With Bonfire Night just around the corner, get cosy next to the fire with these three child-approved recipes from lifestyle blogger and mum of three girls Heledd Harman of Running in Lavender
“For me, Bonfire Night food needs to be warm, comforting and preferably the kind you can eat from your lap.”
Autumn is all about Halloween and Bonfire Night in my family. It’s the perfect time to indulge in comforting food like creamy mashed potatoes and chicken pie, but if I listened to my daughters Poppy, Iris and Lili, it would be pasta bolognese or chilli and rice every night. My middle daughter Poppy’s birthday is on 4 November, so our local fireworks display is always at the top of our birthday celebrations to-do list.
“My easy Bonfire Night chilli is Poppy’s favourite and is, unsurprisingly, her meal of choice when it comes to watching the fireworks.
“We’re lucky enough to live close to our village park, which means we can enjoy the big display from the comfort of our back garden.
We normally invite friends over and I’ll make sure everyone’s full and warm with mugs of my creamy butternut squash soup, big bowls of nourishing chilli and toasted marshmallow s’mores oozing with chocolate [find all the recipes below]. Believe me, it doesn’t get much better than my quick idea for next-level s’mores, complete with brownie bits and caramel popcorn.
“The garden is full of chairs gathered from all over the house and shed and we have cushions and blankets for everyone. It’s always a big night!”
“A mug of delicious hot soup has to be my idea of the perfect ‘hand warmer’ on a cold Bonfire Night. This butternut squash soup is my all-time favourite: it’s thick, creamy and packed full of gorgeously soothing flavour.”
3 sprigs of thyme
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 5cm chunks
200g bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 medium-sized potatoes, cut into 5cm chunks
1 ltr stock (chicken or vegetable)
Salt and pepper
100ml double cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the chopped butternut squash and thyme on a roasting tray, drizzle over some oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for around 40 minutes.
Over a medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil to a large deep pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook until the bacon starts to crisp.
Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently for five minutes until the onions are soft and starting to brown.
Stir in the chopped potatoes and roasted squash, coating them in the bacon and onion mixture. Turn the heat up high and add the stock. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. Season again to taste.
Take the soup off the heat and blend (in the pan) with a hand blender until smooth.
Put the soup back on the heat and add the cream. (This is optional, but I love the added luxury it brings.)
“We’re big fans of comforting food in our house, so when it comes to Bonfire Night we love sitting outside with bowls of piping hot chilli and rice, watching the fireworks go off in the night sky.”
1 tbsp of oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
500g minced beef
690g bottle of tomato passata
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tin of red kidney beans
Rice to serve
Add the oil to your pan. Once hot add the onions and cook on a medium-low heat until they are soft and translucent. Then stir in the garlic, chilli powder, paprika and ground cumin, and leave to cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn up the heat and add the meat. Break it up with a wooden spoon to make sure the mince cooks evenly. This should take around five minutes.
Stir in the bottle of passata and season to taste (don’t be shy with your seasoning!). Bring the whole thing to the boil, then turn down the heat and place a lid on the pan. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Check the pan occasionally to stir and make sure it doesn’t dry out. After 10 minutes, the mixture should be thick and oozy.
Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add them to the pan. Bring the heat up slightly, and cook for another 10 minutes without the lid.
Serve with fluffy white rice and soured cream (or natural yoghurt).
Tip: This can be made the day before and simply heated up on the night. This also gives the spices longer to develop.
“When I think of Bonfire Night, the first thing that comes to my mind is toasting marshmallows. We take it to the max in our house with mini chunks of chocolate brownies and toffee popcorn.”
Wooden skewers soaked in water
Chocolate digestive biscuits
Tubs of M&S mini bites (chocolate brownies, crispy caramels or whatever you fancy)
Skewer the marshmallows, two on each skewer.
Toast the marshmallows on a barbecue or fire. Always stay with the children as they do this, for obvious reasons.
Push the toasted marshmallows onto the chocolate side of a chocolate digestive and top with whatever takes your fancy, then sandwich with a second chocolate biscuit.
It’s as simple as that!
Photographs and recipes: Heledd Harman / Editor: Emma Sleight