Category Archives: Bonfire Night

BONFIRE NIGHT FOOD

Bonfire Night in the UK is a traditional celebration that goes back 414 years starting out as a signal of gratitude from King James 1st of England following from the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot by Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes and their co-horts in 1605 and it continues to this day.

The food has changed somewhat since the early 17th century but still, the basics of bread, cheese, fish, meat and desserts were simple milk puddings and fruit tarts (apple in early autumn and strawberries and gooseberries in summertime). As a period marked by war, the plague and fire (the Great Fire of London in 1666) it was also the point at which European food hit the tables of the wealthy including the introduction of French and Italian cheeses and wines to eat alongside the huge array of pickles and preserves (pickling was used to keep certain foods available all year without spoiling).

Today’s traditional fayre is usually hot dogs and burgers and of course sticky parkin (we have a great recipe tried and tested)

TOASTED MARSHMALLOW AND GINGER CAKE

First up is a great alternative to Parkin and looks and tastes great.

100g butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
100g dark muscovado sugar
100g black treacle
140g golden syrup
225g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125ml whole milk
3 medium egg yolks, whisked with a fork (save the whites for the icing)

BUTTERCREAM

140g butter – softened
200g icing sugar
4 smalls stem ginger, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp syrup
½ tsp ground ginger

ICING/TOPPING

  • 3 medium egg whites
  • 175g golden caster sugar

METHOD:

Melt the butter, sugar, treacle, and syrup in a small saucepan, whisking until smooth. Set aside to cool for 10 mins. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line a LARGE loaf tin with baking parchment/greaseproof paper.

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, and 1⁄2 tsp salt). Pour in the slightly cooled syrup mixture and the milk, followed by the egg yolks. Whisk until you have a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hr or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin for around 30 mins, then slice off the top to give you a smooth surface. Flip onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment. Leave to cool. It can now be covered with cling film and kept for up to 5 days.

To make the buttercream, put the butter, icing, stem ginger, syrup and ground ginger in a large bowl and blend with an electric hand whisk until smooth.

To make the marshmallow icing (also known as swiss or Italian meringue) put the egg whites (separated when the cake batter was made) sugar, 1 tbsp water and a good pinch of salt into a heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the hot water, and whisk until thick and leaving a prominent trail from the beaters – this will take about 4 mins. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking for another 3 mins until cooled slightly and stiff. Transfer half to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and set aside.

When ready to assemble (cake and meringue cooled) slice the cake lengthways into 3 even layers. On a cake stand or plate, reassemble the cake, with the largest slice on the bottom, layering with the buttercream.

Using a small butter/pallet knife, cover the cake with the marshmallow icing left in the bowl. Use the palette knife to create vertical lines along the edges. Now use the piping bag to pipe spikes of meringue over the top of the cake. Use a cook’s blowtorch to toast the meringue to a golden brown – a few charred patches will add to the effect. Serve straight away or chill for up to 2 days, remove from the fridge 30 mins before serving. We decorated ours with sparklers.

Next up, burgers and dogs! The smell of frying onions is one of those tempting whiffs guaranteed to get the taste buds screaming for fodder. These are my personal favourite go-to recipes for Bonfire Night:

HOT DIGGEDY DAM DOGS

  • 6 large pork sausages
  • 2 tablespoons of oil for cooking
  • 1 large onion finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of grain mustard
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoon tomato relish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Cook the sausages in a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil on a tray in the oven. 200° fan/electric or gas mark 6 for around 10 minutes. Once they are under-way, move the sausages to one side and scatter the finely sliced onions on the bottom and toss in the oil salt & pepper and the grain mustard before putting back into the oven for a further 10-12 minutes until the onions are softened and the sausages cooked through.  They are ready to serve wrapped in a warmed tortilla and a little relish or ketchup mmmmmm….

