Trick or Treat
Halloween |ˌhaləˈwēn; ˌhälə-; -ōˈēn| (also Hallowe’en)
the night of October 31, the eve of All Saints’ Day, commonly celebrated by children who dress in costume and solicit candy or other treats door-to-door.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: contraction of All Hallow Even.
The crescent moon is but sliver, and dark clouds shift past in a ghostly flow, plunging us into sudden blackness before lighting up again. The rest of the sky is littered with a profusion of stars, and the pathway down to dinner is illuminated with bright orange jack-o-lantern buckets, shedding an eerie light by candles aglow.
The unearthly echoes of sinister night creatures, living in the shadows, screech and reverberate across the valley and into the night.
The table is ghoulishly decorated – glow in the dark rats and bats and snakes and spiders and an abundance of candles. This stages the scene for our all hallow’s eve in the bush.
The day had been filled with surprises – pies with wicked face cutouts for lunch, little ghost meringues for dessert, spider cupcakes and biscuits for tea, with candy canes and sweets, little ‘mummies’ wrapped in puff pastry for game drive snacks – but the real feast comes after dark – with the evening meal.
For the key event, we started off with delectable, rich & creamy Brie, wrapped in salty Parma Ham, swathed in a savory crepe then quickly fried – just enough so that the outside of the pancake is a bit crunchy but the inside still soft and the cheese is completely runny, served hot with a sticky-sweet Cape Ruby Port Reduction and tangy Preserved Figs.
This was followed by the main course, where we served a traditional dish of Roast Duck, perfectly done where the crispy duck skin encloses tender, moist flesh, just slightly tinged with the citrus stuffing. Accompanied by garlicky, buttery dauphinoise potatoes and harvest vegetables; crunchy baby corn, sugar snap peas, sweet honeyed baby carrots and a delicately spiced orange sauce.
And for the grand finale, the dessert, we had velvety smooth, sumptuous, dark chocolate mousse (made with the good stuff – couverture) layered with pumpkin pie (there must be some pumkin in the mix – it’s Halloween is it not? And this was a perfect, albeit different approach to a tradition), along with a White Chocolate tombstone, bidding the guests to Rest In Peace for the evening to boot!