It’s a busy week for celebration – Halloween has just departed and in three days time it will be Bonfire Night. These autumnal feasts are exciting & atmospheric… and feature all kinds of distinctive food, drink, decorations, costumes, fire crackers and sparklers. Outdoor fun for kids – big & small.
Remember, remember the 5th of November – here’s our Etsy selection!
Curated by H is for Home
Plot toffee otherwise known as bonfire toffee is a traditional Yorkshire sweet eaten in the autumn around Halloween and – you guessed it – Bonfire Night!
It’s called Plot toffee after the Gunpowder Plot. It’s referred to by different names in different parts of the country; loshin du or taffi triog (Wales), Tom Trot (Yorkshire), claggum, clag or clack (Scotland).
Some recipes include a little milk and malt vinegar like this one I’m using from A Yorkshire Cookbook by Mary Hanson Moore. Others I have come across include ginger, cayenne pepper and even chilli powder.
Cakes & Bakes: Plot toffee
- 225g Demerara sugar
- 55g black treacle
- 55g butter
- 2tsp water
- 2tsp milk
- 2tsp malt vinegar
- Bring all the ingredients except the vinegar to the boil stirring constantly
- Boil gently for 15-20 minutes, still stirring, until the mixture becomes brittle when a small piece is dropped into cold water. Even better, if you have a jam thermometer the temperature needs to reach the hard crack stage of 149-154°C / 300-310°F
- Stir in the vinegar and then pour into a well-greased tin
- When nearly set, you can score it deeply into squares. Alternatively, allow to cool and give it a bash with a toffee hammer
- Store in an airtight jar or container
Tonight is Halloween, but next week is a celebration that’s a lot more home-grown – Bonfire Night. We prefer Bonfire Night to Halloween; the history, the spectacle of the fireworks, the comfort food like black peas (a Lancashire tradition), parkin and bonfire toffee.
When last have you seen a group of kids asking for, “A penny for the Guy?”? Perhaps it’s not as economically viable an option as “Trick or treat?” has become! 🙂
- Small gold indoor sparklers – tube of 10: £3, Paperchase
- B is for Bonfire alphabet silkscreen print by Sarah Young: £19, Notonthehighstreet
- Bonfire kit: £60, Garden Trading
- 1950s print of children & penny Guy: £15, Etsy
- Original cinder toffee: £8.50 Fortnum & Mason
With it having been Bonfire Night on Saturday, here’s a gorgeous vintage Brock’s Fireworks advertising poster that will blow you away! ☺
I opened the car’s glove compartment yesterday in search of a CD… but came across a couple of “past their sell by date” bananas instead. They’d been put there a few days earlier as an “on board” snack for a trip we’d made to Penrith. Rather than throw them out (or giving them to Fudge as a treat) I decided to make some banana parkin… with a ginger twist!
Parkin is a cake traditionally eaten in the autumn – and especially on Bonfire Night. It’s very popular, and thought to have originated, in the north of England – probably Yorkshire or Lancashire.
The method I used was taken from The Great Big Cookie Book by Hilaire Walden.
- 200g/7oz/1¾cups plain flour
- 10ml/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 10ml/2tsp ground ginger
- 150g/5oz/1¾cups medium oatmeal
- 60ml/4tbs muscovado sugar
- 75g/3oz/?cup margarine
- 150g/5oz/?cup golden syrup
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Grease & line an 18cm x 28cm / 7” x 11” tin.
- Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger, then stir in the oatmeal.
- Melt the sugar, margarine and syrup in a saucepan over a low heat, then stir into the flour mixture. Beat in the egg and mashed bananas.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for about an hour until firm to the touch.
- Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out and cut into squares. (I made mine in a loaf tin, so I cut it into slices).
Parkin improves with age and, if stored in an airtight container, keeps for a couple of months.
Perfect with a mug of strong (Yorkshire or Lancashire) tea!