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Tag Archives: halloween
  • Posted on October 26, 2017

    The Texas Chainsaw Moussaka Halloween recipe

    What better dish to serve in preparation for Halloween?! A scary movie and a serving of Texas Chainsaw Moussaka for a spooky Friday night in!

    Lambshank Redemption

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was so violent that it was banned across many countries. My moussaka is far less terrifying for any part-time cook. But with so many slices of eggplant (aubergine) and potatoes required, a chainsaw wouldn’t go astray. But, then again, the sound of the two-stroke engine in the kitchen might seem like overkill.


    4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ in (1cm) slices

    2 eggplants (aubergines), cut into ½ in (1cm) slices

    4 tablespoons olive oil

    1 onion, chopped

    1 ¼ lb (600g) ground (minced) lamb

    2 garlic cloves, chopped

    1 teaspoon ground coriander

    1 teaspoon dried cilantro (coriander)

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    2⁄3 cup (150ml) red wine

    14oz (400g) can chopped tomatoes

    2 tablespoons tomato paste (puree)

    3 eggs

    1 ½ cups (350ml) Greek yogurt

    1 ¾ cups (180g) grated Cheddar cheese

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    SERVES 4–6




    Cook the potato slices in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 12 minutes or until just tender. Drain the potato slices, place on a large plate or tray, and leave to cool.

    Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan over a high heat. Drizzle half the olive oil over the eggplant (aubergine) and grill for 4 minutes on each side or until charred. Remove from the grill pan and set aside.

    Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy-based, deep-sided skillet (frying pan) over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the lamb, garlic, herbs, and spices. Fry for 10 minutes or until the meat has completely browned. Add the wine, tomatoes, and tomato paste (puree), and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

    Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC/Gas 5.

    Arrange some of the potato slices in an even layer on the base of a deep ovenproof dish. Add some of the eggplant to create a second layer, and then some of the lamb mixture to create a third layer. Repeat to create more layers of potatoes, eggplant, and the lamb mixture, and finish with a layer of eggplant.

    Mix the eggs, yogurt, and cheese together in medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the eggplant and transfer the dish to the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


    If you're a film lover and a foodie, you'll love more of the recipes (and puns!) from The Lambshank Redemption by Lachlan Hayman.

    The Lambshank Redemption





    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with savoury, halloween, recipe for the weekend

  • Posted on October 21, 2016

    Autumnal Soup

    One of our favourite things about this time of year is making a big batch of soup on a Sunday afternoon that will see us in lunches through the week. Our new book Lunch on the Go has interesting ideas for lunches all year round, but this recipe is perfect for autumn. Warming and cosy, your deskmates will be jealous!

    Roast Apple & Pumpkin Soup with Maple Nut Crumble

    Wholesome and sweet, you will thank yourself for making this nurturing autumnal pumpkin soup. The maple nut crumble is optional – the soup is just as nice eaten with some crusty bread. If you choose to top with cream or maple syrup, keep these separately in little pots until needed.

    4 Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped into eighths

    1.4 kg/3 lbs. pumpkin, skinned and chopped into pieces the same size as the apple

    2 onions, quartered

    a small piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced

    6 garlic cloves, skin on

    4 tablespoons olive oil

    1.5 litres/6 cups warm chicken or vegetable stock

    2 tablespoons double/heavy cream, to serve (optional)

    maple syrup, to serve (optional)

    crusty bread, to serve (optional)

    salt and freshly ground black pepper


    120 g/¾ cup mixed nuts and seeds such as pumpkin

    seeds, hazelnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts

    1 teaspoon salt

    80 g/scant ½  cup caster/superfine sugar

    Makes 4 servings

    Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F) Gas 6.

    Put the apples, pumpkin, onions, ginger and garlic in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, until golden.

    Remove from the oven. Squeeze the garlic from its skins and transfer the flesh to a saucepan. Add the contents of the roasting pan along with any pan juices. Process with a stick blender until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour hot straight into a vacuum flask or leave to cool, then cover and chill in the refrigerator until required. Reheat until piping hot when desired.

