Lockdown midterm guide: Time for some Halloween fun

Round off the week with festive activities and a new spooky instalment of the Babysitter’s Club

Just dropped on Netflix – A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting. Photograph: Netflix

Just dropped on Netflix – A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting. Photograph: Netflix

 

Cook...

Paul Flynn’s Big Night In recipes, inspired by his family, are brilliant for the end of the week. Best of all, the kids can easily help too. Try his daughter Anna’s chicken alfredo pasta

Use skinless and boneless chicken thighs for Paul Flynn’s alfredo recipe. Photograph: iStock
Use skinless and boneless chicken thighs for Paul Flynn’s alfredo recipe. Photograph: iStock

Ingredients

Serves four
1tbsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs, skin and bone removed
400g pasta of your choice
250ml carton of cream
Salt, black pepper and a little nutmeg if you have it
100g grated Parmesan

Method
1
Cut each chicken thigh into three pieces.

2 Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan until gently smoking then add the chicken.

3 Cook for 10 minutes or so until the chicken is golden and crisp. Season with salt and pepper then remove to cool a little and shred with two forks.

4 Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

5 Meanwhile add the butter to the frying pan and scrape the crispy chicken bits from the bottom over a low heat. Add the cream to the pan followed by the chicken and bring to a simmer.

6 Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Season and serve with lashings of Parmesan on top.

Watch...

We like the sound of A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting, which has recently dropped onto Netflix. An action-packed adventure about working together to overcome your fears, it’s a spooky number, albeit with plenty of laughs. When high-school freshman Kelly Ferguson (Tamara Smart) reluctantly agrees to babysit Jacob Zellman (Ian Ho) on Halloween, the last thing she expects is to be recruited into an international secret society of babysitters who protect kids with special powers from monsters. Based on the first instalment of Joe Ballarini’s popular scary book series of the same name, A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting also features Harry Potter star Tom Felton as a boogeyman called The Grand Guignol.

Get outdoors...

Benbulben, in Co Sligo
Benbulben, in Co Sligo

Wherever you live in the country, you are spoiled for scenic walks. Howth Head in Dublin has got some of the best views on the city’s northside; the Sugar Loaf trail in Wicklow is great for walkers of all ages and abilities; the rugged splendour of the Inishowen 100 route in Donegal is definitely the place for regrouping.

Down in Yeats country, a walk in the shadow of Sligo’s mythical Benbulben mountain is a safe bet for a remote gander. If you are based in Galway, head towards the Gurteen beach in Connemara, and make your way to Dog’s Bay; both of which are well-kept local secrets.

Ireland’s most famous fjord can be found at Killary Harbour on the Mayo/Galway border; park the car and hike along the old Green Road, a famine relief route with dramatic views over deep waters to mighty Mweelrea mountain.

Based in Cork? Ballycotton is the perfect winter wonderland. Take a bracing hike along the 8km cliff walk, which leads to the Ballytrasna beach. In Clare, Loop Head is the backdrop to one of Ireland’s most popular walking festivals, and no wonder. Soak up the wild Atlantic scenery on any of these beautiful coastal paths at Kilkee, Kilredauna and Loop head. Take off from the Lighthouse for a 2-hour, moderate hike.

Stretching across Meath and Louth, the Boyne Valley Garden Trail is less than an hour’s drive from Dublin. On the richly historic walkabout, there are several different gardens to explore, including the rose garden at Hamwood House and the Sonairte Eco-centre and gardens. And finally, 20km north of Kilkenny City, you’ll find the Ardra Castle 6km walking trail replete with features, from a rocky waterfall and some expansive forestry, to fishing lakes galore.

Indoor play...

The Bram Stoker festival has moved its activities online, and Curse Hunters, an interactive adventure game found on the Actionbound App, kicks off today (until November 2nd). This activity is designed for kids of all ages, though “curse hunters” aged 6-11 are likely to get the most out of it. The goal is to undo an ancient curse put upon the universe in 2020. An adult can guide young explorers through the missions, from creating toxic elixirs in the kitchen to composing poetry. The event is free but tickets are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are plenty of other family-friendly events happening virtually for the Bram Stoker festival all over the weekend, too. See bramstokerfestival.com for details.

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