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Spooky snacks for Halloween; FOOD & DRINK Get set for Halloween by trying out these delicious seasonal recipes from some of our top chefs - and there's not a pumpkin in sight...

HE nights are drawing in rapidly and Halloween will soon be upon us.

TIt's thought that Halloween originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, in particular Samhain.

In ancient times it was also widely believed that on October 31 the souls of the dead would revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set at the dinner table and by the fire to welcome them. After that, the feasting began.

If you'd like to prepare a 21st century feast for guests from this world (or the next, for that matter), then the following recipes will fit the bill.

Jim Dobson's roast butternut squash risotto makes a hearty supper as the 'darker' side of the year approaches and the Fox and Hounds, Llancarfan, head chef adds pickled walnuts and Perl Las cheese to give the dish a kick.

Topstak's baked brie is a simple but delicious crowd pleaser and will warm everyone up after an evening trick or treating or apple bobbing.

As it takes less than 10 minutes to cook, it's no bother to conjure up if you've been out and about.

And Simon King from restaurant 1861, near Abergavenny, rounds things off with a lovely pudding.

BAKED BRIE From the Topstak Gallery Cafe in the Vale of Glamorgan Ingredients 1 whole brie 4 tbs honey Slices of garlic Rosemary sprigs Method Preheat the oven to 180degC/gas mark 4.

Place the brie on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper and drizzle with the honey, and dot with garlic cloves and fresh rosemary sprigs. Bake for five to seven minutes, or until it starts to ooze but not melt.

Serve with cheese biscuits or crusty bread.

ROAST BUTTERNUT SQUASH & SAGE RISOTTO WITH PICKLED WALNUTS & PERL LAS From Jim Dobson, head chef at the Fox and Hounds, Llancarfan Ingredients (serves 4) 1 ltr warm vegetable stock 25 ml olive oil 300g Arborio risotto rice 2 shallots -finely diced 1 clove garlic -finely chopped 75 ml white wine 1 butternut squash 50g butter Salt 100g Perl Las - broken into pieces (or alternative blue cheese) Jar of pickled walnuts Sage - finely chopped Method Firstly, make the butternut squash puree. Peel and dice the butternut squash, heat a pan with a little oil and add the diced squash and season with salt.

Try to get a nice light brown colour all over the squash, remove half from the pan on to a small metal tray and bake in the oven at 180c for 10 minutes and save for later.

Cover the rest of the squash in the pan with water and simmer for a few mins until soft.

Carefully drain the squash into a blender keeping a small amount of the water. Blend with the butter and add some of the water if needed. Pass through a sieve and keep aside until you have cooked the risotto.

In a heavy bottom pan add the olive oil then gently cook the shallots and garlic until soft, add the rice and season with salt, stir for a minute or so until the rice turns translucent then add the white wine and reduce until almost dry.

Begin to add the stock, a ladle at a time. Simmer gently and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed by the rice, ensuring the contents of the pan do not stick to the base.

Continue to add the stock until all gone and absorbed (add more stock if required, the rice should be al dente). Remove the pan from the heat.

To finish, stir the squash puree, diced squash and chopped sage into the rice. Consistency should be thick but not stiff.

Spoon into serving bowls and garnish with sliced pickled walnuts, blue cheese and deep fried sage leaves(optional).

APPLE TART TATIN From Simon King, chef/proprietor at restaurant 1861, near Abergavenny Ingredients 300g caster sugar 100mls water 8 apples such as Cox Orange Pippins 4 puff pastry discs rolled into 15cm circles, 3 to 4 mm thick Method Dissolve the sugar in the water in a copper pan, bring to the boil and boil hard until an amber coloured caramel is achieved. Then quickly pour the hot caramel into 15cm blini-style pans, (alternatively any deep oven proof dish or frying pan will suffice, but cut your pastry discs accordingly).

Peel and core the apples, arrange neatly in the pan (on top of the caramel and bearing in mind that your display will eventually be upside down).

Cover the apples with the pastry disc. Pierce a couple of holes in the pastry to allow steam to escape and place in a pre-heated oven at 200c and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until bubbling at the edges and the pastry is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to stand for a few minutes. Turn the tart out onto a plate and serve with cream or ice cream.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Oct 20, 2018
Next Article:24 October 2018; WEDNESDAY.

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