    For the maple nut crumble, dry-toast the nuts and seeds in a frying pan/skillet.

    Put onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and sprinkle with salt. Put the sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Swirl the pan, rather than stirring, to mix the sugar as it melts. Cook until all the sugar has melted and has turned a light gold colour. Carefully pour the hot molten sugar over the top of the nuts. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and roughly chop into pebbles.

    If using, top the soup with the maple nut crumble, cream and maple syrup just before eating with crusty bread.

    Lunch on the Go is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with savoury, soup, halloween, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, quick, pumpkin, squash, 2016

  • Posted on November 20, 2015

    Get Thanksgiving ready...

    Happy Friday! The Holiday Season is literally just around the corner, especially for our friends and colleagues across the pond! Next week is Thanksgiving and to celebrate we thought we’d share a recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving sweet treat. We are, of course, talking about Pumpkin Pie! This pie, from Sweetie Pie by Hannah Miles, is the perfect way to finish off a holiday feast and there’s plenty of time to get baking between now and next weekend. So whether you’re celebrating in full force, or just fancy something in solidarity with the US (and let’s face it, when it looks this good, who wouldn’t?!) make sure you try this for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    Pumpkin marshmallow pie

    The filling for this pie has a beautiful orange colour and is the perfect treat to serve for Thanksgiving or at a Halloween party. Rich and creamy, and delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, this pie is great served with a large spoonful of clotted or whipped cream.


    280g/generous 2 cups plain/all-purpose flour

    A pinch of salt

    115g/1 stick butter, chilled

    OR 500 g/18 oz. ready-made shortcrust pastry

    Plain/all-purpose flour, for dusting


    250 g/9 oz. pumpkin purée (such as Libby’s)

    ½ teaspoon salt

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

    2 tablespoons melted butter

    200 g/scant 1 cup cream cheese

    140 g/scant ¾ cup caster/granulated sugar

    3 eggs

    250 ml/generous 1 cup double/heavy cream


    Small and large white marshmallows

    23-cm/9-in. loose-bottom, round, fluted tart pan, greased baking beans

    Chef ’s blow torch

    Serves 10

    For the pastry, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl to remove any lumps, and add the salt. Cut the butter into small cubes using a knife. Dust your hands in a little flour, then, using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and salt, until it is the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.

    Add 1–2 tablespoons cold water, and mix in with a round-bladed knife, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry. Bring the dough together into a ball. It is important that you handle the pastry as little as possible for the best results.

    Wrap the pastry in clingfilm/plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

    On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry thinly into a circle just larger than the size of your tart pan. Using the rolling pin to help lift it, carefully move the pastry into the pan and press it down so that it fits snugly. Trim away any excess pastry using a sharp knife, but leave some pastry hanging over the edge of the pan. This will be trimmed neatly after the tart is baked. Prick the base with a fork and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

    Line the pastry with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake blind for about 15–20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the pastry is lightly golden brown. Once cool enough to handle, remove the beans and parchment. Trim the top of the pastry case by sliding a sharp knife along the top of the pan. Turn the oven temperature down to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    For the filling, whisk together the pumpkin purée, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, melted butter, cream cheese, sugar, eggs and cream using a mixer, until you have a smooth cream. Pour the filling into the pie crust and carefully transfer to the oven.

    Bake for 50–60 minutes until the custard is just set but still has a slight wobble in the centre. Let cool.

    Decorate the pie with marshmallows, then use a chef ’s blow torch to lightly toast the tops of the marshmallows. Serve immediately. The pie will keep for up to 3 days stored in the refrigerator, but only put the marshmallows on just before serving.

    Sweetie Pie by Hannah Miles is available here. We hope you have a lovely weekend!

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, baking, event, Hannah Miles, halloween, recipe for the weekend, Thanksgiving, pie, sweet, pumpkin, 2015

  • Posted on October 30, 2015

    What to do with your pumpkin insides?

