Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason,
Should ever be forgot
We're building up to Bonfire Night here in the UK (or Guy Fawkes Night, as it's know), and already I've heard the first few fireworks going off in the streets around my home. Every day from now until November 5th - the official Guy Fawkes Day - you can here random fireworks going off somewhere, as people celebrate one of the most notorious events in British history.
So who was Guy Fawkes, and why do people still remember him? Well, here's the history lesson!
During Henry VIII's reign, and the reign of his daughter Elizabeth I, the Catholic religion in Britain was suppressed, often brutally. When James I came to the throne, Catholics hoped that things might change, as the King's mother was Mary Queen of Scots, and a Catholic herself.
Unfortunately the penalties for practising Catholicism continued. The Gunpowder Plot was a desperate attempt on the part of a group of Catholics to rid themselves of the King. Their plan was to blow up the House of Lords, with King James and all his Parliament in it.
Guy Fawkes was a member of the Gunpowder plot. Unfortunately for him, the plot was leaked, and Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed in a cellar underneath the House of Lords, with 36 barrels of gunpowder, on November 5th 1605. He was tortured and hanged, along with his fellow conspirators.
The King decreed November 5th a public holiday, in thanksgiving for the plot being foiled.
There are some foods that are traditionally eaten at a Bonfire Party. Baked potatoes are popular - preferably wrapped in silver foil and baked in the bonfire. There's an art to baking potatoes in this way without burning them. Personally, I think a microwave is always good!
Here in the north of England, we have our own traditional Bonfire Night fare, consisting of warm pork pie and mushy peas. On a cold, rainy November night, this is delicious! And in the rest of England it's common to eat gingerbread, but where I live in Yorkshire we have our own variation on the gingerbread recipe. It's called Parkin, and I absolutely love it. You can find ready made Parkin in all the shops in Yorkshire at this time of year, or you can make it yourself.
Here's a recipe. It's easy!
- 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 the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease a deep 22cm/9in square cake tin and line with greaseproof paper (baking paper). Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.
- Gently melt the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter together in a large pan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Mix together the oatmeal, flour and ginger and stir into the syrup mixture, followed by the egg and milk.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 mins - 1 hr until the cake feels firm and a little crusty on top. Cool in the tin then wrap in more greaseproof paper and foil. If you can bring yourself not to eat it for a few days - or up to two weeks - it will become softer and stickier.
If you enjoy delving into history, then you'll love the heroine of my latest romance, The Antique Love, which is set in an an antiques shop in London. Here's the blurb!
One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book. Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…
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AUTHOR LINKS: www.helenafaifax.com / Facebook / Twitter
Do you have any local traditions in your area? Or maybe you have a dish or recipes that are only local to you? And do you enjoy delving into the past and finding out about historical characters?
If so, please let me know - all commenters will be put into a draw to win a copy of The Antique Love!