I love this time of year! Autumn has got to be one of my favourite seasons and I especially love wrapping up warm with hats, scarves and gloves and getting outside to stand around a bonfire and watch an impressive firework display.
In this blog I am going to give you some amazing ideas for celebrating bonfire night with food that is indulgent and fun as well as some hearty dishes all of which are suitable for the whole family to enjoy.
Why do we celebrate Bonfire Night?
If you have an inquisitive child you might be asked this question so here’s a quick history lesson so you can explain what’s going on.
Bonfire night is celebrated in memory of The Gunpowder Plot where a chap called Guy Fawkes was captured in the cellars underneath Parliament when he and his gang attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament to assassinate King James 1st.
They put 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellars to try and cause the fatal explosion but one of the gang sent an anonymous warning to a friend who worked at the houses of parliament, telling him to stay away.
The reason for celebration is the king’s escape from assassination and the reason we have fireworks is because fireworks (also contain gunpowder) but replicate the explosion that may have been experienced back in 1605 if the plot hadn’t of been foiled.
Your child may also ask why it’s traditional to burn a guy on the bonfire. After all, it is a bit bizarre!
Well it’s not clear but history books suggest that this is a tradition that dates back to the 13th century, long before the gunpowder plot where effigies were thrown onto a bonfire to drive away evil spirits.
When I was a child I remember people walking the streets with their Guy Fawkes being wheeled in a wheelbarrow while shouting ‘penny for the guy’ before he was thrown on the fire (and no doubt those pennies would have been spent on sweets!
It’s a bizarre tradition isn’t it? Anyway back onto the main part of the blog.
Celebrate with a bonfire
One of the fondest memories my children (12 and 14) say they have is from sitting around a bonfire with friends and family, enjoying the warmth of the flames on a crisp cold autumnal evening and indulging in some amazing bonfire food.
You should absolutely have a bonfire and create some amazing memories, but remember it’s important to keep our children safe around fire.
Children are fascinated by fire, they see the bright orange flames and enjoy the warmth and so don’t tend to fear fire. Hopefully it goes without saying, but keep a close eye on your children and watch for sparks that can jump out of the fire and onto clothing.
Organised events may be safer because bonfires tend to be cordoned off at a safe distance
Celebrate with fireworks
Just like bonfires children are often fascinated by fireworks. Some are terrified (they are very loud after all) but most are delighted by them. Young babies may need ear defenders.
Fireworks don’t give off heat like bonfires, just produce beautiful patterns in the sky. Therefore children don’t realise that they are hot.
Like bonfires it’s best to observe fireworks from a distance and organised displays will have cordoned off safe distances.
if you’re playing with sparklers make sure that your children wear gloves and hold them well away from their face, at full arm’s-length.
If you are worried you can always place your hand over theirs so that you can move it quickly should your child attempt to bring it closer to them.
Finished sparklers stay hot for a while so have a bucket of cold water on standby to drop them into.
Celebrate with fun foods
Now I’m in no way suggesting the following recipes are healthy, but bonfire night wouldn’t be the same if there weren’t the sweet treats and fun foods of my childhood.
One of the fondest memories I have is making marshmallow rockets with my mum as a young child. This is essentially marshmallows on the end of a wooden skewer dipped in chocolate and dipped again into sprinkles, or even better popping candy!
Here are some other fun foods that I know you will enjoy.
Cinder Toffee – also known as honeycomb. Think of the inside of a crunchie bar!
Parkin – a bit like gingerbread but made with oats. It’s a traditional Yorkshire bake.
Toffee apples – slightly healthy as fruit is involved!!
Smores – basically chocolate and marshmallow melted between too biscuits, totally indulgent!
Chocolate mug cakes – super quick and easy and can be eaten outside straight from the mug.
Rocky Road – I love this Nigella recipe and it’s a great one that children can help with as no cooking is needed.
Bonfire meal ideas
Stuffed baked potatoes – when we had a bonfire at home, my dad used to wrap potatoes in tin foil and bake them in the fire! This recipe bakes them in the oven but I couldn’t not mention this story!
Meat free vegan chili – This warming meat-free dish is one of my favourite comfort foods, it’s lovely on a baked potato and leftovers are perfect warmed up the next day too. Yum!
Bonfire bangers and beans – A sausage casserole with warm cozy comfort food written all over it!
One pan Lamb Stew – this all in one traybake if perfect to prepare ahead and slow cook for a couple of hours while you are out at your bonfire party.
Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup – this is one of my own recipes and is delicious with a chunk of crusty bread.
Bonfire night cosy drinks
Hot chocolate – this is a rich, thick hot chocolate. Definitely indulgent!
Mulled apple juice – spiced with star anise, cinnamon and cloves this is a lovely festive bonfire drink.
Carrot, apple & ginger Juice – the secret to this recipe is blitzing everything at room temperature rather than directly from the fridge.