Chilli Con Carne
A staple in the winter months, there’s nothing like a hearty bowl of chilli on crisp evenings. Simple to make in large quantities and easy to adapt for vegetarians, it’s a perfect option for bonfire gatherings. Load up on the spices for an extra warmth factor, slap on a dollop of melted cheese or sour cream, and serve with rice or jacket potatoes.
Speaking of, there is just no Bonfire Night without the starchy goodness of potatoes — filling, simple and (quite literally) cheap as chips. Sweet potato fries or loaded skins are a great option for easy finger food, but baked jackets are the most traditional bonfire fare — wrap them in foil and chuck them on the fire for a perfect fluffy centre and crispy shell, and serve with a dollop of butter or some cheese.
Stew Or Casserole
Another warming winter wonder, there’s no beating a hearty bowl of stew or casserole to enjoy around the bonfire. Stick to thick, rich gravy bases, chunky root vegetables and dark meats such as beef or lamb, or opt for a crowd-pleasing, traditional bonfire dish like sausage casserole and mash.
Soup and Crusty Bread
Fill a large mug with thick, steaming soup served with a chunk of crusty bread for an easy, delicious and filling meal to keep the chills away. In the wake of Halloween, pumpkin soup is a great, rustic flavour, as is butternut squash, carrot and coriander or winter vegetables — either that or just stick to a good old-fashioned flask of Bovril, hey Northerners?
Roast Pork Sandwiches
The humble roast pork sandwich (or hog roast, for those who don’t mind looking their food in the face) is classic fodder at every Christmas Market in the country, so why not also enjoy one on Bonfire Night? Pile generous helpings of pork into your bread roll (please note, brioche buns are a capital offence in this scenario) spread with apple sauce and sage and onion stuffing, and don’t forget the crackling.
We’ve already covered the sausage casserole, but whatever form your bangers choose to take, they are an absolute bonfire necessity. Bangers and mash with a nice onion gravy are a popular option, though not necessarily the easiest food to eat around the fire. For that end, you can’t go wrong with a nice hot dog loaded with tomato sauce — proper sausages only, mind, nothing from a tin.
Nowhere in the modern history of Britain has anyone attempted to hold a Bonfire Night party without providing the customary toffee apple (candy apples, to any Americans present). While you can always buy yours in a shop, making your own is a great way to experiment with additional toppings — try chopped nuts, hundreds and thousands or mini marshmallows on yours. As an added bonus, toffee apples are a great opportunity for your own dastardly Guy Fawkes plot — simply substitute an apple for an onion, sit back and enjoy.
A traditional bonfire treat from Yorkshire and Lancashire, parkin is a sticky, spiced gingerbread cake made with black treacle. Apparently Guy Fawkes Night in Leeds was actually once known as Parkin Day, such is its popularity there. This warming cake goes great with a mug of mulled wine or a hot toddy — Southerners are definitely missing a trick here.