    Pumpkin carving season is upon us! We’ve been scouring Pinterest for weeks for inspiration and we’ve got some great ideas up our sleeves. But if we’re honest, the best bit about carving a pumpkin is the array of delicious recipes you can make with the insides. If you’re subscribed to The Pantry, you might remember we sent you some of our favourite recipes for leftover pumpkin last week, including this tasty risotto. It's warming and comforting, and just look at that colour - perfect for a grey day! And if you’re NOT signed up to The Pantry, whyever not?! Get yourselves over here, and make sure you don’t miss out on any further deliciousness!

    pumpkin and pea risotto with toasted pumpkin seeds

    risotto alla zucca e piselli

    A pretty orange colour speckled with vivid green peas, this risotto is a delight to eat – the peas pop in your mouth and the seeds give crunch. Fresh peas in season are fantastic, but I am a fan of frozen peas and am never ashamed to use them.

    125 g/1 stick unsalted butter

    3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

    ¼–½ teaspoon chilli/chili powder

    about 1 litre/4 cups hot vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

    1 large onion, finely chopped

    500 g/1 lb. fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and finely diced

    300 g/1½ cups risotto rice

    3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

    200 g/1½ cups frozen peas, cooked and drained

    75 g/¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    SERVES 6

    Put half the butter in a saucepan, melt until foaming, then add the pumpkin seeds. Stir over medium heat until the seeds begin to brown, then stir in the chilli/chili powder, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep them warm.

    Put the stock in a saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer. Melt the remaining butter in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Cook gently for 10 minutes until soft, golden and translucent but not browned. Add the squash or pumpkin, and cook, stirring constantly over the heat for 15 minutes until it begins to soften and disintegrate. Mash the pumpkin in the pan with a potato masher. Stir in the rice to coat with the butter and mashed pumpkin. Cook for a couple of minutes to toast the grains.

    Begin adding the stock, a large ladleful at a time, stirring gently until each ladle has almost been absorbed by the rice. The risotto should be kept at a bare simmer throughout cooking, so don’t let the rice dry out – add more stock as necessary. Continue until the rice is tender and creamy, but the grains still firm. (This should take 15–20 minutes depending on the type of rice used.)

    Taste and season well with salt and pepper and stir in the mint, peas and all the Parmesan. Cover and let rest for a couple of minutes so the risotto can relax, then serve immediately, sprinkled with the pumpkin seeds.

    Risotto by Maxine Clark is available here. Still stuck for Halloween ideas? We've got some great recipes and craft projects on the blog.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with rice, savoury, halloween, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, risotto, pumpkin, 2015, The Pantry

  • Posted on October 28, 2015

    Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

    Here at the RPS and CICO Books towers there are two things that we really love – baking and making – so  you can imagine our excitement for Halloween; the holiday where we can bake a whole range of cute, creepy or even gross looking delights and make all sorts of scary stuff, from outfits to decorations for a party! So today we've got a cookie recipe to excite both our crafty and confectionary sides... these lovely spiced pumpkin cookies are just one of many tasty treats to be found in The Cookie Jar by Liz Franklin. Whether it's a party for kids or grown ups, these are perfect for your Halloween table spread and we think they'll go down a real treat. Or do we mean trick...

    Spiced pumpkin cookies

    100 g/6 ½ tablespoons butter, softened

    60 g/ ¼ cup thick honey

    150 g/ ¾ cup soft brown sugar

    1 egg

    250 g/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon mixed spice/apple pie spice

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

    To decorate

    250 g/8 oz. ready-to-roll fondant icing

    orange food colouring gel

    1 egg white, beaten

    orange and green writing gels

    a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter

    2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment 


    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    Put the butter, honey, sugar and egg in a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. Add the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and mix until you have a smooth, stiff dough. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

    On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle with a thickness of about 3 mm/1/8 in. Cut out cookies using the cookie cutter. Bring the trimmed dough together and roll out again to cut as many cookies out of the dough as possible. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space for spreading between each one.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes, until golden and firm. Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

    In the meantime, work a little orange food colouring gel into the fondant icing until the colour resembles pumpkin orange. Cut the icing out using the cookie cutter to cover the cookies.

    Brush the cookies with the beaten egg white and stick an orange icing pumpkin onto each cookie pumpkin, then use the writing gels to add the detail.

