Category Archives: Food

BONFIRE NIGHT FOOD – VEGETARIAN STYLE

Today, food is more than just something we throw onto a plate and hope for the best; it is communal and brings people together more than anything else and coupled with pyro, you are onto a winning team.

As a lover of everything, including meat and fish, many are stuck for what to make for those who are vegetarian or indeed vegan so here I have a DELICIOUS recipe for kebabs which everyone will enjoy. The recipe is there to be expanded on and indeed if you don’t like a particular element, replace it with something else like cherry tomatoes or even sweet potatoes which would just need a few minutes of par boiling beforehand for a lovely alternative.

This recipe will make 8-10 kebabs (depending on the size of the skewers and of course the veggies!)

You will need:

8-10 KEBABS SKEWERS (SOAK IN WATER FOR AN HOUR BEFOREHAND)
2 PACKS HALOUMI CHEESE CUT INTO 16 CUBES (IF VEGAN, CHANGE TO TOFU)
2 RED ONIONS
2 LARGE COURGETTES
2 LARGE PEPPERS
16 MUSHROOMS (AS CLOSE TO THE SAME SIZE AS POSSIBLE)
PREPARE THE VEG BY CUTTING THE ONIONS, PEPPERS AND COURGETTES INTO 16 EQUAL PIECES

For the marinade:

4 FINELY CHOPPED SPRING ONION
6 CLOVES OF GARLIC
4 TSP GROUND ALLSPICE
1 TSP SMOKY PAPRIKA
½ TSP CAYENNE PEPPER
1 TSP BLACK PEPPER
1 TSP GROUND CINAMMON
½ TSP NUTMEG
4 TSP DARK BROWN SUGAR
2 TSP SALT
4 TBS OLIVE OIL

To make the marinade, put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend together if possible but it can be done straight into the bowl if you don’t have one to hand.

Put all the veggies, cheese and marinade into a large bowl and pour the marinade over ensuring all the items have some of the marinade over them and cling film and put into the fridge for up to 3 hours (1 hr min).

Once marinated, take the bowl and gently thread one of each item onto the skewer until it is full and continue until you have used all the cheese and veggies (cheese, onion, pepper, courgette, mushroom … repeat!) you are ready to cook them.

Brush each kebab skewer with oil and place onto the grill, taking care to turn regularly to avoid burning. They should be ready in around 5-7 minutes (depending on how much you have packed onto your skewers of course).

Serve with warmed pitta bread and some spicy mayo (you can buy dairy and egg free mayo from most leading supermarkets for vegans). The mayo I use is a simple mixture of mayo and hot sauce and drizzled over the kebabs is simply yummy.

For dessert, I would highly recommend chocky pops which are made with popcorn, chocolate and of course marshmallow but no dairy required (Green and Blacks organic chocolate is dairy free) and are fun, tasty and great for the whole family.

marinating kebabs

SPICY LENTIL SOUP

You will need:

4 TBS VEGETABLE OIL (YELLOW BEAN IS THE BEST)
8 CLOVES OF GARLIC
2-3 CM PIECE OF FRESHLY PEELED GINGER
2-3 RED CHILLIES (DEPENDING ON HOW SPICY YOU LIKE THINGS)
4 LARGE TOMATOES CHOPPED FINELY
4 LARGE ONIONS FINELY CHOPPED
2 STICKS OF CELERY FINELY CHOPPED
400 GMS OR 1LB OF GREEN OR PUY LENTILS (THEY KEEP THEIR SHAPE WHEN COOKING)
1 TSP PAPRIKA
1 TSP GROUND TURMERIC
1 TSP GARAM MASALA
½ TSP FENUGREEK
½ PINT VEGETABLE STOCK
1 TSP SALT
½ TSP BLACK PEPPER

METHOD

Using a food processor, blend the garlic, chilli and ginger into a paste.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chopped onions, salt and pepper and cook gently until the onions are see through and then add the garlic, chilli and ginger paste and the spices and cook for a few minutes until you are left with a spicy onion paste add the chopped tomatoes, celery and the lentils (which should be rinsed and drained thoroughly beforehand) and then add the stock. Cover and leave cooking until the lentils are tender. Serve piping hot with a little chopped coriander.

This is a delicious, vegan dish which will be a delightful warming soup for your guests and one of my family’s favourites.

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CRUNCHY FLAPJACK SQUARES

The traditional ‘sweets’ for Bonfire Night are of course Bonfire Toffee, Toffee Apples and Parkin and of course, no self-respecting Bonfire Night would be complete in some areas without delicious pie and peas.

But if you are struggling to keep the sugar content of your children’s snacks down, this is a great alternative with a healthy twist, that they will absolutely love – and, they can help in the making too!

Home made flapjack

This recipe makes 24 bars:

You will need:
8 TABLESPOONS OF COCONUT OIL (VEGETABLE OIL/RAPESEED OIL CAN BE SUBSTITUTED)
180 ML HONEY
2 OUNCES LIGHT MUSCOVADO SUGAR
12 OUNCES OATS (12 OZ)
2 OUNCES SESAME SEEDS or CHOPPED WALNUTS/HAZELNUTS
2 OUNCES DESICATED COCONUT
4 0UNCES DRIED CHOPPED APRICOT PIECES (CHOPPED FINE)
2 OUNCES CHOPPED DATES
4 OUNCES SULTANAS
2 OUNCES GLACE CHERRIES (CHOPPED)

1 large heavy bottomed pan
2 greased oven trays (min ½ inch deep)

Melt the coconut oil, sugar, and honey in the saucepan – heat until melted then add all the remaining ingredients and stir well. Press into the two greased trays and bake for 20-25 minutes at Gas Mark 4 (180° C fanned or 350° F) until golden brown. Once removed from the oven, score where the squares are going to be and allow to cool enough to touch (not completely cool or you will not get them out!) Remove from tray once able to handle and leave on a wire tray to cool.

They will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.

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Bonfire Cake

There are of course a myriad of Bonfire Night Cake recipes about but personally, I am all about speed and efficiency and of course letting the children join in the fun. As a child, I spent many hours baking with both my grandma’s and my grampy (grandfather) who were all cooks in their day-to-day lives, one in service, one at the hospital and grampy a cook in the merchant navy so we were always about food.

This brilliant little cake takes little or no time to prepare and is messy fun at its best.

INGREDIENTS

1 large swiss roll
Breadsticks
Chocolate finger biscuits (you could also consider using kit kat, Mikado sticks or matchmakers)
Red and yellow roll out fondant icing
Chocolate butter cream

First of all, make the buttercream. This is fun. Put all the ingredients into a large deep bowl (or if you are working with young children, it will be everywhere) and whisk until all combined and smooth and leave to chill.

Cut your swiss roll up into 1 cm rings and pile into a pyramid type shape which will be the base of your bonfire cake.

Then, using a spatula or a spoon, smooth the creamy rich buttercream over the top making a small peak at the top.

Now, start creating the structure by sticking the ‘wood’ in the form of the choc fingers and pieces of breadstick. Don’t forget to put some round the base of the bonfire!

Now, get the little ones to roll out the icing and cut into flame shapes and add to the bonfire. Of course, this is meant to be eaten and fun too so it doesn’t matter much about the artistry but it will taste brilliant and it’s a great way of entertaining children when the nights are drawing in.

There you have it, Bonfire Night.

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