There was a time when Halloween was for one day only, which took you by surprise, necessitating an emergency dash to Aldi for mixed lollies and the two dollar shop for a last minute witch outfit. And, of course, in the dim, dark past of our childhoods, Halloween was a complete non-starter, unless you had exotic American friends who invited you round to bob for apples. (Some of us wish that was still the case, which is probably sour grapes on account of us now being too old to get kitted up, roam the streets and gorge on lollies. If you’d asked us back them whether we objected to the Americanism, commercialism and frank disregard for health that is Halloween’s raison d’etre, I doubt you’d have found us so high-minded.)
Anyway, Halloween has now become a month-long fiesta, taking over our shops and our children’s rodent-like, sugar-driven brains for the whole of October (which on the plus side means that Christmas can’t get a complete monopoly till November, though the trees are already up at Westfield. Madness!).
We don’t really take much notice of Halloween on the Dinner Ladies menu but we do always enjoy a bit of crafty cooking at home, especially when the effort/effect ratio is in our favour. These mini spider pizzas are a cute hand-around for any adults who are trailing the streets, glass of wine in hand, behind their ghoulish offspring and you might even be able to pop one into a post trick-or-treater too. Because on Halloween, pizza = health, right? It’s all relative.
Mini spider pizzas
I won't give precise quantities here because it’s a movable feast depending on how many mini pizzas you’re making. This is not precision cooking. I think you’ll work it out.
Pre-made pizza bases
Black olives (personally we prefer kalamata for the flavour but those pitted Spanish ones make a blacker spider)
Roasted red capsicum (for red back spiders)
Preheat the oven to 200C. With a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of pizza base, about 8 cm in diameter.
Okay, now even though this is very simple, the instructions sound complicated, so bear with me.
Take 3 olives to make 2 spiders. Cut one olive in half lengthways for the spiders’ bodies. Then, with the remaining two olives, cut two narrow rounds from the ends that have the smaller hole to make the two heads. Slice the remainder of those olives lengthways into eight long, narrow legs.
If you’d like to make red back spiders, cut a narrow divot along the length of the body and cut slivers of roasted red capsicum to match.
Arrange your pizza bases on an oven tray. Spread each round of pizza with pizza sauce and top with shredded mozzarella. Build your little spider on top – the body, the head, the little legs and the stripe.
Bake for 5-6 minutes or until browned and appetising. Happy Halloween.