    Leave to set, store between layers of baking parchment in an airtight container or cookie jar and eat within 3 days.

    The Cookie Jar

    For more simple baked biscuits and tasty treats, check out The Cookie Jar by Liz Franklin, available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, gift, school holidays, kids, halloween, sweet, pumpkin, 2015, The Pantry

  • Posted on October 23, 2015

    An apple a day...

    Happy Friday! It’s been a long week but you’ve made it! The clocks go back this weekend, and we’re looking forward to long winter evenings, cosying up with blankets and comfort food. Inspired by Apple Day earlier this week, we’re celebrating all things autumnal and cosy with today’s recipe, taken from Hot Chocolate by Hannah Miles.

    Toffee Apple Hot Chocolate

    Eating toffee apples at Halloween and on Bonfire Night is such a treat – biting into the crisp caramel shell and then finding the juicy apple underneath. This hot chocolate is flavoured with caramelized sugar, and you should take the caramel as dark as you are (without burning it) to get the maximum caramel flavour in the milk. Apfelkorn liquer is a tasty German apple spirit which is very warming. It is available online and from good drinks retailers.

    1 dessert apple

    Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    100 g caster sugar

    500 ml milk

    40 g white chocolate, chopped

    4 tablespoons Apfelkorn liqueur (optional)

    Spray cream or whipped cream, for topping

    Dulce de Leche sauce, to drizzle

    Silicone mat or baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper

    Serves 2

    Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) Gas 1.

    Leaving the skin on, cut the apple into thin slices using a sharp knife or a mandoline. Toss the slices in lemon juice to prevent them browning, then dust in a little ground cinnamon. Lay the slices out flat on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 1–1 1/2 hours, until dried but still slightly soft. (This will make more dried apple than you need for decoration but they will keep well and make a great healthy snack if stored in an airtight container.)

    Place the sugar in a saucepan and heat gently over low heat until melted. Do not stir, but swirl it to ensure that the sugar does not burn. Once the sugar has melted, carefully dip some of the baked apple slices into the caramel – only dipping them in half way. (Use tongs and take extreme care as the sugar is very hot and can burn you.) Place the apple slices on a silicone mat or baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and leave to dry.

    Add the milk to the remaining caramelized sugar in the pan. Do not worry if the sugar solidifies, as it will melt on heating. Simmer over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and add the apfelkorn (do not return to the heat as it may curdle the milk). Pour the hot chocolate into two cups, top with a little whipped cream and drizzle with dulce de leche. Place an apple slice on top of each cup. Serve immediately.

    Hot Chocolate by Hannah Miles is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with drinks, Hannah Miles, chocolate, kids, halloween, recipe for the weekend, sweet, 2015, apple

  • Posted on October 8, 2015

    Crochet a Wicked Witch Costume!

    With Halloween at the end of the month we're starting to think about fancy dress... If you're stuck for ideas for your kids (or yourself!) then why not have a go at this crochet wicked witch costume? Forget tacky lycra outfits bought in a one size fits all (but actually fits nobody) or that old white sheet that's been used year in year out since your child was tall enough to stand, and instead try your hand at a really unique crocheted costume.

    With a pattern for the witch's hat, the cobweb collar and a spider to complete the look, this is a brilliant way to make your Halloween outfit and will provide plenty of fun dress-up opportunities in years to come (apologies to that sad old sheet).

    Click on the image below and save or print the PDF pattern*.

    This pattern is one of many lovely ideas for handmade kids' costumes in Crochet Dress-Up by Emma Friendlander-Collins. You can find out more about the book or buy a copy here.

    Crochet Dress-up

    *Thank you for choosing to download this crochet pattern. The copyright belongs to CICO Books, so selling or distributing the material to a third party is prohibited. We don’t mind if you share it with a friend, but please do not make multiple copies without our permission. Copyright law is there to protect the work of the originator and unauthorised copying is illegal

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with handmade, kids, halloween, 2015, crochet, costumes

  • Posted on October 31, 2014

    Recipe for the Weekend

    As we’re all in the Halloween spirit today, we thought we’d share a recipe for you to use up any left over pumpkin insides over the weekend, after you’ve carved them into something splendid! Whether you’re celebrating the haunted holiday today or simply making the most of everyone’s favourite orange veggie, this pumpkin and coconut laksa from The Natural Food Kitchen is utterly delicious and full of goodness!