SMOKED PAPRIKA AND CHEDDAR BURGERS

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 lb minced beef

1 lb minced pork

4 garlic cloves peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons of paprika

1 teaspoon of dried marjoram

1 small very finely chopped chilli (optional)

1 teaspoon ground all spice

10 burger buns

10 slices strong cheddar

Finely sliced lettuce and tomato

Pickle (optional)

2 large red peppers (roasted – recommend scorch all over and pop into a plastic bag to cool a little before peeling off the blackened skin and slicing thinly)

For the relish, mayo, hot sauce, ketchup and burger relish (one dollop of each into a bowl and mix!)

Put the meat, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper, paprika, chilli and spices/herbs and mix together thoroughly. Once combined, make into ten burgers and fry gently in oil/butter on a skillet until cooked through (depending on your taste) on each side and serve on a warmed bun with a slice of cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions with a couple of slivers of the roasted red pepper – simply delicious.

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EASY BONFIRE NIGHT TREATS

Many parents will know that the next Half Term holidays fall at the end of October, just before Bonfire Night so why not make a few delicious treats with them before they return. These recipes are quick and easy and even incorporate fruit in two of them so it’s all GOOOOOD.

It is becoming easier to get fruit and vegetables into children’s diet’s today, but I am really fortunate that my grandchildren love fruit and vegetables and have done since their first food.

Have a go at some of these and let me know what you think. All tried and tested!

CHEWY PEANUT & CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEERIO BARS

INGREDIENTS:

½ ILB SUGAR

4 OZ GOLDEN SYRUP (HALF A CAN OR SO)

1 SMALL JAR PEANUT BUTTER

1TSP VANILLA EXTRACT

4 OZ PEANUTS

1 SMALL PACK CHOCOLATE CHIPS

You will also need a non-stick pan, large bowl, and a deep tray

Method: In a large non-stick pan, put the sugar and golden syrup and melt together until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture is smooth and clear, put in the peanut butter and the vanilla extract. Take off the heat. Into the bowl pour the Cheerios and peanuts and then pour the syrup mixture over and mix together with the chocolate chips. Once combined, spread the mixture into the tray and press down gently and pop in the fridge to set. Once cooled, cut into small bars and they are ready to serve. Guidance video below.

FIREWORK CHOCOLATE COVERED APPLES

INGREDIENTS:

12 SMALL APPLES (KEEP IN THE FRIDGE UNTIL LAST MINUTE TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE COLD – THIS MAKES IT EASIER FOR THE CHOCOLATE TO STICK)

12 WOODEN STICKS

1 KG PLAIN CHOCOLATE

COCONUT, CHOPPED PEANUTS AND HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS

Take the chocolate and break into a bowl and then set over a pan of boiling water to melt gently taking care not to get any of the water into the chocolate. Whilst the chocolate is melting, dry wipe all the apples and push the sticks into the centres, ensuring that it is firmly in place on each apple.

Pop 3 small plates with the decorations on, including one for the coconut, one for the chopped peanuts and the other for the hundreds and thousands. Dip each apple into the chocolate, ensuring that there is a good coverage all round and then dip into the covering of your choice. Keep repeating until you have done all the apples.  Leave them to set (which shouldn’t take long if your apples were cold).  Enjoy!

Guidance video below.

EASY FRUIT ROCKETS

These look and taste great and the fruit you choose is really subjective as there is no point putting bananas on the skewer if you know that your children don’t like them.

You will need FRUIT – I USED WATERMELON, BANANA, AND PINEAPPLE

Wooden skewers

Watermelon

Pineapple

Banana

Whatever your selection of fruit is (the image above is bananas, pineapple, and watermelon but of course, if you can get hold of strawberries, pieces of apple, grapes etc, anything will work for you. Just make sure that you have a selection in bowls in a row and start making your own rockets. Guidance video below.

EDIBLE SPARKLERS

You will need:

1 bar plain chocolate

1 bar white chocolate

Small breadsticks (plain)

Hundreds and thousands

Edible stars (widely available in supermarkets)

Melt the plain and white chocolate in separate bowls over hot water.

Pop the hundreds and thousands and stars into a bowl

Carefully take a breadstick, dip into the melted chocolate and then into the stars mix and stand up in a glass and repeat. Easy to make – great to do with smaller children (my grandson had a great time, but this is like messy play personified!)

