“We begin in the autumn because that’s when everything changed. Autumn is a season I love more than any other; for its smoky sense of purpose and half-lit mornings, its bonfires, baked potatoes, nostalgia, chestnuts and Catherine wheels” – Sophie Dahl, Voluptuous Delights
I used to hate bonfire night as a child. The heart-thumping bangs of rockets used to really terrify me, Catherine wheels and sparklers was where I would draw the line.
Growing up, our friends would host a bonfire night party every year. We would squelch our way down their rain-sodden fields and watch a hay-stuffed Guy Faulks get set alight on top of a huge pile of blazing wood. That is far as it would get for me, my mum would have to take me back to the house in tears before the fireworks started. Every year, the rockets would get bigger and bigger, louder and louder. Truly exciting for everybody else, a nightmare for me.
The only bonus to going back indoors early was that I had more access to all the delicious bonfire night treats; treacle toffee that would weld your mouth together, sickly toffee apples, baked potatoes, spicy ginger drinks and chunky soup drunk from mugs. Nowadays, I’m a sucker for a good bonfire night and glittering fireworks (though I must admit the really loud bags still send my heart racing). I made a dish this weekend which my mum used to make at this time of year- Boston Beans- warming like the bonfire, but with a few bangers thrown in 😉
Serves 6 (try and make this the day before, it will allow the flavours to infuse).
1 tbsp sunflower/olive oil
12 good quality pork sausages
2 red onions, sliced
400g tin of ready-cooked cannellini beans
400g can of chopped tomatoes
300ml chicken/vegetable stock
2 tbsp soft, brown sugar
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1. In a large casserole dish, heat oil and brown the sausages on all sides. Add onions and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, until softened.
2. Add beans, chopped tomatoes, stock, brown sugar, mustard powder, white wine vinegar and tomato puree. Stir well to mix all the ingredients together.
3. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and then simmer for 1 hour. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish. Serve with a crisp skinned jacket potato, preferably out of the fire.