    Jordan Bourke, Guild of Food Writers Shortlist

    You might remember author Jordan Bourke from his fantastic first book, The Guilt-free Gourmet, written with his sister Jessica Bourke. Full of international flavours, exciting dishes and natural food, Jordan’s new collection of recipes is just as hard to resist! So hard, in fact, that the US office held a little pot luck lunch with a few of the recipes which you can read more about next week!

    pumpkin & coconut laksa

    We often cook laksa at home – a Malaysian noodle soup of sorts with sour, sweet, salty and spicy notes. You can buy laksa curry paste, but I have given you the recipe here as the flavour is much better and it keeps well in the fridge or freezer. Delica pumpkins, with their emerald green skin and vibrant orange flesh (it’s practically an Irish flag, so you can’t go wrong!), are great in this dish. However, they are not always available in supermarkets, so you can use any kind of squash instead.

    1 delica pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, halved and deseeded

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    sea salt

    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    4 shallots, thinly sliced

    4 tablespoons of the curry paste (see below)

    3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or pure maple syrup

    1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

    zest and juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons), plus another lime, cut into wedges, to serve

    2 tablespoons tamarind paste (alternatively use another 2 tablespoons of lime juice)

    2 x 400-ml/14-fl. oz. cans coconut milk

    400 ml/1 2/3 cups vegetable stock

    200 g/6 ½ oz. rice noodles

    ½ a red onion, sliced

    1 fresh red chilli/chile, deseeded and thinly sliced

    small handful of fresh mint leaves

    few leaves spinach, to serve

    For the curry paste:

    3 fresh red chillies/chiles, deseeded

    2 teaspoons chilli/hot red pepper flakes

    4 shallots, roughly chopped

    5 garlic cloves, peeled

    3 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves and woody ends removed, chopped

    3-cm/1 ¼-inch piece fresh ginger, skin scraped off with a teaspoon

    1 tablespoons ground coriander

    1 teaspoons ground cumin

    1 teaspoons ground turmeric

    4 lime leaves (optional)

    Serves 4

    Punkin and Coconut Laksa from The Natural Food Kitchen

    For the curry paste, add everything to a food processor with 6 tablespoons of water and blitz until you have a paste, scraping down the sides when needed. This will take at least 2 minutes of constant blitzing.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (360ºF) Gas 4. Cut the pumpkin/squash halves into 3 cm/1 1/4 inch chunks, drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until cooked through.

    Place a large pot with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over a medium heat. Add in the shallots and stir-fry for a few minutes until softened.

    Turn down the heat, add in the curry paste and cook gently for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add in the sugar or maple syrup, salt, lime zest and juice and tamarind paste. Cook for another few minutes until the sugar has dissolved and everything is sizzling.

    Add in the coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer briskly for 10 minutes. Taste the soup and if necessary adjust the seasoning with a little more salt, lime juice or coconut palm sugar. You should be able to taste all the sour, salty, sweet elements quite strongly. Add in the cooked pumpkin/squash and the spinach leaves, stirring into the sauce until slightly wilted.

    Cook the noodles in boiling water, according to the packet instructions. Ladle the soup into bowls and then add in a mound of noodles. Scatter over some of the red onion, chilli/chile and mint leaves and serve immediately with the lime wedges to squeeze over.

    The Natural Food Kitchen by Jordan Bourke, Guild of Food Writers Shortlist

    The Natural Food Kitchen by Jordan Bourke is available here.

    We hope you have a fantastic weekend with some delicious food and great company, and if you are celebrating tonight, then Happy Halloween!

