Recreate the best of heart-warming Bonfire Night food

Remember, remember, the 5th of November…

Amid a global pandemic, national lockdowns and changing regulations, remembering life as it was is becoming harder.

But here at Camseng, we know how important it is to hold onto traditions in an ever-changing world. One of those traditions is Bonfire Night – an early winter festivity, dear to many in the UK.

Although lockdown has undoubtedly put a damper on our celebrations, Camseng is here to offer ways to enjoy Bonfire Night and its traditional foods from home.

First, let’s remind ourselves of the story behind the celebration…

Bitesize History of Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes Night) marks the anniversary of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. This attempt is commonly known as the Gunpowder plot. A group of Catholic plotters, led by Guy Fawkes, planned to blow up King James I and his government by placing barrels of gunpowder in the cellars underneath the Houses of Parliament in London.

However, a warning letter reached the king in time and the plot was thwarted. The gunpowder plotters were arrested and executed.

A murderous plot, explosives, executions… The British know how to choose their celebrations.

Celebrating Bonfire Night

Traditionally, in pre-pandemic time, Bonfire Night celebrations include fireworks, sparkles, lighting up bonfires or burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Getting together for garden parties or attending community events with food stalls and rides are also popular activities for Bonfire Night. Some like to even make displays outside their houses that commemorate the Gunpowder plot.

Food, Glorious Food

What is a celebration without food? (Not a very good one, we’ll tell you that.)

Toffee apples, warming soups, baked potatoes, Parkin cake, sausages cooked over a fire and toasted marshmallows are all part and parcel of Bonfire Night.

The best part… You don’t need a food stall to recreate the magic. Bonfire Night’s favourite treats and comfort foods can be made at home, too!

How to Celebrate Bonfire Night at Home

Whether in isolation, shielding or in lockdown, we here at Camseng like to make the most of the situation. There are several ways you can still celebrate Bonfire Night from your home:

• Zoom parties!

Now that we’re all experts in Zooming, it’s time to put those skills in use and host a Bonfire Zoom party for your family and friends. Quizzes, Bingo, Heads Up, or even Charades work well on Zoom and will get everyone laughing! 

• Game night

Get the kids off the screens and have some quality family time with a game night. How about a glow stick treasure hunt in the garden or hunt for marshmallows hidden in the house only using a torch? Or dig out the board games! Pictionary with a Bonfire Night theme, anyone?

• Get your craft on!

Make decorations and pass the time by finger-painting pictures of bonfires, using toilet paper rolls and multicoloured pipe cleaners to make fireworks, or use glitter and paint to make stunning firework pictures to stick on your windows.

Bonfire Night

• Movie Night

Snuggle up on the sofa, turn the lights off and create your own cinema experience right at home! Snacks are of course a must… Make sure you have bowls of toffee popcorn, s’mores, Bonfire toffee and some chocolate fudge within arm’s reach!

• Make a Bonfire Feast for your family

Get the whole family cooking! How about baked potato soup or a sausage stew to ward off the cold? Kids will love making some toffee apples and baking a Parkin cake for dessert. And the best part, you get to enjoy the finished products!

Here is a recipe for a traditional Parkin so you can enjoy the sticky, moist and tasty cake as you celebrate Bonfire Night – lockdown style.

Traditional Yorkshire Parkin

Ingredients:

·         220g butter

·         200g golden syrup

·         110g dark soft brown sugar

·         55g black treacle

·         200g self-raising flour

·         110g medium oatmeal

·         4 teaspoons ground ginger

·         2 teaspoons nutmeg

·         1 teaspoon mixed spice

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         2 large eggs

·         2 tablespoons milk (if needed)

Method:

1. In a large saucepan, melt together the butter, golden syrup, brown sugar, and treacle over a gentle heat. Don’t let the mixture boil.

2. Stir together the flour, oatmeal, ginger, nutmeg, mixed spice, and baking powder in a baking bowl.

3. Gradually add the melted butter mixture, mixing thoroughly with the dry ingredients.

4. Beat in the eggs.

5. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time if the mixture feels dry. Stir well for a soft cake batter.

6. Pour the mixture into a tin (8x8 square tin) and cook for 1 1/2 hours in 275 F/140 C/Gas 1, until firm, set, and a dark golden brown.

7. Remove the Parkin from the oven. Once cool, slice and store the Parkin in an airtight tin for a minimum of 3 days for the best flavour. 

Enjoy and have a great Bonfire Night!

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