Now I remember Bonfire night from when I was a kid. My mother always made a meat and potato pie which seemed to be traditional where I originate from (Lancashire ... I think my user name might be a clue) - she used a cheap beef cut like skirt, diced and cooked in a bowl in the oven with diced onion and sliced carrot seasoned with salt and pepper. When the meat and vegetables were cooked, she'd add diced potatoes (not into cubes but by holding the potato in one hand and then "chipped off" / sliced off pieces with the knife in the other hand straight into the dish) When the potatoes were cooked, she'd then put a suet crust on top ... this not only soaked up some of the water and meat juices and reduced the remaining to a thicker consistency, but the crust coated with the juices that boiled over gave it a lovely taste. She would serve it with cooked red cabbage and pease pudding. A bit old fashioned by today's expectations.
I don't usually bother with the cabbage or pease pudding and instead add a handful of frozen garden peas to the meat and potato pie when it is cooking. In addition, unless you shop at a proper butcher's, getting hold of skirt or other cheap cuts at a supermarket is unheard of so usually I have to make do with braising or stewing steak instead. Doesn't quite have the same taste as slow cooked skirt.
I suppose sausages have become the normal choice ("bangers") but instead of frying, grilling or having a bbq, I'd be more inclined to use them in a casserole with apple, carrot and onion (or sliced leek) with herbs and thicken the cooking water with something like a sauce mix or dried soup mix (the other day I was amazed to find these seem to be making a come back on the supermarket shelves - I always thought they made a cheap and tasty sauce for a chicken casserole)
I came across this website for Bonfire night recipes which sound interesting:
Bonfire night beetroot soup
This tasty beetroot soup is quick and easy to make, and an instant warmer when you come in from watching the fireworks
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
500g cooked beetroot (2 packets), cut into chunks
500g of ripe tomatoes, halved
750ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
Salt and pepper
Optional: Double cream
In large saucepan, sweat the onion, carrot and celery gently in the olive oil until it softens. This will take around 10 minutes – be careful not to burn the onions, you are not trying to caramelize them.
When the onions are soft, add the crushed garlic to the pan and gently fry for a further minute and then add the beetroot, tomatoes, stock, balsamic vinegar, and thyme leaves.
Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Using a liquidiser or stick blender, blend the soup until really smooth.
Pour the soup in bowls and serve immediately.
Optional: drizzle a small amount of double cream on top of the soup for some added decadence.
Sausage sandwiches with shallot, fennel and apple slaw
These banger sandwiches are prefect to eat around the fire - indoors or out!
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
4 pork sausages
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 echalion shallots
1 fennel bulb
20ml lemon juice
Small handful of coriander
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 sub rolls
Heat the oven to 220°C. Rub the sausages with a little oil, put on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 25 minutes. Turn once halfway through to ensure they’re nicely browned all over.
In a small, dry frying pan toast the mustard seeds until fragrant. Core the apples, finely slice and cut into matchsticks. Peel the shallots and finely slice. Finely slice the fennel or use a mandolin.
Add to a bowl with the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, coriander, seasoning and mustard seeds. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and mustard.
Partially slice open the sub rolls and toast the insides. Spread each roll with a little of the mustard mayonnaise, top with the hot sausages and the slaw.
If anyone else has any Halloween or Bonfire Night favourite recipes, please do not hesitate to share!Burnt cheesecake with spiced mandarins
Bring your get-together to the sweetest of endings with this showstopper of a dessert
Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour, plus overnight chilling
680g full-fat cream cheese
250g caster sugar
Good pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 medium eggs
300ml double cream
For the spiced mandarins:
2 cans (298g) Del Monte® Mandarin Segments in Juice
4 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
5-6 cardamom pods, slightly squashed
Make the cheesecake the day before you want to serve it. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6 and find a 20cm round springform tin. Take a large piece of baking parchment, more than big enough to line the tin, and scrunch it up in your hands – this makes the paper easier to manipulate. Unscrunch the paper and put it in the tin, using a smaller cake tin to help mould it to the sides. Don’t worry about the creases and wrinkles – these are all part of the look of the cheesecake! If you have a mixer, put the cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla and cornflour into it and beat them thoroughly together. Otherwise, do this in a large mixing bowl, beating until smooth.
Add the eggs and start beating them into the cream cheese mixture, gradually pouring in the cream as you go. If you’re using a mixing bowl, beat in the eggs one at a time before beating in the cream. You want a nice, smooth mixture.
Pour the mixture carefully into the lined tin and transfer to the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the cheesecake is puffed up, very brown at the edges and a rich golden brown in the centre. It should have a slight wobble in the middle still. Take out of the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin – it will sink as it cools. Transfer to the fridge and refrigerate overnight.
While the cheesecake is baking, make the spiced mandarins. Drain the juice from both cans into a saucepan. Add the brown sugar and whole spices and put over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then let the juice come to a brisk simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced and syrupy. Take off the heat, add the mandarin segments and stir gently. Leave to cool then refrigerate.
When you’re ready to serve, carefully remove the paper and transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Serve in slices, with a generous spoonful of the mandarins and their syrup.