Other Bonfire night Traditions

I remember Bonfire Night as a kid, damp, very cold, feet really cold ( no thermal boots or clothing in those days). A Bonfire made from garden rubbish and fireworks. Everyone had their own bonfire and their own set of fireworks. Nowadays, it is deemed unsafe for mere individuals to do this.

Flash back to living in Belgium, for 10 years we hosted a Bonfire Party, for expat families mostly British with kids away at school, but were home for the mid term break. We would have +/- 100 people come. All that they were required to do was to bring a “GUY” ! A guy is more like a scarecrow, a mock up of poor old Guido Fawkes, to be burnt on our Bonfire!

We had 2 Acres of wood Land as out garden, leaves were swept, twigs and branches collected and a huge bonfire was made in a clearing. Himself decamped to a firework factory and I to the butchers to buy an enormous Brisket and tons of sausages.

Brisket slow roasted, pulled and ready to go with coleslaw, baked potatoes , sausages on the BBQ, Popcorn and Toffee Apples.

We always held a “Guy” competition and I am sure we had a prize for the most innovative. Bonfire lit, fireworks let go! I actually think that Himself had more fun than anyone.

The easy thing to make ( without kids around as the toffee gets really really hot) Toffee Apples.

Making simple apples is fine, but have you tried eating one, how do you get your mouth around this toffee. A bit difficult. Maybe OK as an adult but for a child ? The answer is simple. Toffee Apple Slices.

  • 6- 8 apples
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup 
  • It is really useful to have a cooking thermometer to make sure you reach the Hard crack stage.
  • Prepare apple slices by coring them and cutting into thick slices. Add an ice lolly stick or chop stick in one side. Cut a little off one side of the apple so it will stand up.
  • Add the sugar and water to a pan and heat to dissolve the sugar.
  • Once dissolved, add the syrup and check with a sugar thermometer for the temperature to reach 150°C, it is very important for the mixture to reach this temperature to make sure that the toffee is crunchy.
  • Remove the toffee from the heat.
  • Dip the apple into the toffee so it’s fully covered and rest on baking paper or silicone to cool.

An alternative is once dipped in the toffee quickly dip them in some sesame seeds.

Leave to cool before trying to eat ! Store in a cool place

When finished making the apples, clean up is easy, simply add hot water from the tap with a little washing up liquid and bring it to the boil on your stove. This will bring away any toffee stuck on. Then simply tip all into the sink and that’s it ! No need to scrap off the hard toffee

The heat from the boiling water will bring away any stuck on toffee with ease.

Tip the water into the sink, and it’ll pretty much all be gone. When it comes to washing up, you will then just need to wipe it over, rather than scrubbing hardened toffee off.

Just in case you were wondering how we pulled off our large bonfire party! Belgium has different police for different areas. We lived in a cul de sac in a French speaking area, hence French speaking police, BUT to get to our house they would have to traverse a Flemish speaking area. Oh No, not possible! Likewise the Flemish speaking police could not come and scold us as we weren’t in their area !

2 thoughts on “Other Bonfire night Traditions

  1. Ah lots of memories in your blog – we always had homemade tomato soup and baked potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked in the bonfire. Sticky Parkin and toffee apples to finish. Trying to write our name with sparklers while watching the Catherine wheel stubbornly refusing to turn whilst burning the fence !

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  2. Unfortunately days before smart phones or even before we had a decent camera, so not sure where the photos are ( if any exist)! When we came back to the UK after 30 years away, we had a drinks party and these young people came up to us and said “ oh we just loved the Bonfire Parties “ I hadn’t a clue who they were, until Mum appeared, and then I knew ! Fun times indeed!

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