Bonfire Night wouldn’t be the same without toffee apples and this simple recipe can be made from everything you should already have in your kitchen. It’ll serve 4 people but can easily be doubled or tripled depending on how many you’re catering for.
What you’ll need:
4 large apples (preferably Granny Smith or a similar variety)
2 tbsp of golden syrup
200g of golden caster sugar
½ tsp of white vinegar
50ml of water (around ½ a small cup)
Baking parchment or grease-proof paper
A sugar thermometer
4 lolly sticks or wooden skewers
Making Toffee Apples:
1) Combine the sugar and water in a pan and heat for around 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
2) Add in the white vinegar and golden syrup before bringing the mixture to the boil and heat to 140 degrees Celsius (use the sugar thermometer to check).
3) Then leave the mixture to simmer for around 15-20 minutes.
4) While the mixture is simmering, wash and dry the apples before inserting the lolly sticks or wooden skewers.
5) Cover a baking tray or old chopping board with the grease-proof paper.
6) Dip each apple into the mixture after the time is up one by one, being careful not to let any of it drip onto your hand (trust me it’ll hurt!)
7) Place the apples on to the covered tray upside down with the lolly stick facing upwards.
8) Allow to cool down and harden before serving.
Cheesy Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes are really simple to do and stay warm for hours. This recipe puts a slight twist and makes it nice and simple to serve at any point throughout the evening and will serve 6 – 8 people.
What you’ll need:
4 large baking potatoes
A knob of butter
150g of cheddar cheese or mozzarella
A splash of oil
Making cheesy baked potatoes:
1) Cook the baked potatoes in the oven at around 180 degrees Celsius for 1 hour. It’s best to use the oven so you get a crispy skin, but you can use the microwave for the first part of cooking to reduce the total cooking time
2) While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon lardons gently in the pan until fully cooked – it should only take a few minutes.
3) Remove the lardons and place in a bowl or ramekin dish.
4) Grate the cheese and place in a separate bowl or small dish.
5) As soon as your potatoes are cooked, wrap them individually in foil and leave in the top of the oven.
6) You can then either serve it as one large dish, or separately for each guest. When you’re ready to serve just cut the potatoes in half, add butter to each side and add on the lardons and cheese. Place in an oven proof dish and place under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese is oozing from all sides.
7) If you have any vegetarians, mushrooms are a great replacement for the bacon lardons and can also be gently fried in the same way.
8) Further cheese and garnish can be added if required – it’s great for the foodies if you add on some Gruyère or Raclette.
A simple tomato soup is a great way to keep everyone warm if you’re stood outside as it can easily be served in cups. Kids also love it if there’s a slight Halloween theme and it then becomes Dracula’s blood soup! It’ll serve around 6 people (in mugs/cups) and keeps well in the fridge for a day if you’re looking for a warm treat the following day.
What you’ll need:
1 large onion – chopped
3 large carrots – chopped
2 sticks of celery - chopped
2 x 400 tins of chopped tomatoes
2 vegetable stock cubes
3 tbsp of tomato puree
A couple of large pinches of brown sugar
A pinch of basil – ideally fresh
A splash of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Making tomato soup
1) Heat the oil on a medium heat in a large pan and add in the onion, carrots and celery. Cook for around 15 minutes until the carrots are soft and the onions are golden brown – be careful not to burn them by having the heat too high.
2) Boil a kettle and add 1.5l of water to the 2 stock cubes in a large jug or pan and stir until the cubes have dissolved.
3) Add the stock plus the tins of chopped tomatoes to the pan of carrots, onion and celery and bring to the boil.
4) Allow the mixture to simmer for around 10 – 15 minutes and add in some seasoning, including the basil, salt and pepper.
5) Use a hand mixer or blender to create a smooth liquid and then return to the pan to reheat when you’re ready to serve.
6) You can also add some single cream to each mug after pouring in the soup to cool it down and to create a creamier soup for anyone not watching the calories.