November the 5th is on the horizon. If you’re not British you’re probably thinking; sure, and November the 4th, in fact, and November the 6th for that matter too … and that’s because you have no historic foiled Catholic anti-monarchy conspiracy to celebrate with effigy burning and fireworks.
It started back in 1605, when 13 (unlucky for some) conspirators spend the summer sneaking into a cellar under the House of Lords, and filling it with gunpowder. The plan is, to blow up Parliament when the King comes round to open proceedings. The problem? The plague keeps delaying the opening.
By late October, resolve is less universally strong, and one of the plotters begins to have a twinge of regret that the explosion will blow up his brother in law, who’s going to be at the opening. He sends a letter, that’s frankly not exactly subtle, and the brother in law isn’t remotely grateful for the heads up and dobs him into the authorities.
The King, quite sensibly orders a full search of the House of Lords before he’ll agree to attend the ceremony, and there’s Guy Fawkes sitting in the cellar, surrounded by barrels of explosives, holding a box of matches.
He’s tortured to give up the names of the other conspirators, and they are all hung drawn and quartered, and have their heads skewered on a spike on Tower Bridge as a warning to other potential plotters.
It is virtually impossible to explain to Americans that we celebrate this occasion with fire and pyrotechnics and for them not to reassess how seriously they should take our oft vaunted, weighty and historic past.
Bobbing apple hot apple punch (6 + servings depending on glass size)2 quart apple juice ½ quart cranberry juice ½ quart water ¼ cup brown sugar Peel and juice from 1 orange 8 small apples 20 cloves 15 allspice berries 4 cinnamon sticks 3 cups calvados (or 2 calvados and 1 of brandy)
- Pour the apple juice, cranberry juice and orange juice into a pan or, better still, a slow cooker. Add the cinnamon, allspice, berries, sugar and 5 cloves and simmer everything really gently for 2 hours
- Preheat the oven to 375f
- Stud the apples with cloves, then bake for 30 mins until soft. Set aside.
- Once the juices have simmered for 2 hours, add the apples, the orange peel and the calvados. Keep warm in the slow cooker and let people help themselves
Warm Pumpkin Spice popcorn ( 4 – 6 servings)
3 tbsp vegetable oil ½ cup popcorn kernels 3 tbsp butter 1 tbsp salt 1 tbsp pumpkin spices 1 tsp cinnamon
- Put the oil, popcorn kernels and 1 tsp of the salt into a pan. Cover with a double layer of foil to make a lid, and poke a few small holes in so that steam can escape
- Hold the pan above the heat to gently cook the kernels (about 4 minutes)
- Melt the butter and add the spice, cinnamon and the rest of the salt
- Toss the popcorn in the butter and spoon into paper bags
- Give people a bag of warm popcorn and a mug of hot apple punch then send them outside to watch the fireworks.