Sunday, November 04, 2007



Tomorrow night we celebrate Bonfire Night, one of my favourite times of the year. I love watching firework displays. I also love Parkin and Treacle Toffee, which are traditionally eaten at this time of year. Parkin and Treacle Toffee are as much a part of Bonfire Night as Guy Fawkes himself.

Here's a recipe for Parkin, the traditional cake eaten at this time of year. The recipe comes courtesy of the BBC Food website.

350g/12oz medium oatmeal
175g/6oz self-raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
175g/6oz soft brown sugar
175g/6oz butter
250g/9fl oz golden syrup
50g/2oz black treacle
2 free-range eggs
110ml/4oz milk

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a small, deep baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the oatmeal, flour and ginger in a large mixing bowl.
2. Melt the sugar, butter, syrup and treacle in a bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan over a low heat. Pour the melted ingredients into the flour with the eggs and milk and stir well.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray.
4. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown, but still soft and sticky on top. Reduce the oven to 130C/250F/Gas 1 and bake for a further 30 minutes until firm to the touch.
5. Allow to cool, before tightly wrapping in cling film. Store for at least three to five days to mature.

The origins of Bonfire or Guy Fawkes Night (as it's also known) go back to 1605 when a man called Guy Fawkes plotted with a band of others to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in the "Gunpowder Plot". They were angry at the persecution of Catholics by the King and planned to kill him in the explosion. The group were captured in the cellar of parliament, and executed before they had chance to go ahead with their plan. All over Britain on 5th November, we celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes by having bonfire and fireworks displays and burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Groups of children can be seen with "guys" made out of old clothes asking for a "penny for the guy", a few days before Bonfire Night. Happy Bonfire Night everyone!


Princess Haiku said...

Will you be posting more bonfire photos? It sounds like a great holiday.

Jackie said...

Interesting post. I have a totally different take on fireworks.

Sadly due to owners of pets being irresponsible this can be a nightmare time for animals, many being badly injured or dying in their attempt to escape the noise. Plus most fireworks are made by children as young as five working long hours in India and China.

Why we in South Africa still celebrate it I do not know. Very few even know who Guy Fawkes was.

Thanks for the great Parkin recipe, with a slight change I can make them.

Naomi said...

Yes it is a great holiday Princess Haiku. Unfortunately I'm not very good at night photography. Still practising with my new camera at the moment.

That's a good point Jackie. Fireworks do sell for a lot of money here. Somebody somewhere is making a huge profit from exploiting a young workforce to make them. Pets should always be kept indoors on Bonfire Night and need special care so they are not frightened by the noise. Hope you enjoy the parkin recipe.

Jackie said...

We had Deepavali the Hindu celebration on top of Guy Fawkes. The horrific pictures on the news of all animals injured badly this week has made us get petitions going to stop fireworks imports forever but I know we will lose out due to our strong trading agreements with China and India :(