Shock yourself! – with these Halloween and Bonfire Night recipes with a spooky twist. These recipes are so simple to prepare, you can even get your kids or grandchildren to help you.

We’ve been speaking to the lovely people at Alpro to bring you these fabulous recipes in time for Halloween. Their products are naturally low in saturated fat and the products used here are also rich in calcium and vitamins. They also contain no artificial colours, preservatives or sweeteners. Of course, if you don’t want to use Alpro, then you can choose a suitable alternative – we’ll leave that up to you!

So let’s get down to business…

The Chocolate Mud Pie is served with mini apricot pumpkins, the Pumpkin Soup is obviously crammed full of pumpkin and the Witches Hat Meringues are… well, a little bit of what you fancy does you good – it is party food after all.

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

Makes 4 big bowls

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
700g (1/b 6oz) pumpkin flesh, roughly chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1.2 litres (2pts) water or vegetable stock
200ml (7fl oz) Alpro soya alternative to milk
4 tbsp Alpro soya alternative to cream

For the breadsticks:
4 assorted part baked bread sticks
2 tbsp olive oil

1 Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften.
2 Add the pumpkin and sweet potato and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the water or stock. Season with salt and ground black pepper, cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 mins until the pumpkin and sweet potato are really tender.
3 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan, Gas 6). Cut the bread in half lengthways, then make several cuts one third of the way up the length to look like broom bristles. Repeat with the other bread, put onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 5-8 mins until becoming golden.
3 Stir the Alpro soya Light into the soup, whiz everything together in blender or processor in batches until smooth. Return to the pan, gently warm through to serve. Pour into bowls and finish with a swirl of Alpro soya alternative to cream.

Chocolate Mud Pots with Pumpkins and Ghosts

Serves 4

2 pots Alpro soya dessert, chocolate flavour
8 ready to eat dried apricots
8 white marshmallows

1 Spoon the Alpro soya desserts into 4 small glasses.
2 Use a small sharp knife to cut out triangular eyes and a mouth (as you would carve a pumpkin face).
3 Dip a cocktail stick into the dessert and push twice into the marshmallows, to make eyes.
4 Thread an apricot and a marshmallow onto a cocktail stick. Repeat with the remainder and serve with the chocolate mud pots.

As much as we don’t want to save “bye bye” to the British summer time, we’re going to have to. It’s time to dig out your mittens and brace yourself for colder times.

Treat yourself
Treat yourself with Abahna

It’s also time to start looking after your skin which can often turn really dry in winter months – cold weather coupled with central heating tends to take the moisture right out of your skin.

Why not treat yourself to a nice warm bath? You may want to take a look at these lovely bathing tips too…

  • Try taking a warm bath as a hot one can dry out the skin
  • Soak yourself for up to 20mins then hop out – if you wallow too long then your skin and energy will feel zapped
  • Treat your body to a moisturise after your bath
  • Try to avoid having a bath just before you go to bed – it increases your heart rate and can make it difficult to sleep.

If you’re looking for something scrumptious to make your bath extra special, then why not splash out on a few “Abahna” products? We’re loving them this month – from their bath oils, to bathing ritual boxes. What’s great is that they have taken gorgeously scented pure essential oils and combined them with organic botanical extracts to create natural, UK made products.

If you’re in to your food then you simply can’t miss one of the best organic food festivals around.

Guys working on their 5 a day
Guys working on their 5 a day

Taking place at Bristol Harbourside on 12th – 13th September 2009, the purpose of this year’s festival is to bring a focus back to the local community and to introduce more people to the organic pioneers who are growing, sewing, cooking and making in a way that is truly sustainable.

The festival, which is the biggest organic event in Europe, promises to be a weekend of gastronomic proportions thanks to 250 organic exhibitors, support from the Soil Association, Yeo Valley Organic and work in collaboration with Dominic Phillips Event Marketing.

As well as seeing celebrity chefs in action, an expected 20,000 visitors will discover a world of delicious organic food and drink, gorgeous skin care, fabulous fashion, organic textiles, home design and even get some tips on organic gardening. Promising to be an entertaining family-friendly outing, this much loved festival is perfect for everyone.

Sarah Weiner, Festival Manager, said:

“The Organic Food Festival gives thousands of people the chance to meet the pioneers paving the way to a secure food system – one that is dependent on the sun rather than dwindling reserves of petroleum. The future is here – and it tastes mighty fine.”

To find out more about this year’s Organic Food Festival, visit www.theorganicfoodfestival.co.uk.

Admission is £5 of which £1 is a direct donation to the Soil Association. Free admission to Soil Association members and children under 16

When you buy organic, you want to make sure that that you’re making the right choice. This is why the Soil Association has proudly announced a new EU-wide, harmonised standard for organic health and beauty products.

 

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New organic standards come in to play

At a time when the organic health and beauty market is experiencing extremely significant growth – in 2008 UK sales of organic health and beauty products increased an impressive 69% to £27 million – it’s important that we are clear on what we’re buying.

Francis Blake, director of Soil Association standards said:

“This new harmonised standard is a real breakthrough for consumers and for the organic health and beauty industry and we hope it will be used as an international blue print. Application to use this standard is open to all certification bodies as of 30 Sept 2009.”

The new ‘COSMOS-standard’ is a result of six years work in collaboration with five other European organisations. It also covers the regulation of ‘natural’ cosmetics. The objective of this new standard is ambitious and goes beyond all current requirements for organic and natural cosmetics.

Current organic brands will have a 3-year transition period [up to September 2012] if they need to alter formulations and labelling. Any new organic brands will have to adhere to these new standards immediately. So watch out for new little labels on your products meaning your safe in the knowledge that they’re making your skin wonderfully gorgeous.

Why go organic?

Safety

For products to use the term ‘organic’ they need to be certified by the Soil Association or a similar organisation. The SA very careful with the products certified, and if there is any doubt about an ingredient it is banned – so no parabens, no phthalates and no GM ingredients. Meaning lovely skin all around!

Avoid irritation

Synthetic fragrances, which have been found to cause a third of all cosmetic allergies, are banned,

‘Cocktail effect’

You don’t need a lot. Cut down on the products that you and your family use. Much of the concern is about the ‘cocktail effect’ of chemicals in the different products that we use. Many women are using over 20 different products a day, bombarding themselves with hundreds of different chemicals.

Trust

Look for the Soil Association symbol on organic products to ensure that they meet strict organic standards.

No need to compromise

Delicious balms, gorgeous lotions and beautiful baby products are all widely available and perform so well that there is no need to compromise on performance to become an organic beauty.