John Torode's tips for Halloween feasts

Lily Barclay catches up with John Torode to talk Halloween tricks, pumpkin leftovers and what to serve up on Bonfire Night.

John Torode

How will you be celebrating Halloween this year?

I’m not quite sure, I might dress up as Dracula for Halloween. I quite like dressing up as Dracula.

Any top tips for feeding a hungry crowd in a hurry?

Big trays of cheese scones that are nice and warm from the oven, served with a good soup. Or, for Halloween, you have all the fun stuff like witch's fingers, where you take sausages and dip them in a little bit of tomato ketchup blood and eyeballs made out of meatballs in big pot so the kids have to fish them out.

Have you ever had a spooky experience?

I don’t think I’ve had a spooky experience, I’ve had the odd horrible dream which you wake up from and you think you are going to die.

The spookiest experience I’ve ever had was as a kid when I was playing around in the water doing somersaults and rolling around then suddenly I couldn’t find the top of the water. Then somebody's hand came down and pulled me out. But I’ve never seen a ghost, been in a haunted house or anything like that.

Do you have any top suggestions for using up leftover pumpkin?

Pumpkins that are used for carving often don’t have much flavour, so the best thing to do is to turn them into a curry pumpkin soup. Use an equal quantity of pumpkin flesh and potatoes, add some onions, chuck in some stock and a bit of curry powder, boil it all together and then you can serve it with your cheese scones.

If you could have a magic flask of drink that never ran out – what would be in it?

That’s an interesting one, I think probably Champagne. But pink Champagne please – it brings out the girl in me.

When it comes to Bonfire Night do you stick to traditional bangers or make something a bit special?

I would go for a complete free-for-all, big pots of stew & dumplings and lots of popcorn.

What would you recommend as a homemade sweet treat that’s good on the go?

Americans make something called s’mores when they have a campfire, little bits of biscuits with chocolate & marshmallows spread in them. The word means 'I’ll have some more of them'.

Traditional toffee apple or toffee apple cake?  

Oh toffee apple, that’s an easy peasy one.

When it comes to trick-or-treaters what will you be handing out? 

We always have a big jar of something at the door, of course, but you have to have a few spooky bits as well. There is always something quite fun about opening the door and just screaming and watching the kids run back, although if the little ones cry you know you’ve gone a bit too far.

What are you up to next?

I don’t know, there’s so much going on right now. I’m still doing MasterChef and still working really hard. I’m really excited about going to the Good Food Show on Friday, I’ll be up there cooking and it should be a great day.

The BBC Good Food Show Scotland will run from 18–20 October at SECC, Glasgow

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