Sunday, 31 January 2010

Burn's night

Burns Night

Last week we celebrated Burns Night, although we didn't manage to hold it on the actual day (Robert Burn's birthday, Jan 25th) we did have all the essential ingredients for an authentic Burns Night: Haggis, plenty of whiskey and 3 Scottish guests (4 if you include Louise's bump).

Matt brought home a 10 person Haggis which we wrapped in foil, placed in water and cooked in the oven for 2 hours. Meanwhile Ceri and Charlotte brewed up the whiskey gravy and put the potatoes, parsnips and swede (we couldn't find any turnips but they would be good too) onto boil which were then mashed up with butter, milk, salt, pepper and a few cloves of garlic.

Ceri, who was sporting an excellent tartan dress, created a vegetarian Haggis which in my opinion tasted just as good - if you would like the recipe for the veggie version please bombard Ceri with messages on the blog/facebook and join the campaign for her to make her blog debut!

Charl made some whiskey cream to add into mix (the main ingredients for which were of course whiskey and cream with a spot of dijon mustard and a seasoning of salt and pepper).
Everything was served up with some kale and a generous tumbler of single malt.

Whiskey Gravy:
Vegetable stock (carrot, onion and celery)
corn flour for thickening
red current jelly
salt and pepper to taste

Before we could tuck into our Burn's Night supper we had to get one of our scottish guests (Martin) to address the Haggis. Armed with an iphone from which to read the poem and a big shiny knife, he read out the first few verses and stabbed the haggis to within an inch of its life. I think we got about 3 verses in before our hunger took over and we had to serve it up!

Address To a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

(sonsie = jolly/cheerful)

(aboon = above)
(painch = paunch/stomach, thairm = intestine)

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

(hurdies = buttocks)

His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An' cut you up wi' ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!

(dicht = wipe, here with the idea of sharpening)
(slicht = skill)

(reeking = steaming)

Once the giant haggis had been polished off, it was time for dessert...

Cranachan & Shortbread:

Making Cranachan is very easy as it just involves chucking lots of yummy ingredients together. I started by toasting some porridge oats by putting then under the grill mixed with brown sugar until the browned (stirring frequently to stop them burning).
We then whipped up some double cream (i think me, Rob, Annie and Martin all managed to tire out our arms before it formed peaks) and mixed it with mascarpone cheese, a glug of scotch whiskey and a few spoons of scottish heather honey.
I spooned the creamy mixture into wine glasses along with a few raspberries and topped it off with the crunchy oats.

I've made shortbread a few times before and I always use James Martin's recipe, it produces crumbly, buttery shortbread that is even better when dipped in the cranachan!


  • 175g chilled unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 225g flour
  • 60g caster sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Dice the butter and putinto a mixing bowl to soften a little. Sift over the flour, caster sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Rub together with your fingertips and form the mixture into a ball.

2. Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the shortbread and cut into strips approximately 4cm wide and 10cm long. Lay the biscuits out on a greased baking sheet and prick the surfaces all over with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

4. Sprinkle sugar over the shortbread then bake for 8 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Cool before removing from the baking sheet. Dust with caster sugar before serving

All in all, i think it was a successful Burn's Night, in order to try and beat it next year - we'll have to get some bagpipes!

Rachael x


Is there a reason why you didn't use the electric beaters for the cream? Some kind of weird Scottish masochism?

Nutmeg goes fantastic wi' bashed neeps.

Neither parsnips nor gravy are seen as traditional!! Whisky gravy is normally a glass of whisky!!

McSween's make a great Veggie Haggis (mainly oatmeal and lentils as far as I can see) which is brilliant. Can you post the recipe?

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