Guy Fawkes night is a British celebration that commemorates the capture of Guy Fawkes, a man who was instrumental in trying to overthrow the king in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. It falls on the 5th of November and is a night filled with bonfires and fireworks, and of course British food. The weather is often freezing, but can sometimes be wet and warm.
No matter the conditions, though, the food is always at the center of the celebrations and is comforting and easy to eat as you're sitting around a bonfire. Bring cheer to the festivities with both traditional and current recipes.
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Bonfire toffee is also known as treacle toffee or plot toffee, and no Guy Fawkes night would be complete without it. Treacle toffee is easy to make but does require caution—the toffee needs to reach incredibly high temperatures so take extra caution in the kitchen, and a good thermometer is required.
The recipe uses black treacle, similar to molasses but less bitter. Mix it with sugar, water, cream of tartar, and golden syrup and boil up to 270 F. When ready, it goes into a prepared buttered pan to cool and set. Ready in 30 minutes.
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Parkin is a bonfire night must, the Yorkshire version of gingerbread. This easy-to-make cake is sticky and moist, with the warm flavors of ginger, nutmeg, mixed spice, and black treacle. It's delicious when fresh, but gets stickier and chewier after a couple of days.
Parkin from Yorkshire is different from other parkin because of the oats in the recipe. Make a biscuit version of Parkin, basically a cookie that will start off firm but will turn sticky as it sits. Ready in 1 hour and 50 minutes.
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Not to be confused with American pancakes, the traditional British flapjack is a soft, chewy, cake-like bar made from oats, fruits, and golden syrup or treacle. These bars are perfect for bonfire night as they can be made in advance, are easy to carry, and are very calorie-dense and nutritious.
The flapjacks are gluten-free and can be dairy-free if you use margarine. Simply melt butter and golden syrup, mix with rolled oats and bake for 25 minutes. Add dry fruits or nuts to make it even more decadent and sweet. Ready in under 30 minutes.
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Nothing is more perfect to eat on a cold night in front of the bonfire than a large mug of warming soup. Soups can be made well in advance, then heated beforehand, and transported in a thermos. Although there is an endless variety of soups, we chose this leek and stilton soup because of the Britishness of the Stilton cheese, a great and flavorful product that has PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and is an ambassador for British dairy around the world.
This hearty soup is silky and creamy thanks to the butter, cheese, and cream, and has a beautifully sweet flavor from the leeks. Bring a crusty bread to the bonfire to serve with this tasty soup. Ready in 1 hour and 15 minutes.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Shepherd's pie is a perfect bonfire night food if you are feeding a crowd. A savory mixture of lamb and vegetables, it's topped with mashed potatoes and baked until a crispy, golden crust forms. For a meatless version, try a vegetarian shepherd's pie. If you'd rather use ground beef instead of lamb, a cottage pie is a similar recipe.
Make a buttery mash with potatoes, butter, and milk, and using lard cook the vegetables and meat until soft. Meaty mushrooms give extra volume and flavor to the mixture. Ready in 1 hour and 10 minutes.
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Easy to make and easy to hold, a pasty is an ideal food while sitting around a bonfire. Cornish pasties are a traditional handheld snack in Britain, originating with the coal miners who couldn't go up to the surface to eat but still needed a hearty and filling meal to keep going with their labor.
A mixture of steak, onion, potato, and rutabaga is wrapped in a tender pastry and baked until golden brown. The recipe uses a shortcrust pastry but you can buy a pre-made dough if you're pressed for time or need to make many of these tasty snacks. For a vegetarian version, try these cheese and onion pasties. Ready in 1 hour and 1 minute.
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Bangers and mash are quite delicious, as well as a quintessential British food. Thick, fat, sizzling sausages with creamy mash and lashings of onion gravy make this dish the perfect comfort food for bonfire night. Bring the mash in a disposable tin, cook the sausages on the open fire, and bring the hot gravy in a thermos, so when it's time to eat, the hot gravy will warm up the mash.
Use any sausage of your liking, make a creamy mash, and prepare a rich onion gravy with butter, flour, broth, and aromatic balsamic vinegar. Ready in 1 hour and 5 minutes.
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Mulled wine is a classic holiday beverage, and what could be more appropriate on a cold night by the bonfire than a mug of hot wine, tinged with spices and sugar? Although there are many recipes and each country has it's own, using different types of liqueurs and spices, the classic mulled wine is perfumed with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and citrus zest.
Choose any wine you'd normally drink with dinner; the better the quality of the wine, the better the mulled wine. Mix all of the ingredients in a pot and let it warm up on a gentle heat; do not let it boil. Ready in 30 minutes.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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These beautiful eggs are perfect for bonfire night. Hearty and nutritious, they are easy to transport and don't need utensils to be eaten. Make one egg per guest, offer crusty bread and mustard sauce, and dinner at the bonfire is served!
Wrap hardboiled eggs in pork sausage, dip in an egg mixture, and roll in breadcrumbs. Bake for 35 minutes. A Dijon sauce and pickles are excellent accompaniments for the eggs. This recipe yields 6 eggs, but double or triple the amounts to feed your guests during the bonfire. Ready in 50 minutes.
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Although most commonly seen during the Christmas holidays, there is nothing like a flaky and warm mince pie for a sweet end to bonfire night. Bite-sized and easy to carry, these pies are the perfect celebratory dessert.
Our quick recipe uses pre-made mincemeat but makes the dough from scratch with butter and flour. Once the dough is kneaded it needs to rest for 30 minutes before rolling it out and making the small pies. Once ready, the pies need to bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Ready in 45 minutes.