Bonfire night 2017

Be prepared for Bonfire Night, November 5th, when the stars are bright, and three little angels are dressed in white. 
One with a fiddle, one with a drum And one with a pancake stuck to his bum!

The festival of Bonfire Night reminds me of a very special person in my life, my big brother  Malcolm, a pyrotechnics chemist, whose career achieved lift off because of Bonfire Night.
His multi million pound business funded a lot of good causes, as well as a few money grabbing manipulators.

I had a head injury in a London traffic accident in 1983, and a
s part of my convalescence in a rehabilitation unit in Camden in the weeks before Bonfire Night 1983, I learned how to make Parkin, a Bonfire Night treat. This was the recipe:

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

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. 
Grease a deep 22cm/9in square cake tin and line with baking parchment. 
Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.
Gently melt syrup, treacle, sugar and butter in large pan until sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat. 
Mix together the oatmeal, flour and ginger. 
Stir into syrup mixture, followed by egg and milk.
Pour mixture into tin and bake for 50 mins – 1 hr until cake feels firm and crusty on top. 
Cool in the tin then wrap in more parchment and foil and keep for 3-5 days before eating if you can – it’ll become softer and stickier the longer you leave it, up to 2 weeks.

More recently I discovered the joys of chickpea and coconut curry:

Pumpkin, Chickpea and Coconut Curry for 4 – with a big thank you to Jamie Oliver
Preparation 10 mins, Cook for 70 mins, Ready to eat in 80 mins
This curry is a perfect hot dish to enjoy on Bonfire Night.

1 large pumpkin, peeled, or a squash (approx. 900 g), seeds removed
4 cm fresh ginger, peeled
a bunch of fresh coriander
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
Groundnut oil
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
20 curry leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tin (400 g) chopped tomatoes
2 tins (800 g) coconut milk
2 tins (800 g) chickpeas, drained

Chop pumpkin into 3 cm chunks
Cut the ginger into matchsticks. 
Pick the coriander leaves
Finely chop the stalks.
Pour oil into a large saucepan and place on a high heat. 
Add the ginger, garlic, red chilli and shallots, then reduce to a medium heat.
Cook until golden, stirring occasionally
Add mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coriander stalks
Fry until curry leaves go crispy. 
Add turmeric, tomatoes and coconut milk.
Bring to boil, then add the pumpkin and chickpeas. 
Reduce to a low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes. 
Check occasionally and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry.

Take lid off and cook for a further 15 minutes until sauce is thick. 
Serve with rice, naan bread, chutneys and dips, and coriander leaves to decorate.

Published by Rob

Now 70, I'm getting back into website development and brand protection, as well as showcasing the delightful artistic talents of my beautiful wife Lynne. My projection will encompass a lifetime of database marketing, as well as the Christian democratic socialist ideals of my wife and I.

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