Bonfire night recipes that’ll deliver oohs and ahhs on 5th November

It won’t just be fireworks delivering oohs and aahs on the 5th – try these delicious bonfire night recipes to feed a crowd.

Easy spicy lentil soup

Chris Alack


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
about 300g leeks (trimmed weight) halved and thinly sliced
about 250g carrots (trimmed weight) halved and thinly sliced
1 celery heart trimmed and thinly sliced
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 heaped tsp finely chopped medium-hot red chilli
4 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
2 x 250g packets of cooked puy lentils (for example Merchant Gourmet brand)
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 litre vegetable stock
sea salt
4 heaped tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the leeks, carrots, celery, ginger and chilli and fry for about 10 minutes until softened and starting to colour, then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes longer. Stir in the lentils, add the cider vinegar and stock.

2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Purée a third of the soup in a food processor, stir this back in with the rest of the soup, season with salt and add 4 tablespoons of parsley.

WITH HAM HOCK Have ready 120g pulled ham hock or finely sliced lean ham. Serve the soup with a pile of ham in the centre and parsley scattered over.

MAKE IT VEGAN Replace the ham with thinly sliced artichoke hearts in oil.

Quick gnocchi hotpot

Chris Alack


SHOP & PREP Have ready 500g good quality bought fresh tomato sauce (flavoured with basil if wished), 800g good quality bought potato gnocchi, 6 slices parma ham (or other air-dried ham) and a small pot of pesto for dolloping. Peel and chop a medium red onion. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large-lidded, shallow casserole or wide heatproof dish, add the onion and fry for 6-7 minutes or until just coloured and translucent. Stir in the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. At same time cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water according to packet instructions until they rise to the surface, then drain and stir into the tomato base. Heat the grill. 

TO FINISH Arrange the ham in piles on top of the gnocchi without touching each other, then dot with pesto (using 1-2 tbsp in total or to taste). Pop under the grill for 4-5 minutes until the ham is crisp and lightly browned. Serve straightaway. 

WITH ADDED AUBERGINE If wished, dice 1 aubergine and fry with a little oil until golden, cooking in batches as necessary, then add to the tomato mixture with the onion and proceed as above.

All-in-one sausage and potato roast

Chris Alack


500g washed baby potatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
700g-800g of your favourite sausages (we used venison)
4 red onions peeled halved and sliced
500g red peppers cored and seeds discarded

1. Select a large roasting pan (about 28cm x 35cm). Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Arrange the potatoes in the pan, drizzle over a tablespoon of oil, season and stir to coat. Roast for 20 minutes. At the same time, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and lightly brown the sausages in two batches, turning them frequently. Separate the onion strands or wedges a little and cut the peppers into thick strips. Combine both with the potatoes, drizzle over the remaining oil and season. Arrange the sausages on top of the potatoes and roast for a further 1 hour 10 minutes until nicely browned, stirring after 20 minutes and again after 40 minutes.

TO SERVE Combine 100g sour cream with 1-2 tsp horseradish sauce in a small bowl and season with salt. Serve the sausages and vegetables with the cream spooned over, scattered with chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Mushroom burgers with mustard mayo and pickles

Chris Alack


FOR THE BURGERS Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas 6½. Have ready 8 portobello mushrooms and 30g unsalted butter. Trim the mushroom stalks level with the cups and arrange them in a large roasting pan cup-side up. Dot with the butter and season. Halve 350g cherry tomatoes, peel and finely chop 2 banana shallots. Toss these together with 2 tbsp olive oil and some seasoning and pile the mixture into the mushrooms. Scatter over 40g pine nuts. Roast for 25-35 minutes until golden on top.

TO SERVE Slit and toast 4 burger buns or oven-bottom muffins. Place a mushroom on each half and serve 2 per person with any juices drizzled over and mustard mayonnaise (for example Maille brand), cocktail gherkins, caperberries and watercress on the side.

