Known as Alla Helgonas Dag ( All Hallows or All Saints day), Halloween in Sweden is traditionally a time for gathering together and remembering loved ones who have passed away. It is normally celebrated on the Saturday falling between the 31st of October and 6th of November as this was historically thought to be a magical time when people would light fires and candles to appease evil spirits. These days, many churchyards are open late on All Saints Eve so that people can come and light candles to remember loved ones – it is often very beautiful. Some even put on live music in the cemeteries, creating a less sombre mood.
Of course, American traditions have become more common in recent years. Since the mid 1990s, Halloween has been popular with many Swedish kids, who enjoy dressing up in scary costumes on the 31st of October to go trick or treating. Decorations can now be found in shops in the weeks before Halloween and many TV channels will have horror films on repeat. This is also when the temperature really starts to plummet across the country, even in cities further south, so a pumpkin stew, filled with warming spices makes for a perfect, Halloween-themed supper.
Spiced meatball and pumpkin stew
You will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 small pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp each cumin, coriander, ginger and paprika
1 680g jar passata
1 x 395g pack Scan Meatballs
1 400g tin chickpeas
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 tbsp toasted pinenuts
small bunch coriander
couscous, to serve
- In a large pan, fry the onion until soft, about 5 mins. Stir through the pumpkin or butternut squash then add the garlic and spices, frying until the garlic is no longer fragrant – about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the passata and enough water to completely cover the butternut. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the meatballs, chickpeas and pomegranate molasses. Continue to simmer for a further 10-15 minutes, until the butternut is cooked through.
- Finally, scatter the stew with coriander and pine nuts and serve with couscous.