Keep repeating until they are all covered. Guidance video below.

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YE OLDE SUSSEX BONFIRE SOCIETIES

The UK has it’s fair share of associations and groups but few can trace their origins back quite as far as the Sussex Bonfire Societies (including parts of Kent).  There are currently 35 operational Bonfire Societies; some are for the whole family whereas some are exclusively an ‘adult’ affair which has been running since the early 19th century.

In the early days, following the actions of Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby, King James created an Act detailed as ‘An Acte for a publique Thanksgiving to God Almighty ever year of the fifth day of November’  in remembrance of the close escape from annihilation of him, his Lords and close relations who were gathered for the opening of Parliament.

In the early days, celebrations were very low key and subdued but became increasingly riotous and were eventually banned by Oliver Cromwell on the creation of the Commonwealth but re-established years later during the reign of Charles II but again, the celebrations were more hit and miss.

Bonfire Societies started initially in response to the burning of 17 protestant martyrs during the reign of Catholic Queen Mary Tudor.  They were originally just a bunch of men who went through the village at leaner times of the year (late autumn and winter) begging for food and where available, alcohol.  However, begging was a criminal offence and as such, to avoid detection, they would dress up as pirates or black up their faces leaving them free to do as they wished.  Hence the reason that today’s Bonfire Societies adopt a specific colour and type of costume ranging from monks and Saxons to jailbirds and Zulu warriors – the list is long and varied.

The members are fiercely proud and work tirelessly from one year to the next in preparation.  The events usually feature an effigy- once upon a time this would have been a very simple ‘guy’ but over the years, this has transformed into something a whole lot more thought-provoking.  Some of the effigies burnt have been controversial including several complaints about burning ‘The Pope’ and the numerous ‘No Popery’ signs carried by the revellers on their respective processions.

Last year some of the societies gained national recognition as they were featured on the BBC News.  Edenbridge B/S (Bonfire Society) burned an 11 foot effigy of the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his infamous mop of unruly hair, cycling helmet, Hawaiian shorts and a couple of red buses for shoes holding aloft an EU cake – the message being that you can’t have your cake and eat it – it seems that this message was not taken to heart as he steams forward with the UK’s plans to leave Europe.

Bonfire Societies across Sussex and Kent have had the proverbial ‘tilt’ at numerous high-profile individuals over the years including premiership footballer Wayne Rooney, outspoken former apprentice participant (and completely hateful woman) Katie Hopkins and even US President Donald Trump.

This year, there will be events from each of the remaining societies starting on 7th September to 16th November.  Here is a list of the dates of each:

  • 7/9/2019 UCKFIELD
  • 14/9/2019 CROWBOROUGH
  • 21/9/2019 MAYFIELD
  • 28/9/2019 BURGESS HILL
  • 5/10/2019 EASTBOURNE
  • 12/10/2019 NINFIELD
  • 19/10/2019 HASTINGS, HAILSHAM AND SEAFORD
  • 25/10/2019 ISFIELD AND LITTLE HORSTED
  • 26/10/2019 EWHURST & STAPLE CROSS, LITTLEHAMPTON, FIRLE, HEATHFIELD
  • 2/11/2019 NEWICK, BATTLE, EDENBRIDGE
  • 3/11/2019 ROBIN HOOD
  • 5/11/2019 LEWES, LINDFIELD
  • 9/11/2019 EAST HOATHLY & HALLAND, CHAILEY, SOUTH HEIGHTON AND RYE
  • 16/11/2019 ROBERTSBRIDGE, BARCOMBE AND NEVILLE

If you do get the opportunity to get to one of the dates, please remember that there are hot tar barrels being corralled up and down the street, fireworks and a torchlit procession and as such may not be suitable for young children.  Furthermore, as a result of their notoriety, particularly since the arrival of social media, these events are getting bigger every year and as they are held in small towns, the crowds can bring about traffic issues so be aware of this before you go along.

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