Gimme Five! Things for Bonfire Night

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Five things for Bonfire Night | H is for Home

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! 🙂

  1. Small gold indoor sparklers – tube of 10: £3, Paperchase
  2. B is for Bonfire alphabet silkscreen print by Sarah Young: £19, Notonthehighstreet
  3. Bonfire kit: £60, Garden Trading
  4. 1950s print of children & penny Guy: £15, Etsy
  5. Original cinder toffee: £8.50 Fortnum & Mason

Banana Parkin

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sliced banana ginger parkin on a vintage wooden chopping board alongside a vintage tiered cake tin

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!

sliced banana ginger parkin on a vintage wooden chopping board sliced banana ginger parkin on a vintage wooden chopping board

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.

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The method I used was taken from The Great Big Cookie Book by Hilaire Walden.

ingredients to make banana ginger parkin sitting on a vintage wooden butchers block

Banana parkin

Yield: Makes 26

Banana parkin


  • 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Grease & line an 18cm x 28cm / 7” x 11” tin.
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger, then stir in the oatmeal.
  3. 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.
  4. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for about an hour until firm to the touch.
  5. 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.

sliced & buttered banana ginger parkin on a plate with a mug of tea

Perfect with a mug of strong (Yorkshire or Lancashire) tea!