Bonfire Night

Bonfire night! I love it! I don’t suppose I’m that bothered about Guy Fawkes etc but I do love sitting out under a starry sky beside a bonfire. We don’t do fireworks as we’re on the farm. Our indefatigable next door neighbour can’t understand why people blow up good money! But we did have sparklers and had lots of stuff to burn from some of our garden activities over the summer. I felt a bizarre sense of satisfaction at burning a particularly prickly bush I’d wrestled with in July. Here is a picture of our fire bin blaze.

We made parkin and cinder toffee to accompany our festivities. Last year’s parkin was dry and stodgy. Big Dreamer was polite about it but would only eat it with custard. This year I opted for Delia Smith and she didn’t fail us. Here is her recipe (or at least my corrupted version of it):

  • 8oz medium oatmeal
  • 4oz SR flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 7oz golden syrup
  • 1oz black treacle plus 1 tsp
  • 4oz marg
  • 4 oz soft brown sugar
  • 2 level tsp ground ginger
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk

Melt the syrups, marg and sugar, but don’t boil. Add this to the dry ingredients. Add the egg, then the milk and bake at 140 degrees C. I have to be careful with Delia on oven temperatures as she puts the fahrenheit temperature first then the centigrade one in brackets. I came a-cropper with my mince meat last year and baked it at 220 degrees centrigrade. My beautiful Le Creuset took a long time to recover from the experience.

I have to say I was disappointed with the cinder toffee and I’m even more disappointed that I have to say that. It’s essentially just sugar and syrup melted up together and then some bicarb added. I don’t know if it’s because I knew the bicarb was there but all I could taste was bicarb and sugar. Do any of you wise folks know if it was my recipe or if that’s just how it tastes? Big Dreamer said he didn’t know what I was talking about so it’s all his as far as I’m concerned.

The best bit of the evening for me was when we were all caught by a strange sound coming through the evening air. We raised our heads and far above us we could see a skein of migrating geese calling to each other. I wondered what their view must be like from up there, of all those bonfires across the country. I don’t suppose they were too keen on the fireworks though.


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