.
We then came to a house that had a party in full swing going on in their front yard. There were children running and playing everywhere and the mothers who were seemingly oblivious to the goings-on were sipping enormously filled glasses of white wine. We arrived at the front gate and one of the mothers came running towards us, full glass of wine in hand that she placed on top of the sandstone front fence. She also had in her other hand a large bucket of lollies and she held these up to Alfie and said, ‘I bet you want a treat’. Next thing there was a loud bang and I was instantly sprayed, as in covered, with white wine, as one of the children had kicked a football that impacted with the wine glass, shattering it and spraying its contents all over me. I was dripping in white wine. It was running through my hair and down my face and my dress was soaked and my hand bag stained. Mothers sipping white wine while boys kick footballs is not a good mix.
I thought I might have been offered a bit of paper towel to dry myself off but I guess standing at someone’s front gate begging for lollies puts you in a fairly low bargaining position and so nothing was offered and I did my best to dry myself off using the palm of my hands. Lovely.
We then came home and I excitedly waited for my trick or treaters. None arrived. Not one. I have a few spare red velvet spooky spook cupcakes. Can I mail them to you?
Because I knew I would be busy in the afternoon, earlier that day I made a curry. Once back from trick or treating (that Alfie assures me was an enormous success) and after I removed my wine stained clothes, I reheated this and we enjoyed it for a late dinner.
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is a very inexpensive family meal as the cut of meat (I used chuck) is very affordable
- 2 tbspns ghee (or vegetable oil)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tspn ground tumeric
- 2 tspns ground coriander
- 2 tspns ground cumin
- 2 tspons garam masala
- 1 kg diced beef
- 500g kumera (sweet potato), peeled, chopped
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed, drained
- 1 ltr (4 cups) water
- coriander to garnish
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt ghee. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened. Add spices and cook until fragrant. Add beef and stir until browned. Add water, cover, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered for 60 minutes then remove lid and simmer for 30 minutes. 20 Minutes into cooking time add lentils.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 200C. Take a baking tray and cover with baking paper. Put sweet potato on tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until cooked. Take eggplant and prick all over with a fork. Place on a baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cut in half, scoop out flesh and add to curry.
Add kumera and eggplant to curry and cook until heated through.
Serve garnished with coriander with a side dish of rice or quinoa.
This recipe has been severely adapted from The Australian Womens Weekly Easy Indian-Style Cookbook.