Before we begin a bit of poetry for this special day…
Traditional Guy Fawkes poem
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, 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 dark lantern and lighted match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A ****** of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!
Saturday night is Guy Fawkes Night in the UK, which is the night us Brits (I say “us” but I am only an adopted Brit) traditionally have a bonfire and set off fireworks. It is also the night that as luck would have it, is also guaranteed to be wet and cold here in England. So what a better way to add a bit of pre-firework insulation into your system than a lovely Potato, Cheese and Ham bake.
Double cheese, potato and ham bake
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins
- 20g (7oz) thick slices roast ham, fat trimmed, cut into chunks
- 2 pinches ground nutmeg
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 750g (1 1/2lb) potatoes, such as desirée or King Edward, peeled, thinly sliced and patted dry
- 2tbsp snipped chives, plus extra to serve
- 3tbsp double cream
- 400ml (14fl oz) milk
- 15g (1/2 oz) plain flour
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 75g (3oz) mature cheddar, grated
- 75g (3oz) double Gloucester, grated
- 1 x 260g bag spinach
- Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C.
- Butter a 1·5-1·8 litre (2½-3 pint) ovenproof dish.
- Tip the spinach into a large heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water, then leave for a few seconds to wilt. Tip into a colander, then run under cold water to stop it from cooking any more. Drain and squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Dry with kitchen towel and set aside.
- To make the cheese sauce, combine both the cheeses in a bowl. Melt half the butter in a pan. Stir the flour into the butter and cook for a minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream, chives and two-thirds of the cheese and season.
- Layer a third of the potato slices in a casserole dish in overlapping slices, then top with a third of the shallots. Season. Scatter over half the spinach, a pinch of nutmeg, then half the ham. Pour over half the cheese sauce. Continue the layering with another third of the potatoes and shallots and some seasoning. Follow with the rest of the spinach, nutmeg, ham and sauce. Finish with a layer of potato and shallot and some seasoning.
- Dot with the rest of the butter, then scatter over the remaining cheese.
- Put the dish on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1¼ hours, until the dish is bubbling and golden on top and the potatoes are tender. Cover loosely with foil for the last 25-30 minutes if the top is getting too brown. Remove and leave to settle for 5 minutes, then serve scattered with some extra chives.
This can be eaten as a side dish with some sausages or similar meat dish or as a dish on it’s own.
- November… Bonfire Night, darkness and my American friends give thanks (slightlydomesticateddad.wordpress.com)
- For Occupy protesters, every day is Guy Fawkes Day – Los Angeles Times (news.google.com)
- Garden Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (lissasdelights.wordpress.com)