    This post was posted in Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with Jordan Bourke, halloween, recipe for the weekend, 2014, pumpkin, Jordan and Jessica Bourke, squash

  • Posted on October 29, 2014

    Halloween Crafts

    With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve got our crafting hats on. These are not to be confused with our witches’ hats…we’re saving those for Friday! This little project would make an ideal party bag if you’re hosting a Halloween party this weekend, or you could make a few in different sizes for pumpkin decorations that won’t go mouldy! Don’t forget to give our Balloon Ghosts and Monster Cupcakes a go too.

    Pumpkin Party Bags

    Give your guests a party bag with a difference with this gathered fabric and ribbon pumpkin, filled with candies (sweets). Choose orange fabrics in different shades and patterns, using up scraps that you already have, or visit your local fabric store to put together a range of different designs.


    Squares of orange fabric, about 12 x 12in. (30 x 30cm)

    Plate measuring about 10in. (25cm) in diameter




    17in. (43cm) wired green ribbon, 5⁄8in. (1.5cm) wide


    1 Press the fabrics so that they are nice and smooth. Lay the plate on the wrong side of a fabric square and draw round it using the pen. Cut the circle out neatly.

    2 Put a couple of handfuls of candies (sweets) in the middle of the fabric circle. You may need to add a few more candies or take some away, depending on what type you are using.

    3 Gather up the edge of the fabric circle to form a bundle, making sure that the gathers are nicely arranged and that the candies are contained.

    4 Hold the gathered top with one hand and tie the ribbon round it with a tight knot, leaving one end of the ribbon at least 4in. (10cm) long. You may find it easier to ask another pair of hands to help on this part! Bind the longer end of the ribbon round the gathered top to form a stalk. Two or three winds of the ribbon should be enough to cover it. Pull it tightly so that it will stay in place.

    5 Tie the two ends of ribbon together with a secure knot. Fold the ribbon in half lengthwise to make it narrower. Wind it round a pen, then remove the pen and trim the ends of the ribbon neatly to make a tendril. Repeat with both ends of the ribbon.

    This project is taken from Halloween Crafts which is available here.

    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Craft Projects, Featured, Featured, UK, US and was tagged with party, handmade, fabric, halloween, halloween crafts, 2014

  • Posted on October 27, 2014

    Hallowe'en or the festival of Samhain

    Many of us will know this Friday as Hallowe’en, and some might also know it as All Hallows’ Eve, but did you know that it is also Samhain? This fire festival is one of the most important in the Wiccan calendar, the final harvest festival marking the end of summer. In her new book The Beginner’s Guide to Wicca, Kirsten Riddle provides a friendly, straightforward introduction to the Wiccan way and how you can incorporate it into every aspect of your daily life. In this extract from the book, she explains the festival of Samhain and suggests a simple way that you can observe it. So why not incorporate something a little different into your celebrations this weekend?

    Samhain: October 31


    Also known as All Hallows’ Eve or Hallowe’en, the fire festival Samhain is one of the most important Wiccan festivals. It marks the end of summer and the start of the dark half of the year. It’s a time to remember lost loved ones and honor the ancestors and is the last of the harvest festivals. The goddess in her crone aspect mourns the death of the god, but also understands that his passing was necessary so that the wheel of the year can move forward. It’s thought that at this time of year the veil between worlds is thin, making it easy for spirits to wander and for us to communicate with them.


    DEITY All deities of the underworld (such as Anubis, Kali, Lilith, Morrigan)

    ALTAR DECORATIONS Acorns, nuts, berries (particularly hawthorn), pumpkins, pumpkin seeds, candles, photographs of loved ones who have passed away

    HERBS AND SPICES Basil, frankincense, myrrh, sage

    COLORS Black, gold, orange, purple


    Samhain Ritual

    Honor lost loved ones by setting a place at the table for them. Light a black candle and place in front of it photographs of those who have passed away. Gaze at your reflection in a hand mirror. Ask the spirits to bless you with a vision and speak aloud any messages of love. Let the candle burn down, and accept any thoughts or images that come to you—they could be signs from the spirit world.


    The Beginner's Guide to Wicca by Kirsten Riddle is available here.

    Happy Samhain everyone!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with halloween, 2014, Magic, mind, mind body spirit, wicca

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