Thursday, 9 November 2017
Bonfire Night: the full Moon, friends and marshmallows
My Mum started her journey back home very early this morning. As I write it now, she must have arrived to Moscow, if there was no delay. I am always very sad when she goes home. We see each other once a year, and this year her trip almost didn't happen. She was very poorly, and had to cancel her trip arrangements.
She usually stays earlier in the year, mostly in summer, and this was the first time when she spent October and early days of November with us.
I thought it might be a fun idea to do something for the Bonfire Night, while Mum was with us.
You have to be English-born to fully understand the reasoning behind the 5th of November festivities. What this celebration glorifies is in fact the gruesome persecution of Catholics in this country (hasten to add, I'm not a Catholic, so let's say, an impartial side). I don't find any cause for joy in killing Guy Fawkes, and it seems bizarre that this fact is being lauded for centuries.
Living in the UK for more than 21 years, I rarely acknowledge this day. In the past we have attended a couple of big bonfires and fireworks displays, but this year we decided to make a smaller scale bonfire in our garden and invite friends over.
I wanted to make my Mum happy. She loves bonfires, and I have been telling her off for lighting the fires in the garden since she arrived. Eddie was ecstatic when Baba (grandma) roasted frankfurters for him over the bonfire in the garden a couple of weeks ago. He wanted to invite his best friend Peter over and roast marshmallows.
We bought a pack of Mega marshmallows for the occasion.
It was a beautiful night, with the full Moon and a starry night, clearly visible in the darkness.
On Saturday I cooked a big pan of carrot, sweet potato and ginger soup.
Take 1kg of carrots, peel them, chop into smaller chunks and cook on low, simmering for an hour+. Add a chopped sweet potato, 1tbsp vegetable stock, 2 tbsp red lentils, grate ginger (as much as you like, I had quite a big piece), season with sea salt, and when the veg is all cooked, blitz it all.
Serve hot in smaller cups or mugs.
I have also baked a gluten free parkin and made a big batch of white chocolate Oreo fudge, on request from my men.
We had lots of sausages, with a simple potato salad, Russian-style (with soured cream and gherkins) and a big bowl of pickled onion among other things.
Prepare the pickled onion a day in advance: slice 2 onions in thin rings, using a mandolin slicer, then add 2tbsp of demerara sugar, 2-3tbsp cider vinegar, 1tbsp honey, 1-2 tsp paprika, mix well, and put a smaller heavier dish on top of onion + add some weight on top (like a soup tin) to slightly squash the onion mix. Place in the fridge overnight. It is great in sandwiches or with cold meats.
It might not look very pretty but it tastes really nice.
Eddie and his friend were very excited about roasting marshmallows. My Mum was in charge of the fire.
We looked up at the bright stars and the full Moon, and even howled at the Moon jokingly, like urban werewolves.
After stuffing ourselves with marshmallows, we had a go with sparklers (cheap ones, from Poundland). Two of our younger guests are disabled, and couldn't go in the garden, so we had lights off in the sitting room, with a mini-display of sparklers outside the windows.
It was a lovely evening, and having Mum with us made it extra special for me.