Remember, remember the Fifth of November! And here\'s a little something to warm your cockles as the fire burns!

Remember, remember the Fifth of November! And here's a little something to warm your cockles as the fire burns!

Guy Fawkes Day recipes to keep you warm this November 5 evening.

Our Chef Michael Gilligan marks Guy Fawke's Day with some traditional recipes for the season. Fascinating history and tasty treats!

November 5 is the anniversary of Guy Fawkes' gunpowder plot. What's that? Well, the story of Guy Fawkes goes back to the early 1600s. During this period there were religious problems between Protestants and Catholics in Britain. (No really! Who would have thought that? Thank God we have moved on from that!)

King James I was a Protestant and he passed severe laws against Catholics. They were not permitted to have religious services. A group of twelve Catholics decided to kill King James I and destroy the Parliament Building.

They planned to blow up The Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605, when the King was present. This was called the Gunpowder Plot.

The leader of the plot was Robert Catesby. The plotters put 30 barrels of explosives in the cellar under the Parliament Building. Guy Fawkes was an expert with explosives. His responsibility was to guard the barrels of explosives and light the fuse on November 5.

The King's soldiers discovered the plot. Guy Fawkes was immediately arrested and tortured. The other plotters were found three days later.

Guy Fawkes and the others were hanged. On the night of November 5, 1605, many people in London were very happy because the plot was discovered. To celebrate they started bonfires in the street. Someone made an effigy of Guy Fawkes and burned it

Ever since the British have celebrated Guy Fawkes' Night. The celebration of "Bonfire" or "Guy Fawkes' Night" is well established in England. These days it is an excuse to let off fireworks and have a good time. Its origins are all but forgotten, although everyone knows of Guy Fawkes and the rough outline of the story.

Any religious significance is certainly absent these days, except perhaps in Lewes in Sussex, where November 5 is particularly relished. As I can remember it was always freezing on Bonfire night so these dishes would warm up anyone.

Mulled Wine Recipe


* Serves 4

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup of water


Pour wine and water into the saucepan and heat.

Add oranges (sliced), cinnamon sticks, cloves, and sugar and simmer for an hour with the lid on.

Optional extra - a splash of the spirit of your choice just before serving.

Bonfire Soup Recipe


* Serves 6-8

  • 1-kilo red cabbage
  • 60 g brown sugar
  • 60 g butter
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 100 g carrot
  • 50 g peas
  • tube tomato puree
  • 75 g cherry tomatoes
  • Bunch of fresh herbs (parsley, basil, coriander, oregano - any of these or a mixture)
  • 1-liter chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper


First cook the red cabbage.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sugar.

Stir in the red cabbage which has been finely shredded and then add the white wine vinegar and water.

Put the lid on and cook on a slow heat for 2 hours.

If it starts to get too dry add some more water.

Now pour some olive oil in a saucepan and gently cook the onion and leek, both of which have been finely sliced.

Now chop the garlic and add this.

When the onions and leek are soft add the tomato puree and cook out gently for 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and stir. Now peel and dice the carrots and add, together with the peas.

Now stir in the cooked red cabbage, together with all the juices.

Add the cherry tomatoes, which have been cut in half. Add the herbs (chopped) and season well.

Put a lid on and simmer gently for at least an hour. Serve with some crusty bread or garlic bread.

* Originally published on IrishCentral in August 2016, updated October 2021.