Remember, remember, the fifth of November…
It’s been a while since I’ve taken to the net about food. It’s still a massive passion of mine, as is getting and staying healthy. Bonfire night should be no exception. It’s very easy to think at this time of year, it’ll keep until Christmas. 7 weeks to go, things are too manic, I haven’t got time. The trouble is if you don’t make time, you never will have time and so the cycle continues. We all know bonfire night parties (along with last week’s Halloween) can be quite high in naughtiness but with these ideas to keep bonfire night healthy – you should at least have a fighting chance!
1 – Campfire classics: Chilli
You can also do a vegetarian version and just use lots of different beans instead.
Always the favourite, the humble chilli can take many forms. Essentially all you have to do is follow a basic recipe of cooking off some onions, browning some mincemeat (less than 5% fat), adding some chilli powder, cinnamon and other spices to taste before adding a can of chopped tomatoes and simmering for 15-20 minutes. Of course no chilli would be right without some kidney beans – so add a can of kidney beans in chilli sauce for extra zip and cook for an extra 5 minutes before serving. The great thing about adding beans is it really bulks the dish out – so plenty for everyone!! Don’t forget you can add extra veg as you see fit with the tomatoes too, just to be extra good.
2 – Keeping it light: Soup
Of course for those that don’t like a heavy meal with the fireworks, and like me don’t care for tea or coffee, soup can be a nice warming drink/light snack on cold November evenings – particularly when you’re outside. My favourite is tomato soup – who needs Heinz when you can make it so easily yourself. Using onions and carrots as a base, finely chopped up, cook until softened. Then add a couple of tins of tomatoes, some stock and cook for 20 minutes. Then whizz it all up in a blender and instant homemade tomato soup that you can drink guilt free all evening.
3 – Preparing Ahead: Pulled Pork
Pork, beef, lamb – any boneless joint will do. This particular version I did last month used beef brisket.
Slow cookers are also fantastic. You can prep the main food for any bonfire party well in advance and concentrate on entertaining. The nice thing with pulled pork (or pulled brisket) is that it is so versatile – it can go in buns with BBQ sauce for the kids, can be served with some veg or salad for the healthy conscious, or just be there to simply pick at. The nice thing is, at its heart it is so simple. Chop up some onions and peppers and place at the bottom of your slow cooker. Place your preferred joint of meat on top. Pour some stock over the meat, so it comes up about 2-3cm of the joint. Then all you have to do is cook it on low for 7-8 hours, shred and serve. Delicious, versatile and simple as.
4 – For the crowd: Bangers and mash
If pulled meat or chilli isn’t to the crowd’s taste you can always go all out and do bangers and mash. The trick here is to keep it light. Instead of using the fatty, calorific sausages, grab the low fat ones. Instead of doing potato mash you can do root vegetable mash. It’s not a recipe as such, simply grill the sausages you need, and whilst they are cooking, boil up some carrots, swede and potato until soft. Then mash using some milk to loosen it a little. It’s another healthy twist on what is an old fashioned favourite.
5 – Being sweet: Stuffed apples
Finally one of the great things about bonfire night is the toasted marshmellows. Of course if you’re watching what you eat then this isn’t an option for you. However you can still be as sweet as you like by baking apples. This isn’t anything I’ve come up with, and I’ve heard it in many places before. Simply take one bramley apple. Core it out with a corer, and replace the core with 1tbsp of mincemeat. Bake it in the oven for an hour or so – and enjoy!