British people celebrate Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day to commemorate the failure of 13 Catholic conspirators to blow up London's Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. The day is named after Guy Fawkes who was caught under the Houses of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder. Rituals of Bonfire Night include lighting a fire to burn an effigy, shooting off fireworks and eating traditional foods.
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Sausages, or what the British call "bangers," start the Guy Fawkes Day feasts. Vendors sell the sausages or celebrants bring the sausages to the bonfires to roast on a stick or bent coat hanger over the flames. You can cook sausages in your oven at home, alongside vegetables such as mashed potatoes, to create the time-honoured bangers and mash. Wrap potatoes in aluminium foil and bake these in the oven to serve as a customary side dish. Be certain, if you decide to roast the sausages at an outdoor celebration, to keep the raw meat cold in a cooler until you cook it for the festival.
Toffee apples are a traditional treat for Bonfire Night. Make these from syrup and apples to take with you or serve as an after dinner treat at home. Pair these with bonfire-roasted marshmallows or dip in marshmallow creme at home. Another customary dessert for Bonfire Night is parkin. This cake is made from a mix of oatmeal, ginger, milk, treacle -- similar to molasses -- and syrup. Parkin originated in Northern England and the treat is especially favoured in Yorkshire.
Traditional beverages for Bonfire Night include spiced apple cider made with cinnamon sticks, mulled wine, beer and ale, which is made from yeast that ferments on the top of the developing beer. Remember to have a designated driver or to take a cab if you choose to imbibe drinks with alcohol.
Shepherd's or Cottage Pie
Shepherd's or cottage pie is a substantial meal to warm you during the chilly November night. Make the dish from meat, potatoes and other vegetables as a generous entrée. Choose lamb as the meat for shepherd's pie, or choose a beef filling for cottage pie. Serve this main course with hot soup such as chestnut, leek and potato or beef and tomato for an ample meal.
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