The U.K does not know how to celebrate Halloween properly. Every year, I watch Hocus Pocus approximately 10 times and totally forget that such a quaint and wholesome (minus the witches and zombies) Halloween doesn’t exist here. Sigh. Growing up in South West London, in a wealthy area filled with American families, I got to sample how Halloween SHOULD be. Grottos, street parties, kids overdosing on sugar in uncomfortable masks and cheap witches hats – unfortunately where we live now is not quite the same. On the upside, Ivy had a great time and has subsequently spent today saying ‘trick or treat’ instead of ‘hello’ to everyone she meets. Poor kid doesn’t realised that me and her daddy demolished half her sweet collection while she was sleeping last night – I was thinking about her teeth OKAY???
The funnest part for me is always the pumpkin carving. This year me and my boyfriend were in slight competition as per usual. I obviously won. I needn’t even say which one is mine.
(But just in case my confidence is a little over-stated and deluded, its the one on the left)
I really wanted to come up with some amazing pumpkin inspired recipe but if I am being completely honest, I just don’t like pumpkin very much. Plus the whole pumpkin carving process was so stressful and treacherous that I had no desire to eat the damn thing once I was done. When it comes to happy holiday celebrations, I am still learning. Upon second reading, I also realise that this contradicts with my previous statement proclaiming my love of pumpkin carving. But isn’t love stressful and treacherous sometimes? Bit of philosophical thinking for ya there.
So instead I came up this. I have only started liking and eating mushrooms recently. This is a very big deal for me, suddenly being a healthy vegetarian is so much easier! Plus, mushrooms are cheap. And really really tasty. I don’t know what I was thinking all these years.
Mushroom and Cherry Tomato Ragu (serves 4)
250g chesnut mushrooms, sliced
A handful of shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 celery sticks, diced
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can chopped tomatoes
Tablespoon of tomato paste
100ml white wine
Handful of basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200c. In a baking tray, lay out the halved cherry tomatoes, season with a little sugar, salt and pepper and a few glugs of olive oil and leave aside.
In a heavy based pan, heat oil. Add the onion and fry until softened, then adding the garlic, celery and mushrooms, cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. Pour in the white wine and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, then adding the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to the boil, then simmer, adding the worcester sauce and a teaspoon of sugar.
Once the sauce is simmering, put the cherry tomatoes in the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes then remove from oven. Carry on simmering the ragu sauce until it is quite thick, then stir in the tomatoes and heat for a few minutes. Serve on buttery spaghetti and add the basil leaves to garnish.
Here is this entry’s slightly more attractive photo: