Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Remember, remember...

    Remember, remember, the fifth of November
    Gun power, treason and plot…… and then I don't remember the rest!!
    For the majority of my childhood, November 5th has been one of the most exciting and memorable evenings of the year! On this date in 1605, the King of England lived to see another day despite the efforts of Guy Fawkes and his revolutionary friends. Mr Fawkes planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament while the king sat inside. Of course when he was caught red-handed, Guy Fawkes was hung drawn and quartered for treason! On that night people lit bonfires to mark the King's survival. This progressed into a ritualistic burning and endless stream of colourful fireworks, whooshing rockets and popping bangers.
    Back in the day when I was a wee bairn, I would help my sisters build a 'Guy' using screwed up papers which we stuffed into my dad's old work trousers and paint/wax stained shirt. I cant remember what we used for a head but I know our efforts were always brought to life when he was strapped into a broken chair and placed on top of the fire waiting for his fate! What a cruel and foul trick this may sound to a foreign mind, but to me this was the best night of the year… even better than Christmas Eve!
    Every year my family would host a huge bonfire party in our field for friends, family and the Baptist youth club across the road. My dad's furniture workshop provided perfect fodder for building a huge fire using scrap wood and broken furniture. He would clear the field and very importantly check the fire for hibernating hedgehogs. My sisters and I would wrap up warm in woolly tights, jeans, wellies, hats, scarves, gloves, jumpers, coats, even though when the fire was lit, we would be far to hot!
    When everyone arrived, Dad would stand a safe distance away and let off what seemed like 100s of fireworks which he selected from a huge steel chest. I always felt very proud of my Dad!
    My mum would serve an amazing effort of delicious bonfire food and this is where the real memories start! Yorkshire parkin, gingerbread, toffee apples, jacket potatoes, baked beans or chilli and melted cheese, soup, and flasks of tea with milk or hot chocolate. We would share the food resting on the wobbly folding tables in the field and the feeling of community filled you with warmth around the fire. What delicious treats! To complete the treasonous feeling we would light some sparklers and write our names or just inhale the gunpowder fumes!
    This tradition is deeply ingrained in my subconscious and every November I really love to bake some gingerbread and enjoy the end of the Autumnal outdoors while eating a jacket spud wrapped in foil! This year I didn’t deviate and attended two bonfires. One HUGE one at Winterton near my Dad's house, and one in Brushfield, Derbyshire where the lovely Mullan family have recreated a little of that childhood memory for the past 3 years.
    My contribution was some gingerbread, a rich treacle cake, injected with ginger and mixed spice, is your mouth watering yet??
    Here is the recipe followed as always from the genius that is the Bero baking book. I also threw in a selection of Bonfire pictures!
    Ingredients and Method
    225 g (8 oz)
    Be-Ro Plain Flour
    2 x 5 ml spoon (2 tsp)
    ground ginger
    1 x 5ml spoon (1 tsp)
    mixed spice
    1 x 5ml spoon (1 tsp)
    bicarbonate of soda
    50 g (2 oz)
    soft brown sugar
    100 g (4 oz)
    175 g (6 oz)
    black treacle
    50 g (2 oz)
    golden syrup
    150 ml (¼ pint)
    2 medium
    eggs, beaten
    50 g (2 oz)
    sultanas, (optional)

    Heat oven to 150c, 300f, Gas Mark 2. Grease an 18 cm (7 inch) square deep cake tin.
    Sieve together flour, salt, ginger, spice and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the sugar.
    Melt margarine, treacle and syrup gently. Gradually beat in milk and allow to cool.
    Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Stir treacle mixture into the flour and add sultanas.
    Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for about 1¼ hours.

    Catherine, Hannah and I at Middlefarm family bonfire!
    Kat and her sparkler.
    Winterton Bonfire and fair.
    Lighting the Bonfire.
    Big bangs!
    My sister Victoria and her toffee apple.
    The crowd at Winterton. 
    Victoria, me and Dad, while Janis took the picture.

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