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November 5 bonfire night: Family-friendly party food with extra bang

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Hopefully families and groups will once again be able to enjoy bonfire night together in November and all the tasty and warming food that goes with it.

As you wait in anticipation of the fireworks, dressed up warm in coats and gloves, there’s nothing better than tucking into a burger or hot dog or a jacket potato filled with your favourite filling. Or maybe just a warm mug of soup will do the trick. And don't forget to follow it up with Parkin Cake – the traditional cake eaten on bonfire night a sticky concoction with a mix of oatmeal, ginger, treacle and syrup.

So before you start handing around the sparklers, how about serving some of these tasty treats:

Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin Soup (It’s a great way of using up the pumpkins that have been hollowed out for Hallowe’en lanterns and you can freeze the soup until you are ready for it)


2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1kg pumpkin or squash peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
150ml double cream


  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook the finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft.
  • Add the chopped pumpkin or squash to the pan and cook for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften and turn golden.
  • Pour the stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft.
  • Pour the double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée using a hand blender if you have one or you will have to squish it through a sieve until it is smooth.

Add croutons if you wish or pumpkin seeds.

Mexican style baked potatoes with Chili con carne filling and cheese
Mexican style baked potatoes with Chili con carne filling and cheese

Jacket Potato fillings

Leave out bowls of different fillings so people can pick and choose.

Start with the most basic – lashings of butter, melts in to the potato

Have a plate of grated cheese to hand so people can pile it on - mix cheddar and leicester to create orange and yellow cheesy flames

A big bowl of baked beans never goes amiss

Fry up some chopped up bacon and onions

Prepare a vegetarian and/or meat chilli

Parkin cake
Parkin cake

Parkin Cake


200g butter
1 large egg
4 tbsp milk
200g golden syrup
85g treacle
85g soft light brown sugar
100g medium oatmeal
250g self-raising flour
1tbsp ground ginger

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter a deep 22cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.


  • Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.
  • Gently melt the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter together in a large pan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  • Mix together the oatmeal, flour and ginger and stir into the syrup mixture, followed by the egg and milk.
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50mins – 1 hr until the cake feels firm and a little crusty on top.
  • Cool in the tin then wrap in more parchment and foil.

Best eaten at least four or five days after making so it gets softer and stickier (can be kept for up to 2 weeks!)

And for little ones – how about

Chocolate breadsticks sparklers
Chocolate breadsticks sparklers

Edible Sparklers (Safe to hold and yummy to eat)

All you need is breadsticks, cooking chocolate and some hundreds and thousands or other cake decorations.

Melt the chocolate then coat half the breadstick with the melted chocolate (best to use a silicone brush for this – not too messy)

Next cover the coated part in colourful sweet treats and leave to set.

Hand out the ‘sparklers’ while the fireworks whizz into the sky.

Firework cookies Colourful treats that the kids will love to create themselves

Buy a packet of plain cookies (or make your own if you have time)

White chocolate

Food colouring

Cake sprinkles

Melt the white chocolate (Milky Bar will do just as well as cooking chocolate). Then add a food colouring or a rainbow of colours and swirl it around before sprinkling some cake toppings over the top – easy peasy.

Bonfire cupcakes
Bonfire cupcakes

Bonfire Cupcakes

You can buy plain individual cakes (chocolate or vanilla) from any supermarket or make your own.

Make some butter cream icing (butter and icing sugar mixed) and add orange colouring.

Put some of the coloured icing on top of the cake then balance some matchmakers upright in the icing mix to create your bonfire. Add some broken bits of popcorn or a crushed Crunchie to make the crackling.

Above all stay safe and have a sparkling time.

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