Warming food for bonfire night

Bonfire night, or Guy Fakwes Night, is soon upon us and there are a few personal food favourites that I have always associated with a raging bonfire and fabulous fireworks. Surprisingly a lot of traditional bonfire night fare originates in the north of England but I am sure they can be safely exported south if need be.

Parched peas

Also known as black peas or pigeon peas. These are similar to the Northern mushy pea but with a slight peppery taste.

Simply soak the dried peas overnight, or preferable 24 hours, slow cook in water as you would dried beans for about an hour until soft but with a bit of bite. They form their own liquor so add more water as needed.

Serve, as they used to do in my local northern marketplace in paper cups adding salt and vinegar to taste

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Baby baked potatoes (A great accompaniment to parched peas)

These are ideal for warming cold hands. Simply bake baby potatoes in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes, or until soft and serve in individual paper bags with salt, butter, mint sauce or simply on their own. The better the potato used, the better the taste


Dark and gingery, I always associate this cake with bonfires.

225g self-raising flower
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 lightly beaten egg
115g caster sugar
60g butter
115g golden syrup
225ml milk

Sift flour, ginger and bicarb into a bowl, add egg and caster sugar, stirring well as you go.

In a saucepan melt the butter and syrup gently stirring to mix, remove from heat and stir in the milk.

Stir the syrup mixture into the bowl of egg and flower stir until smooth and pour into a 25 x 18 cake tin (or similar) which has been lined with greaseproof paper

Bake in a preheated oven, set to 150 degrees, for about an hour until the mixture shrinks away from the side of the tin

Remove from oven, place on a rack and allow to cool

Cut into 8-10 small squares to serve

Toffee apples

These always remind me of bonfire night and funfairs

To make
6 apples
Toffee coating
225g Demerera sugar
110ml water
2 tbsp golden syrup
25g butter
Half tsp vinegar

Dissolve sugar in the water on a moderate heat. When dissolved stir in vinegar, syrup and butter.

Bring to boil and cook for around 10 minutes. Test if ready by dropping a little into a bowl of water, it should harden into a ball when ready

With the mixture still cooking, pierce an apple with a wooden stick (lolly sticks are ideal) and dip into the mixture, turning so the apple is coated

Place on a lightly oiled tray before serving  

Mini pies for one

These are ideal for cold nights. Simply make mini-versions of your favourite pies (made the size of mince pies, but savoury like steak and kidney pie)
Ideal cold night finger food