In southern Africa lurks a mischievous creature that plays tricks on good people all year round. In Zulu and Xhosa tribal folklore, this "dwarf zombie" is known by many names, but mention "the tokoloshe" and every South African knows exactly what you're talking about.
Rather than a conveniently scheduled night of the year, the tokoloshe doesn't wait for Halloween to play his tricks. Whilst the creature itself can only be seen by children at night, it doesn't discriminate when playing tricks - adults, children and livestock should all be weary, and call the witch doctor when any sightings occur!
Just in case he gets any ideas about Halloween parties, we've make a special supper that would appease scary creatures and refined taste buds alike. Be sure to make the bloodied carrots and teeth frighteningly bright, and you might just ward off any tricks this All Hallow's Eve!
Ingredients, for 4 people
240g Spaghetti al Nero (squid ink pasta)
16-20 baby carrots, halved lengthwise
50g parmesan cheese, cut to 1/2 cm thick slices
100ml beetroot juice, or a small pack of preserved beetroots
For the sauce:
200g Baby spinach, finely chopped
1 large zucchini/courgette, sliced to small chunks
100g feta cheese or tofu
4 tbsp basil pesto
juice of half a lemon
Salt & Black pepper, to taste
Start by making the sauce. In a frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp Avocado or Macadamia oil and lightly stir-fry the courgette and baby spinach until wilted. Stir in the basil pesto, lemon juice, and season with salt and black pepper. Once mixed through, take off heat.
Scoop sauce mixture into a blender. Crumble the feta or tofu into the mixture. Blend until smooth and set aside.
Next prepare the bloodied teeth! First, place a shot glass of beetroot juice aside. If using preserved beetroot, pour off the juices and set aside. Cut the slices of parmesan to rectangles, then halve diagonally to make sharp triangles. Carefully arrange the sharp edges of the 'teeth' in your shot glass of beetroot juice, soaking for at least a minute. Set aside each piece on a rimmed plate with the sharp edges pointing inward, so that the juice runs off to the middle of the plate.
To make the bloodied carrots, bring 1 cup of water and the rest of the beetroot juice to a boil in a saucepan. If using preserves, slice 4 beetroots into thick chunks and add to boiling water. Add the halved carrots to the boiling beetroot broth and cook for 4 minutes, then take off the heat and set aside to cool in the broth.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and cook the black spaghetti to 'al dente' following the instructions on pack. Be careful here not to overcook!
Whilst the pasta is cooking, get your plates ready: spread the green sauce in a gloopy fashion across the plate. Think "splatter and slime"!
Next, using a large fork and spoon, scoop and twist little mounds of pasta on the spoon Italian-style, before placing on top of your green sauce. Build a towering pile of spaghetti for each plate out of 3-4 scoops.
Finally, using the back of a teaspoon, wiggle little holes in the piles of spaghetti for the bloodied carrots and teeth to sit in - sharp edges turned up!
Serve immediately. And tell the kids to be on the lookout for a scary little dinner guest!