Remember, remember the fifth of November,

Gunpowder treason and plot.

We see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent

To blow up king and parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below

To prove old England’s overthrow.

By god’s mercy he was catch’d

With a darkened lantern and burning match.

So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.

Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.

And what shall we do with him?

Burn him!

In 1605, thirteen young men planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Among them was Guy Fawkes, Britain’s most notorious traitor. Interestingly could this be the beginning of the unlucky thirteen myth?

The tradition of Guy Fawkes-related bonfires actually began the very same year as the failed coup. The Plot was foiled in the night between the 4th and 5th of November. Already on the 5th, agitated Londoners who knew little more than that their King had been saved, joyfully lit bonfires in thanksgiving. As years progressed, however, the ritual became more elaborate and is now commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

Astonishing really that such a blood thirsty act in London more than four hundred years ago, has now become a family celebration that kids up and down New Zealand look forward to. And indeed some of the adults have been known to wonder, in a tongue in cheek kind of way, whether they are celebrating Fawkes’ execution or honoring his attempt to do away with the government. Whatever your beliefs bonfire night is now a family celebration and a time to come together and enjoy each others company.

So lets bring the family together and enjoy the whole thing with some toffee apples by the fire afterall who hasn’t got fond memories of childhood with toffee stuck between their teeth and Dad desperately trying to light a match.

For the toffee coating

450 g demerara sugar

220 ml water

1 tsp vinegar

4 tbsp golden syrup

50 g butter

For the apples

10 apples, I prefer granny smith

10 wooden skewers, for holding the apples – ice lolly sticks will do


1. Add the sugar to the water and dissolve over a moderate heat. When it has dissolved, stir in the vinegar, syrup and butter. Bring to a boil and cook without stirring until it reaches hard-crack stage (138C) or hardens into a ball when dropped in a bowl of cold water.

2. While the syrup is cooking, push a wooden stick into each apple. Once the toffee is ready, dip each apple into the hot toffee, turning it around in the syrup so that each one is fully coated. If you have problems keeping the toffee on the apple try dipping into cold water to rapidly drop the toffee temperature.

3. Leave to harden on a lightly oiled tray before serving. If you’re planning to keep them for a day or two, wrap the apples in cellophane.

For the kids, take a trip to Mr Macgregor’s in Te Puna where they have the most astonishing unadulterated Jazz Apple Juice. And for the adults to follow the apple theme there is that wonderful NZ cider from Old Mout.

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