- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Local Assembly Member Joyce Watson AM offers advice to have a green Halloween.
Halloween parties and festivities are great fun but they can generate a scary amount of waste, ranging from pumpkins and sweet wrappers to discarded costumes and decorations.
When my children were young we loved making a home-made Halloween together. Times have changed, but with a little imagination and effort we can still save money and avoid waste.
Here are some suggestions:
• If you haven’t got time to make your family’s costumes and you don’t want to keep them, why not take them to a charity shop after, so they can be reused next year.
• If you give treats to children who come to your door, you could cut packaging waste by giving loose sweets, biscuits or fruit, or reusable treats such as pencils and crayons.
• If you or your children are going out trick or treating you could save on torch battery costs and waste by using rechargeable batteries or wind up torches that don‘t need batteries.
• Children love making homemade Halloween decorations, such as masks out of old cardboard boxes. Reuse your decorations and then recycle them when you’ve finished with them.
• If you don’t want to cook your pumpkin, it can still be saved from the bin. Your lantern would make a decorative Autumn planter, filled with twigs and cones, or it would make great compost. First add the seeds and flesh directly to your compost bin, then after Halloween add the lantern shell broken into pieces.
• Pumpkins are delicious and easy to cook – roasted pumpkin seeds make a nutritious snack and the flesh can be used in many ways – soup, pies, stir fries, even chutney.
• There are a great selection of pumpkin recipes on the Love Food Hate Waste website – http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes/list?food=27-pumpkin, along with loads of other great tips to avoid food waste. These include:-
Roasted pumpkin and red pepper soup
• 1 pumpkin
• 2 red peppers
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• ½ teaspoon juniper seeds
• 100g celery, chopped
• 2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
• 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
• Large bunch of fresh coriander
• Black pepper
• 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche
• Pinch of paprika
1. Quarter the pumpkin, remove the seeds (don’t discard them, they are lovely when roasted and make a great nibble). Cut the red peppers in half, remove the seeds and place them with the pumpkin onto a roasting tray. Drizzle the flesh with a little olive oil and place into a pre heated oven set at gas mark 6/200C/400F and roast for about 40 minutes.
2. Remove from the oven. Scrape the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin and place to one side along with the roasted pepper.
3. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan; add the chopped onion, crushed garlic, juniper seeds, celery and red chillies. Cook for a few minutes until the onions and celery are soft. Add the pumpkin and red peppers, the stock and finally the chopped coriander. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then process the soup in a blender to make it smooth.
4. Serve with a spoonful of crème fraiche over the top sprinkled with a little paprika.
• 275g plain flour
• A pinch of salt
• 125g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
• About 10 tablespoons of cold water
• 1 whole pumpkin
• 2 eggs
• 100g caster sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• Pinch of nutmeg
• 25g sunflower seeds
1. First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and gently rub into the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to make dough and form into a smooth ball. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
2. When the pastry has relaxed, roll it out on a lightly floured board to ¾ mm thick and line a 20cm loose bottomed fluted flan ring.
3. Cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Cook blind on a baking sheet in the oven set at gas mark 4/180C/350F for about 12 minutes, then carefully remove the beans and the paper and return the case to the oven and cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling using the flesh scooped out from the pumpkin. Steam the flesh for 15-20 minutes, drain and then mash. Leave to cool and then beat the eggs together with the sugar and stir into the pumpkin mixture. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. Pour the filling into the pastry case, sprinkle the seeds on top and bake in the oven set at gas 5/190C/375F for about 45 minutes until the filling has set.