Surely you don't need me to tell you this, but it's Halloween today. The pagan tradition where snotty kids come round to your house every five minutes, daring you to smell their feet (or give them something good to eat) - I usually opt for the latter.
I am in two minds about this tradition, especially when you see kids dressed up as princesses and pirates, rather than something spooky - don't they know the difference between Halloween and Carnival? There aren't many people around here who could be bothered to carve pumpkins either (and I have to say I haven't done mine yet and am feeling the pain!) and many don't have any treats ready for the children, even though the special offers for fun-sized sweets (buy 17, get one free) are very much in your face at every supermarket. I've had some greedy little buggers come to my door and when they see what we have to offer, they quickly dive into the bowl and run off with a months' provision of sugar... one day I'll be sued for contributing to their cardiac arrest!
But I grudgingly bear it and play along, traditions are something which should be observed and it's fun to follow them even if they're not your own - at least when you have kids.
And while I slave in the kitchen to hollow out that pumpkin before it gets dark, here's a recipe for you to enjoy: pumpkin and chestnut strudel, wonderfully smoky with some roast garlic, spectacularly creamy courtesy of some taleggio cheese and sweet as it should be with roast pumpkin and chestnuts - it doesn't get more seasonal than that!