Here’s some Bonfire Night recipes to warm your soul this winter
I don’t think I am alone when I say I love Autumn and there are an abundance of reasons why – some people enjoy getting their favourite hat, scarf and gloves out and getting wrapped up; some like the early dark nights and getting cosy at home with their favourite comfort food and Bonfire Night recipes; some relish at the thought of long walks wading through rusty-coloured leaves. For me, it is all of the above, and the nostalgia that this time of year brings.
As a child, Bonfire night consisted of the same thing every year and I loved it! All my family would gather at my grandparents house, where my Nan and Grandad would have spent the afternoon preparing and cooking. My Grandad would make his signature chicken curry with jacket potatoes, or home made burgers served with Tzatziki (a Greek yogurt based dip), and Nan would make beef lobby or lamb stew with dumplings, and for dessert, there was always treacle toffee, peanut brittle and toffee apples. After we had eaten, my Grandad would always put on a make-shift firework display followed by sparklers! That is Bonfire night in a nutshell for me.
I imagine some of the above is standard for most people, especially the types of foods that we eat, so here are a selection of our favourites – enjoy a modern twist on classic Bonfire Night recipes.
Pesto and goats’ cheese mushroom burgers with caramelised Shallot topping
Perfect for a quick and easy vegetarian supper, the caramelised shallots make a really tasty topping.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 large Portobello mushrooms
8 shallots, peeled and quartered
4 tbsp vegetarian pesto, plus a little extra
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp sugar
85g round soft goats’ cheese
2 ciabatta rolls
What to do:
- Pre heat oven 200c/180c fan/gas 6. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and chop them very finely. Finely chop one of the shallots and mix it, and the chopped mushroom stalks, into the pesto. Place the whole mushrooms gill side up on an oiled baking tray, fill with the pesto mix and cook for approximately 15 minutes until softened.
- Whilst they are cooking place the shallots in a pan with the olive oil and sugar, cook over a low heat until softened and lightly caramelised.
- Top the mushrooms with the goats’ cheese and return to the oven alongside the ciabatta for a few minutes until the cheese is beginning to melt and the bread is warmed through.
- Serve in the split ciabatta topped with the shallots and an extra drizzle of pesto.
Cook’s Tip: The goats’ cheese can be replaced with gruyere or any other easy to melt cheese. Serve with a rocket and watercress salad tossed in a little lemon juice and olive oil.
South Indian Style Chicken Curry with Shallots
This fiery curry is softened by the sweetness of the shallots and the coconut milk. Shallots do not need to be cooked thoroughly like onions and lend themselves extremely well to Indian spices.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
3 green finger chillies, roughly chopped
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp root ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ tsp salt
10 shallots, topped, tailed and cut in half
4 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
6-10 curry leaves
500g boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4cm pieces
200ml coconut milk
Plain basmati rice, to serve
What to do:
- In a blender or with a pestle and mortar, blitz the chillies, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, salt and two shallots with 1 tbsp of the oil and 2 tbsp cold water to make a coarse to medium paste.
- In a bowl combine the chicken and the spice paste so all the chicken pieces are coated, allow to marinade for 20 minutes or longer if possible.
- Heat the remaining oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the curry leaves and cloves and fry for a minute. Then add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes until the spices become fragrant (leave the remaining paste in the bowl for later).
- Tip in the remaining shallots and continue frying for 10-12 minutes until they are lightly brown on the outside. Pour 100ml cold water and the coconut milk in the bowl with the remaining spice paste and combine.
- Pour over the chicken and mix well. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Serve hot with plain basmati rice.
Winter Stew of Fenland Celery, Chorizo & Cannellini Beans
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus soaking the beans overnight
Cooking time: Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, sliced
250g chorizo, cut into 2cm slices
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ head Fenland celery, each stalk cut into 3 pieces, plus a few leaves for garnish
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
500g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water
2 bay leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
What to do:
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the shallots until soft and translucent but not coloured at all.
- Add the chorizo, turn up the heat a little and continue frying until the chorizo and shallots are lightly caramelized.
- Add the garlic, smoked paprika and Fenland celery and fry for a further minute before pouring in the stock.
- Finally add the drained beans and tuck in the bay leaves. Bring up to the boil and simmer steadily until the beans are soft and tender. This could take anything between an hour and an hour and a half depending on the dryness and age of the beans. Keep an eye on it and add a little cold water if it looks a bit dry at any stage.
- When the beans are cooked, stir through the flat leaf parsley and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve in deep bowls scattered with a few celery leaves.
Toffee BerryWorld Cranberry Puddings
Not quite as rich and sweet as sticky toffee puddings but just as delicious. Ideal for a quick weekend pudding any time of the year
Serves: 4-6 (depending on size of pudding basins)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
For the cake:
- 110g/4oz butter, softened
- 175g/6oz soft light brown sugar
- 2 free range eggs
- 1tsp vanilla essence
- 110g/4oz wholemeal self-raising flour
- 50g/2oz cranberries, chopped
- 1-2tbsp milk
For the sauce:
- 110g/4oz cranberries
- 4tbsp water
- 110g/4oz soft light brown sugar
- 25g/1oz butter
- 50ml/floz double cream
What to do:
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas Mark 4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then blend in the eggs, vanilla, flour and cranberries, adding a little milk if necessary to give a fairly soft consistency.
- Spoon the mixture into lightly greased individual pudding basins. Cover each loosely with a piece of greased greaseproof paper. Place on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes until well risen and just firm.
- For the sauce place the cranberries in a saucepan with the water and sugar and heat gently until the cranberries pop and burst and the sauce reduces a little. Stir in the butter and continue for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and becomes slightly syrupy.
- To serve turn out the puddings and pour on a little of the cranberry toffee sauce. Serve with thick cream or ice cream and the rest of the sauce.
To cook one large pudding you will need 1.2litre/2pint basin lightly greased. Cover with greased greaseproof paper and tie with string. Allow 1½ -2 hours traditional steaming in a large pan of simmering water, topping up with extra water occasionally.
Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date with all the latest news, reviews, events, competitions and more from Staffordshire Living. Or have your say on this article by commenting below.