Revolting Recipes

Children’s books are full of wonderful imagery of food. Sometimes silly, sometime mouth watering and sometimes revolting. From the comfort of Winnie the Pooh’s pot of honey to the threat of Snow White’s poison apple, food helps portray the emotion of these stories.

In my daughter’s class they have used Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham to teach the children how to take a responsible risk and try a new food. Just as Sam I am tried in every way imaginable to convince his friend to try the green eggs and ham so do the kids challenge themselves to try new foods. In the end Sam’s friend tried and liked green eggs and ham and my daughter tried and liked mango, pomegranate and tapioca pudding.

Many children’s stories are full of fantasy and weird happening and the food in these stories makes us feel more deeply and helps carries us off to the world of make believe. The Harry Potter books are a good example. The imaginary world created by author JK Rowling would not be complete with out delving into the favorite foods of wizards. Just like Harry, we can’t help wanting to know more about cauldron cakes, pumpkin pasties, chocolate frogs, liquorice wands and of course Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean. And as Ron warns Harry “when they say every flavour, they mean every flavour & you know, you get the ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and marmalade, but then you can get spinach, liver and tripe”.

Another author that often uses food to heighten the impact of his stories was Roald Dahl. Who could not feel for poor Bruce Bogtrotter as the principal made him consume the whole chocolate cake in front of the school in the book Matilda. Or the Peach Juice and Hot Frogs from James and the Giant Peach. Or all the strange treats like Lickable Wallpaper for Nurseries, Eatable Marshmallow Pillows, or Stickjaw for Parents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Roald Dahl’s widow has compiled the scrumptious and wonderfully disgusting dishes from his books into a cookbook called Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes. As Halloween is a great time to try revolting recipes I thought I would share a few from the book. The recipes will definitely spark children’s imagination but most will require adult supervision and help to make. Enjoy!

Hot Frogs

(From James and the Giant Peach)

9 oz ready-made puff pastry 280 g
4 Granny Smith apples (average size so when cut in half they will it inside the template) 4
1 jar of mincemeat or 3/4 cup (175 mL) raisins soaked in orange juice 1
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp (15 mL) milk (for egg wash) 1

For Eyes:

12 raisins soaked in orange juice 12
1 tbsp plain flour 15 mL
1 carton of custard coloured with a few drops of green food colouring 1

Using your imagination, make your own template of a frog, measuring 5 1/2 x 5 inch (13.5 x 13 cm) approx. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll out the puff pastry to the thickness of a two pence coin. With your template cut out as many frogs as possible, approx. 6-7. With a fork gently prick the frogs’ bellies several times. Cut the apples in half vertically. With a melon-scoop or teaspoon, scoop out the core and seeds. Fill each apple-hollow with a generous teaspoon of mincemeat or orange-soaked raisins. Egg-wash the pastry frogs using a pastry brush. Place the apples cut-side-down on the belly of each frog. Position their eyes using the 12 raisins. Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour and place the frogs on it. Bake in the oven for approx. 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is risen and golden in colour. Serve on a pool of warm green custard. Serves 6-7.

Recipe from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes

Hansel and Gretel Spare Ribs

(From Rhyme Stew)

1 1/2 lb American style spare ribs 675 g
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce 15 mL
1 tbsp soy sauce 15 mL
1 tbsp English mustard 15 mL
1 tbsp tomato ketchup 15 mL
1 tbsp honey 15 mL
1 medium onion, finely chopped 1
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the ribs in roasting tin. Mix all the remaining ingredients together and with a knife paste the ribs with the mixture. Place the ribs in the oven and cook for approx. 11/2 hours, turning every half hour, and basting them with juices.

Serves 4.

Note: These must be well cooked and crunchy.

Recipe from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes

Bruce Bogtrotter’s Cake

(From Matilda)

8 oz good quality plain chocolate 250 g
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 175 mL
1 cup white sugar 250 mL
4 tbsp plain flour 50 mL
6 eggs, separated 6


1 cup good quality plain chocolate 250 mL
1 cup double cream 250 mL

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line the cake tin with greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate in a pyrex bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water or on a low heat in a microwave. Mix in the butter and stir until melted. Add the flour, sugar and lightly beaten egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold half of the whites into the chocolate mixture, mixing thoroughly. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites. Cook for approx. 35 minutes. There will be a thin crust on top of the cake and if tested with a skewer the inside will appear insufficiently cooked but don’t worry as this is the character of the cake and it gets firmer as it cools. This cake is deliciously moist and light. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack. When cool enough to handle remove from the cake tin and discard the greaseproof paper. In a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of simmering water melt together the chocolate and cream, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is fully melted and blended with the cream. Allow to cool slightly. The cake is prone to sinking slightly in the middle so place upside down for coating. With a palette knife carefully spread the chocolate coating all over the cake. Allow to set in a cool place before serving.

Serves 1-8!

Recipe from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes

Wonka’s Nutty Crunch Surprise

(From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

7 oz plain chocolate, broken into small pieces 225 g
1/4 cup butter 50 mL
5 tbsp golden syrup 75 mL
3/4 cup rich tea biscuits, finely crushed 175 mL
1/3 cup flaked almonds 75 mL
2 tbsp Rice Crispies 25 mL
a few drops of vanilla

For the nutty Crunch:

1/4 cup flaked almonds, finely chopped 50 mL
1/2 cup granulated sugar 125 mL
2 tbsp water 25 mL

For the Chocolate Coating:

7 oz milk chocolate, broken into small pieces 225 g

Put the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a pyrex bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Alternatively place in microwave oven and cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the almonds, crushed biscuits, rice crispies and vanilla essence and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and press down firmly with the back of a fork, creating a level surface. Allow to cool in the fridge, then cut into bars. Then make the nutty crunch; begin by placing the water and sugar into a small saucepan. Leave on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir, but occasionally swirl the pan around gently. Increase the heat and continue stirring until the sugar caramelizes and turns golden brown, approx. 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the chopped almonds, and working quickly, stir thoroughly and dip one end of the bars in the mixture. Place the bars on a sheet of buttered greaseproof paper to set. Melt the chocolate in the pryex bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, or microwave. Once it has melted, remove from the heat and dip the opposite end of each bar in the chocolate. Leave to cool on a sheet of greaseproof paper or non-stick silicon paper.

Hair Toffee to Make Hair Grow on Bald Men

(From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

1/4 cup unsalted butter 50 mL
1 cup white sugar 250 mL
1 tbsp warm water 15 mL
1 tbsp white wine vinegar 15 mL
2 tbsp golden syrup 25 mL
1/2 cup egg vermicelli (broken in half and cooked) 125 mL

Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pan, stir in the sugar and remove the pan from heat. Add the water, vinegar and syrup and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. DO NOT allow the mixture to boil. Add the egg vermicelli. Place the sugar thermometer into the pan. Now bring the mixture to boiling point and boil steadily for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the thermometer reads 300°F (150° C). Pour the toffee into the greased tin and allow to cool. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, lightly grease your hands with butter. Take two forks and scrape up a few strands of vermicelli. Then using your hands, roll the toffee into a small bite size mound. Repeat. Place on greased try and allow to set. Wrap and twist individually in greaseproof paper, kitchen foil or, better still, cellophane, to prevent them from becoming sticky.


By Dorothy Long, Home Economist