The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!
When I was a boy we used to go to a mate Geoff Hannas farm and have a bonfire and crackers (fireworks) to remember this day. While perhaps not particularly relevant to Australians and not at all to modern Australians as traditions get replaced by irrelevant Americanisms such as Halloween, which is a really little more than a commercial venture here. Australians do have a propensity to celebrate failed noble ventures and love the underdog, seeing it as character building. This day was used to great effect in the excellent film V for Vendetta which I think shows that Guy Fawkes failed stand against tyranny had, and continues to, have a relevance that will never be usurped by the silliness of Halloween.
But why all this? Well it is treacle toffee time. Or Bonfire Toffee if you like. Jo used to have this as a wee lass and when I made it the memories were of childhood flavours and Sylvias treats.
This is how it is made.
oil, for greasing
450g dark brown sugar
125ml hot water
1⁄4 tsp cream of tartar
115g black treacle
115g golden syrup
1. Line the base and sides of an A4 sized tin with non-stick parchment and then grease it really well.
2. Put the sugar and hot water in a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved, do not stir the mixture at any point instead tilt the pan if you need to move it around.
3. Weigh out your remaining ingredients, if you put them in a really well greased jug they will be much easier to pour out. Once the sugar has dissolved add all the ingredients and pop the sugar thermometer in, you can use the thermometer to give it a quick swirl but try not to mix it too much.
4. Bring to the boil and boil until you reach soft crack on your thermometer (270/140C) This may take up to 30 minutes, be patient and do not leave the pan unattended as it can change quickly. As soon as it reaches the temp, tip it into your tin and leave it to cool.
5. Once cool remove it from the tin a break up with a toffee hammer or rolling pin. Store in an airtight tin or wrap up in boxes or cellophane bags to give as gift.
BE CAREFUL TOFFEE IS CRAZY HOT DON’T PUT YOUR FINGER IN IT TO TASTE.
Also use a much bigger pot than you would expect as when it boils the mixture turns into a lava like toffee monster which is very difficult to get off your stove top – trust me I know.
The Lava toffee monster
The finished toffee before smashing
Posh Picture from the Inter Web
Store in a plastic container you can squeeze to break up, wrapped in baking paper. I put the first batch in a glass container and it was impossible to get out.
The treacle makes for a fabulously strong tasting toffee enjoy.
Last week I was telling Paula about Guy Fawkes and our bonfires and it occurred to me that His Day had been replaced by Halloween. So much has changed in Australia since I went to Vietnam. Ned Kelly may be next to go as we sprint towards 1984.