I'm back in the Big Smoke. You may remember that I was planning to write about whitebait. I cooked some on Saturday. They were delicious (deep fried in Cayenne pepper, and coated with a dusting of seasoned flour) but the photography wasn't that hot; so as Hallowe'en is almost upon us, I'm going to concentrate on some classic Hallowe'en dishes over the next few days instead. Hallowe'en is interesting. When I was about so-and-so high, it was barely celebrated in Britain; all the emphasis was on Bonfire Night a few days later. In those far off days, Trick or Treating was just not the done thing in Jolly Old.
I suspect that Hallowe'en was originally brought to the United States by Scottish or Dutch settlers in the nineteenth century, became a big deal over there (Hallowe'en post cards were huge in America before the First World War) and then in the last few years with the Americanisation of Europe, came back over here.
Not that I'm complaining. It's a bit like Chop Suey, which, apparently, was re-invented by Chinese immigrants in San Francisco; the European Coffee House in Seattle (er- Starbucks), or the deep-pan "Italian" pizza re-gurgitated in Chicago from the classic Neopolitan street recipe. Old World classics go to America, are re-invented, and then make their way back here with a bit of North American perzazz thrown in for good measure.
Here's a good 'un for the Night of the Living Dead: they're called Devils on Horseback. You get hold of some rashers of streaky bacon and half-cook them under your grill. The night before, you've soaked some dried prunes in water and Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce. Now wrap each bacon rasher around a prune, and fasten with a wooden cocktail stick. You are going to re-grill them, so it's a good idea to soak the cocktail sticks in cold water first- to stop them burning.
Bung them back under the grill, until they are cooked through. Take them out. Season with salt and pepper, and if you're up for it, a further dash of Lea & Perrins. Serve with hot toast and a watercress garnish.
Tomorrow, it has to be about pumpkins- and as I hate the taste of pumpkin, I'm going to have to come up with some palatable ideas fast. Very fast. If anyone out there in cyberspace (especially the dear old U S of A) wants to email me with pumpkin-fest ideas, please do, and if you can persuade me, I'll get your ideas up on the site to share with the rest of the world...