Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Fireworks night

November the 5th came and went in our house with little more than an excited exclamation by the girls when they saw a firework from the window, but the lack of note was mainly because it was on a Thursday. We saved our own celebrations until Sunday night when, following a 5 year old family tradition, my parents came over for dinner, followed by fireworks in the garden. So on Sunday I made an effort to make it look as if the string of tomatoes across the conservatory were in fact seasonal decorations rather than ripening fruit. The previous Tuesday we had collected and laminated autumn leaves as part of my after school gardening club and I had a few left over so I threaded these onto rustic looking pieces of twine and strung them up along the line of tomatoes. I had convinced my daughters when the tomatoes were green that they were harvest festival decorations, and now they were red it was time to convince my parents they were bonfire night decorations. And for added effect, we lit the pumpkin lanterns for one last time too.

Being a Sunday night, I decided to opt for roast chicken for dinner and I'm pleased to say we are still eating meals where all the veg is home grown. On the menu that night were roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, leeks and calebrese. And for dessert, I took the individual plum crumbles out of the freezer and served them hot with custard. It was a yummy meal.

The usual bonfire night fare should include plot toffee but as my dad has a few false teeth I decided it was probably best to avoid this. However, I had decided some time ago to save my small plate full of hazelnuts for this particular occasion. When I weighed them, complete with shells, there was just under 150g but after spending about 20 minutes supervising my daughter with the nutcracker, our annual harvest weighed a mere 35g. After a few moments thought I decided to modify a Florentine recipe and make hazelnut and sesame seed Florentines. It probably breaks with all the rules as to what Florentines should contain but my daughter was pleased we had made something she liked with our hazelnuts and they were soft enough for my dad to enjoy too.

Hazelnut and Sesame Florentines (makes 12-16)

1 1/2 oz (40g) unsalted butter
1 1/2 oz (40g) golden syrup
1/2 oz (15g) plain flour
1 1/2 oz (40g) chopped hazelnuts
1 1/2 oz (40g) sesame seeds
1 oz (25g) glace cherries
1 oz (25g) dried mixed fruit

Preheat oven to 180°C, gas 4 and line a large baking sheet. Melt together the butter and the syrup in a pan over a gentle heat then remove from the heat and add all the other ingredients. Stir well and leave for 2-3 minutes. Dollop teaspoons of the mixture well spaced out on the baking paper then bake for 5-8 minutes until golden. Cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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