Now that November is here the boat stoves are lit and the chimneys of live-aboards on the Grand Union Canal are releasing comforting little puffs of smoke. I love the smell of burning solid fuel when taking a winter walk down the towpath.

As Guy Fawkes night has just passed us by I thought I’d offer some suggestions of wintery things to eat. Whether you’re on board or in a house these ideas should offer some comfort as the nights draw in.

If you’re going to a firework display at the weekend you might like to try Bonfire Toffee. It’s made from butter, molasses, sugar and sometimes white vinegar and can also be known as Plot toffee or treacle toffee.

Yorkshire Parkin is a kind of gingerbread that originates from Yorkshire; just as Guy Fawkes was originally from Yorkshire. It’s made from oatmeal which gives it a dense, chewy texture and needs at least three days to mature after making. Either of these are perfect treats for a winter’s night, alongside the now popular toffee apples or toasted marshmallows.

Another standard supper to be baked on an English bonfire is a jacket potato; a favourite with my kids. I also like a bit of hot chocolate with whisky in it, and have taken that to the bonfire in a thermos flask before. You could also take soup, which might fill you up more than the hot chocolate.

And finally: Last weekend I was visiting friends in the countryside, watching the flickering flames of their wood-burning stove and enjoying a beautifully spiced version of the classic shepherd’s pie. The recipe came from The Telegraph. Spiced lamb and sweet potato pie.

There are plenty of recipes for boaters on the blog What do you like to cook on board?

Image credit: The Telegraph.


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