Frightfully Good Food: recipes for Halloween

Halloween is around the corner and children will be bombarded with sugary treats.

Frightfully Good Food: recipes for Halloween

Arlene Harris asks some of Ireland’s top chefs to come up with some tasty bites to satisfy the little monsters’ appetites without causing a sickly-sweet overload


Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody House Hotel has three children — Emily (13), Sophie (10) and Tom (6) who all love his Halloween treats.

Kevin Dundon in the kitchen with his son Tom

Oven Roasted Skeleton Ribs

1.5kg rack baby ribs

300ml dry cider (good quality)

300ml chicken stock

5 fennel seeds, lightly crushed

1 onion, sliced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

4 fresh thyme sprigs

250mls Guinness

2tbsp clear honey

Ketchup to drizzle

Pour the cider and fennel seeds into a large jug with the chicken stock. Season lightly with salt and set aside. Place the onion in a roasting tin with the garlic and thyme. Put the rack of pork ribs on top of the vegetables in the roasting tray and add the cider and chicken stock. Cover with foil, then braise for 1½-2 hours until the pork is tender and completely soft.

Meanwhile, pour the Guinness and honey into a pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to reduce for 5–8mins until thickened. When the pork ribs are cooked, glaze with the Guinness reduction. Place in the oven until caramelised.

Serve on a plate decorated with ketchup for blood effect.

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Neven Maguire’s twins Lucia and Connor (aged 18 months) are not old enough to crave Halloween treats but he has some healthy recipes in mind for when the time comes.

Apple Muffins

75g/3oz self-raising flour

2tspns baking powder

1tspn mixed spice

50g/2oz wheat bran (such as Odlum’s)

50g/2oz light muscovado sugar

50g/2oz sultanas

2 eating apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

25g/1oz pecan nuts, chopped

50g/2oz dates, pitted and chopped

100ml sunflower oil

2 eggs

2tblspns natural yoghurt

1tspn sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Line a muffin tin with 12 deep paper cases. Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a bowl. Tip in the bran left in the sieve and stir in with the wheat bran.

Add the sugar to the flour mixture with the sultanas, apples, pecans and dates and mix lightly with a wooden spoon. Measure the oil out in a jug, break in the eggs, add the yoghurt, then lightly beat to combine.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the oil mixture. Stir lightly until just mixed (don’t over-mix). Spoon the mixture equally into paper cases until two-thirds full.

Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top. Bake for 16–18 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm.

Chocolate Fondue

300ml/½ pint cream

50ml milk

1 vanilla pod

450g/1lb plain chocolate, broken into squares (minimum 55% cocoa solids)

1 banana

3 apples

1 small pineapple

150g/5oz strawberries

100g/4oz marshmallows

50g/2oz sponge fingers

Place the cream and milk in a small pan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the pan. Slowly heat to boiling point, remove and stir in the chocolate. Keep the fondue warm by sitting the pan in a larger pan of hand-hot water.

Cut the fruit into chunks — leave the strawberries whole. To serve, remove the fondue to a heatproof bowl and place in the centre of the table with the fruit, marshmallows and sponge fingers arranged in small dishes — each person can dip one piece of fruit, marshmallow or sponge finger at a time into the fondue.


Catherine Fulvio’s kids (Charlotte and Rowan) love sweet treats but the Wicklow-based chef also tempts them with more wholesome alternatives.

Catherine Fulvio’s children Rowan and Charlotte

Caramel Latte with Fudge Brownie Bars

3 eggs

150g caster sugar

150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

100g butter

100g self-raising flour, sieved

60g mini fudge pieces

For the caramel latte:

300ml milk

100ml boiling water

2tbsp caramel-flavoured syrup

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment.

To make the brownies, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a hand whisk until creamy and frothy. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth.

Stir the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fudge pieces and stir again. Pour into the baking tin, spreading evenly. Bake for 30–35 minutes, until just set.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Peel back the parchment from the edges and cut the brownies into thin 3cm bars.

To make the lattes, heat the milk in a small pot and add boiling water. Using a small hand-held milk frother, froth the hot milk. Pour the caramel-flavoured syrup into glasses or mugs. Pour in the hot milk and serve with the brownie bars.


“I make this particular mixture to stuff the apples but you can adapt it with similar dried fruit if you do not have these in the cupboard.”

Baked Halloween Apples

1 handful of almonds, finely chopped

1 handful of sultanas

4 prunes, de stoned and chopped

1tsp of mixed cake spice

1tsp of vanilla essence — optional

50g of brown sugar

1 tbs of soft butter

4 cooking apples, cored but not right to the base and tops sliced off

Cream to serve

Mix the nuts, sultanas, prunes, cake spice, vanilla, sugar and butter. Stuff the hollowed-out centre of each apple with the mixture.

Place the top of each apple back on top. Place onto an oven-proof dish and bake in an oven heated to 180 degrees for a half an hour or until soft.

You should be able to easily pierce the apple when it is cooked. Pour any liquid from the dish over the apples before serving and have the cream on the side.

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