Chocolate bonfire muffins

Chris Alack


100ml whole milk
75ml groundnut oil
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
100g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1 heaped tsp baking powder
90g light muscovado sugar
70g milk chocolate chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and arrange 6 paper muffin cases in a muffin rack. Whisk the milk, oil, egg and vanilla together in a large bowl. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into another large bowl, then stir in the sugar.

2. Tip the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir to loosely combine (the mixture should appear wet and lumpy but without visible traces of flour). Fold in the chocolate chunks. Fill the paper cases halfway. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and crusty. Transfer to a rack and leave to cool.

DECORATING TIPS Make a butter icing by whisking 60g softened unsalted butter with 60g sifted icing sugar for 2-3 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Tint with a little orange food colouring (as pictured) or, for chocolate icing, whisk in 1 tsp cocoa powder. Dollop a heaped teaspoon on to each muffin then snap some orange Matchmakers into pieces and arrange on top to resemble logs. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar as desired.

Toffee apple crumble

Chris Alack


2 eating apples
600g cooking apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp golden syrup

150g rolled oats
150g ground almonds
150g light muscovado sugar
150g lightly salted butter chilled and diced
50g fudge thinly sliced

Cream or custard

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Peel, quarter and core all the apples, slice them thinly, toss with the lemon juice and arrange in a 30cm (1.5 litre) oval ovenproof dish or similar. Drizzle over the syrup.

2. In a food processor whisk the crumble ingredients, except the fudge, until fine crumbs are just starting to cling together, with a few biscuity nibs in the mixture. Evenly scatter the crumble over the fruit, then scatter over the fudge. Bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly golden and the fruit is bubbling at the edges. Serve hot 15-20 minutes out of the oven or at room temperature.

Sparkly orange trifle

Chris Alack


1. PREP THE BASE Have ready a 20cm trifle bowl about 7.5cm deep. Arrange 7 bought madeleines (for example Bonne Maman brand) dome-upwards in the base of the bowl and sprinkle over 3 tbsp dark rum. Peel 3 large oranges and slice into thick rounds, trimming away the outer pith and discarding the end slices. Arrange the oranges around the outside of the trifle on top of the sponges. Spoon 300g bought fruit compote or conserve (for example Bonne Maman brand) over the sponges in the centre.

2. FOR THE MOUSSE LAYER Separate 3 medium eggs. Finely grate the zest of 1 orange. Whisk the zest with the egg yolks and 50g caster sugar in a large bowl, then beat in 400g mascarpone. Whisk the egg whites in another large bowl until stiff. Fold the whites into the mascarpone mixture in two goes. Smooth the mousse over the top of the trifle to just cover the oranges. Cover and chill for several hours. It will keep well for a couple of days. 

3. TO FINISH Shortly before serving, decorate the trifle with edible gold or bronze glitter sprinkles and bought honeycomb pieces or roughly chopped Crunchie bar. 

VARIATION For individual trifles, as in the picture, divide all the ingredients among 6 suitable dessert glasses.

Crisp rosemary chicken with chickpea dip

Chris Alack


1. FOR THE CHICKEN Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas 6.. Peel 3 garlic cloves and crush to a paste. Combine in a large bowl with 2 tbsp good olive oil and 6 rosemary sprigs plus a few extra picked needles. Add 8 free-range skin-on chicken thighs, turn to coat, then season. Place the chicken skin side up in a large roasting pan, evenly distributing the rosemary, and smear a little butter over the top of each one. Roast for 50 minutes until golden and crisp, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. 

2. FOR THE DIP In a food processor whiz 75g toasted hazelnuts to finely chop, then continue to whiz to a nut butter. Drain, rinse and add 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, peel and add ½ clove garlic, ⅓ tsp cayenne pepper and some salt and whiz to a coarse paste. Through the funnel, gradually add 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and 75ml water (or as much as necessary) to achieve the consistency of mayonnaise. Serve the dip, dusted with a little cayenne, with the chicken and micro leaves or salad sprouts on the side. 

Recipes by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.