As of course you know, 5th November is Guy Fawkes Night here in the UK. This year, we wrapped up in copious layers, donned our wellies and took the boys to the local fireworks display.
On this day of the year, my Yorkshire blood comes to the fore and I take the opportunity to make some traditional Yorkshire bonfire night fare. Before we had children, I used to make treacle toffee, which we carried to the bonfire in paper bags. This year, with the boys in mind, I made toffee apples.
Parkin is the other essential sweet bonfire night treat: a dark and densely sticky kind of gingerbread made with oatmeal. For this, I use my Granny Tiger's recipe. She was the truest of Yorkshirewomen and one of the most important women in my life. Much missed within the family since she died last year, it feels soothing and comforting to bake from her recipes. There is something so precious about a recipe which has been handed down the generations. I love to think of kitchen after kitchen being filled with the same rich gingery aroma.
5oz dark treacle
5oz golden syrup
2 heaped teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/4 pint of warm milk
Mix the syrup, treacle, margarine and lard over a low heat until melted (I tend to use butter rather than margarine as that is what I keep in the house but if the idea of using lard spooks you, you could use 5oz butter and 4oz margarine.)
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Add the milk and dry ingredients to the pan.
Pour into a lined tin (I use a rectangular baking tray, about 20cms by 30 cms and 5 cms deep) and bake for about 40 minutes at gas mark 3. (I use a fan oven at 150 c)
Parkin should be made two or three days before you want to eat it and kept in an airtight tin to soften and mellow. Ideally, it should be stored uncut until it is time to eat it, if you happen to have a tin big enough.