Get ready for Bonfire night with delicious entertaining ideas

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Get ready for Bonfire night with delicious entertaining ideas

From a grown-up take on toffee apples to a challenging yet rewarding venison stew, our great 'winter picnic' is ideal for Bonfire Night whether you're entertaining or packing it up in Thermos cups and foil to take to the display.

By Leiths chef Alison Cavaliero

I love it when the clocks go back and the evenings get darker. Some find it gloomy, but for me, life suddenly seems more sociable.

When it’s pitch black and icy cold outside, it’s a treat to ring a friend’s doorbell, present an offering of wine or food, and be welcomed into the warm glow inside.

I think we have an inbuilt need for light and company at this time of year, and Bonfire Night is the perfect excuse to invite people round to share home made food and the ‘Lights! Camera! Action!’ of fireworks.

We live in a house up a hill in Bristol, which means we get to see everyone else’s fireworks from our window, toasty warm with a glass of wine in hand.

If you’re heading out to a big firework display, the recipes I’ve chosen can be transported and eaten like a winter picnic to keep you warm inside. They’re perfect for children and they can all be made in advance to save any worry on the night.

To start the night I have chosen Lebanese cheese parcels, from Leiths seminal tome, How to Cook. They make a great snack to stave off hunger pangs and are like mini Cornish pasties but with a nice Middle-Eastern twist. They mean no messy fingers, and you can wrap them up in tinfoil so they stay warm.

Venison is in season at the moment, as are quinces, and their flavours compliment each other beautifully, so it’s the perfect excuse to make a wonderful warming casserole with caramelised quince, again from How to Cook.

If you’re out, simply decant portions into Thermos cups and bring spoons; this all-in-one dish will fill everyone up and keep them going throughout the display.

To finish I have chosen spiced apple cake with toffee sauce, from Leiths How to Make Cakes book; it makes me think of the sticky toffee apples I used to have as a child at this time of year. You may want to hold off on the toffee sauce if you are out, but the cake is delicious on its own, or with crème fraiche, too.

I hope you all have a great fireworks night.

Alison

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