Saturday, 5 November 2011
Remember, Remember the 5th of November.
Tonight is Bonfire Night. A yearly event, on which we here in the UK comemmorate the capture of a mercenary named Guy Fawkes, who infamously tried to blow up Parliament back in the year 1605. His plot failed of course, and he was caught, tortured and executed summarily. Ever since then, every year on the 5th of November, people all over Britain gather together to celebrate this event in style.
Portrait of Guy Fawkes
For weeks now, children and grown ups have been gathering refuse and combustables in order to create a huge bonfire, as well as creating dummies, which are called "Guys," to throw onto the top of the bonfires. Some children even keep up an old tradition of walking in the streets, carrying "the Guy" they have just made, and beg passersby for "a penny for the Guy." The kids then use the money to buy fireworks for the evening festivities.
On the night itself, Guy is placed on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight; and fireworks displays fill the night sky. It's a much bigger night over here than Halloween is.
Traditonally, there are special treats prepared to go along with Bonfire night . . . baked potatoes, sausages, hot soups . . . cinder toffee. It's all good, and hearty fare . . . designed to warm even the most chilled noses, fingers and toes.
Funny how food eaten out of doors and next to bonfires always tastes pretty wonderful isn't it?
Or is it only me who thinks this???
*Cabbage Soup with Cheese*
Serves 4 to 6
My goodness but this is tasty. Just perfect for these cooler autumn nights when one has been out and about in the chill. Makes a sturdy lunch, and a delicious light supper, especially when accompanied with some crusty bread or homemade scones!
8 ounces streaky bacon chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 1/2 pints chicken stock
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried chervil
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 tsp dried chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces emmenthaler cheese, grated
4 ounces strong cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces double cream
1/2 tsp dried dill tops
a few dashes of tabasco sauce
Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until partially crisp. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the chopped onions and cabbage to the drippings. Cook and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and chicken broth. Stir in the parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives and potatoes. Bring to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are quite tender. Just before serving add the cheeses and cream. Stir to melt the cheese and heat without boiling. Add the bacon, dill and tabasco sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve hot. Do Not Boil.
*Cheddar and Chive Scones*
These are very easy to make and are very tasty. I like to use a good strong cheddar. I have also used Stilton in the past with excellent results. Delicious split and toasted and spread with butter, or cold and filled with ham and pickle for a tasty picnic lunch!
12 ounces self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 ounces cold butter
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 TBS freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup finely snipped fresh chives
5 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
250ml of milk
a few bits of extra cheese for sprinkling on before baking
Pre-heat the oven to 210*C/425*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
Measure the flour, salt, mustard powder and baking powder into a bowl. Whisk well together. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Stgir in the Parmesan and Cheddar cheese and the chives. Stir in the milk with a fork, just to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and give it a few turns. Pat out 1/2 inch thick and then cut into two inch rounds with a sharp cutter, giving the cutter a sharp tap, straight up and down. Don't twist the cutter unless you want lopsided scones. Place onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush with a bit of milk and then sprinkle with some extra cheese.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until well risen and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and serve.