Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. We see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.
I’m not really a Halloween person – horror films bore me, I don’t own any costumes (apart from my Trixie Mattel look from Pride) and as a kid, I always resented giving trick or treaters sweets on my birthday (yes, my birthday is on Halloween – it all makes sense now doesn’t it?).
Bonfire Night, however, is a whole different ball game. I know most of the world doesn’t celebrate it, and I’ll leave the history to the experts, but a classic British Bonfire Night usually involves a bonfire, fireworks and some delicious food. Incidentally, my Halloween-fanatic brother’s birthday is Bonfire Night – we’ve discussed the idea of switching birthdays, but apparently that’s not cool. Alas.
To be honest, Bonfire Night is already pretty hyggeligt, and it makes 5th November one of my favourite days of the hygge year. Unfortunately this year I’ll be away for it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it yourself! That’s why I’m putting together some top tips for a cosy Bonfire Night, to be enjoyed anywhere in the world!
One of the reasons I love autumn so much is the smell of bonfires in the evenings. Obviously you’ll need to keep your wood dry in the run up to the day, and it’s really important that you check under the pile before you start the fire to make sure there are no little critters sheltering underneath. And if you have pets or children around, keep a very close eye on them! Buy a pack of marshmallows for toasting, or if you’re willing to make the extra effort, why not rustle up a few s’mores?
Hooray, fireworks! I love them all – from the Catherine wheels that fall off the fence seconds after being lit (every single time) to the crackling, sparkling fountains to the massive, sparkly, dramatic rockets, there’s nothing like a good firework display to light up an autumn night. And sparklers are a must! Taking photos with big glittery messages written in the air is a Bonfire Night tradition, and even now, in my mid-20s, I’m endlessly fascinated by the idea that I can hold a stick of fire.
Two things: 1) Wrap up warm and 2) Wear gloves! Boots, coats, a massive scarf, a chunky jumper, layers and layers and layers… Bonfire Night is probably about the only November night you’ll be spending entirely outside, so make sure you stay toasty with all your warmest gear. And why gloves specifically? Well, for the sparklers of course! As pretty as they are, you’ll want to protect your fingers from those errant sparks, so these really are an essential!
Now we’re talking! Bonfire Night food is THE BEST. Baked potatoes, pumpkin soup, chilli, ginger cake, toffee apples… there is literally nothing not to love here. If you’re looking for some recipes for a big old traditional British Bonfire Night, you’ll find everything you need here. I also love these adorable bonfire cupcakes – ideal if you want a little sweet treat, along with Nigella Lawson’s brilliantly named Hokey Pokey, which I’ve made myself and it’s super easy.
Obviously November in the UK is always going to be pretty chilly, so you’ll want to warm up with a hot drink. I love a hot chocolate smothered in whipped cream (and topped with marshmallows toasted over the bonfire!), but there’s also nothing like a comforting glass of glögg. There are lots of different glögg recipes, but I love this one, kindly provided by Bex Coombes of www.hyggestyle.co.uk:
The ultimate Bonfire Night glögg recipe
Most northern European countries have a recipe for mulled wine or gluhwein; what sets Danish glögg apart for me is the addition of the slivered almond and raisins that you can eat with a spoon when you get to the bottom of the glass. Best served with a plateful of warm æbleskiver and a dice game, in my opinion.
1x750ml bottle of wine. Lots of recipes will say use expensive wine, as this equals good glögg, but to be honest you’re going to put so many other spices and flavours in there that I would save your best bottle for later on in the evening.
- 8 cardamom pods
- 1 cinammon stick
- 5 cloves
- ½ cup of raisins
- ½ cup of slivered almonds
- The rind from 1 orange
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup of port
- 1 cup of brandy (if you really want to fall asleep with a warm feeling in your tummy)
Put the wine, spices, raisins, almonds, sugar and rind in a large saucepan and place on a low heat. You want to warm it slowly enough that the spices permeate the wine, but not heat it up so much the alcohol begins to evaporate.
After 30 mins stir in the brandy and port, bring back up to a nice low simmer and then serve in glasses.
And if it rains?
Rain on Bonfire Night is pretty much a given. Patchy drizzle is fine if you don’t mind dashing in and out (or sending some other poor soul to do it) to light the fireworks, but it can make keeping a bonfire going tricky. If all else fails, why not enjoy an indoor Bonfire Night? Sometimes the most hyggeligt evenings are the ones that don’t go to plan at all, and chowing down on some chilli and a baked potato while you watch the fireworks from your window is just as cosy as a night spent outside. So you don’t miss out entirely on the magic of a bonfire, I can highly recommend the WoodWick Fireside candle. As the name suggests, it has a wooden wick, meaning it crackles while it burns – perfect if the heavens open come 5th November.
What are your Bonfire Night traditions? Do you prefer to keep it cosy around a roaring bonfire or are you all about the big glitzy explosions in the sky? Let me know!