Bonfire Night Recipes from River Cottage

We've wrapped up warm, our sparklers are at the ready and thanks to our friends at River Cottage we have some deliciously warming recipes to share that will set your Bonfire Night off with a bang! Enjoy a sausage roll with perfectly flaky pastry, indulge in a new take on a toffee apple and keep warm some spiced mulled cider. 


Big Sausage Rolls


  • 1kg finely minced pork, ideally a mixture of shoulder and belly
  • A small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • A small pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 100g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the rough puff pastry

  • 175g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 350g plain flour
  • A good pinch of salt
  • About 3–4 tbsp iced water, to mix
  • Egg wash (beaten egg mixed with a splash of milk), to glaze
  • Fennel seeds and flaky sea salt, to finish


For the filling, mix the pork with the herbs, spices, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Break off a little nugget and fry it so you can make a call on the seasoning. More herbs could be added or perhaps more cayenne if you like it hot.

To make the pastry, combine the butter cubes in a bowl with the flour and salt, then add just enough water to bring together into a fairly firm dough. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough in one direction, away from you, to a rectangle about 1cm thick. Fold the two short ends into the middle so they overlap. Give the pastry a quarter-turn, and repeat the rolling and folding process five more times. Wrap the pastry in cling film, then rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes–1 hour.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to an oblong, about 45 x 12cm and 4mm thick. Lay the sausagemeat along one long side of the pastry, about 3cm in from the edge. Brush this pastry edge with a little egg wash and fold the other side of the pastry over the top of the filling to enclose it. Crimp the edges together well to seal.

Lightly brush the pastry with a little of the egg wash, then scatter over the fennel seeds and a light sprinkling of flaky salt. Place the sausage roll in the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.

Using a serrated knife, cut the sausage roll into 8 lengths and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake in the oven for 35–45 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the sausage rolls from the tray to a wire rack to cool. Eat warm or leave to cool before serving. They can be kept in the fridge for a day or two.


Baked Apples 


  • 100g dried fruit, such as sultanas, raisins and chopped prunes
  • 50ml cider brandy
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 6 fairly large eating apples


Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and pour over the cider brandy. Leave to macerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight. Beat the soaked fruit into the softened butter, along with the sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon, if using.

Core the apples and cut a sliver off the base of each one if you think they won't stand up straight in the tin. It's a good idea to score them around their circumference with a sharp knife too, to stop them bursting. Stuff the cavities with the spiced fruit butter, then arrange the apples in an ovenproof dish, smearing any extra butter over the top.

Cover with foil and place in an oven preheated to 150°C/Gas Mark 2. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until soft but not collapsing, removing the foil about two-thirds of the way through cooking and basting with the buttery juices. Serve the apples with the juices spooned over them and a scoop of ice cream on the side.


Mulled Cider


  • 1 litre still cider
  • 1 glass of good apple juice
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 200ml sloe gin
  • 1 or 2 sliced oranges
  • honey or sugar to taste
  • 1 Bonfire 


To make enough to serve 4, pour 1 litre still cider into a saucepan and add a glass of good apple juice if you like.

Add 6 cloves and 4 cinnamon sticks, cover and bring slowly to the boil.

As soon as it starts to simmer turn off the heat and add 200ml sloe gin (optional, but highly recommended) and 1 or 2 sliced oranges.

Taste, and add a little honey or sugar if you want.

Serve straight away... preferably by a roaring bonfire or while enjoying some fireworks!