Twas 25th January and it was Burns’ Night.
He’s a pretty awesome guy.
Every 25th January, fans of this Mr Burns come together and throw him a special supper to celebrate the life and poets of Robert Burns, the author of many Scottish poems. They are normally held on his birthday, which you guessed it, on 25th January! Oh and did I tell you there’s Haggis? Loads of Haggis! Served with Neeps and tates! (Turnips and Potatoes!).
Haggis? What is haggis? It’s a traditional scottish dish, where it is essentially an animal’s stomach stuffed with sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, suet, spices, oatmeal and stock. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? They normally come looking like this:
So why Haggis at a Robert Burns Supper? He’s made a famous poem all about Haggis called ‘Address to a Haggis’. Yes, he thought up a poem all about Haggis that contaisn guts whereas he could be talking about frolicking lambs, the Lockes, The highlands, the tartan. No, he wanted to make a poem about guts, blood and gore. I’m liking this guy. But before we can talk about the poem, I got to make the supper first!
1) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Remove the outer packaging from the haggis then prick all over with a fork, wrap in foil like a baked potato and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
2) Meanwhile, chop up the turnip (it’s called a swede as well) into whatever size portions you require. Use a bread knife for easier chopping. Same for Potatoes.
3) Put into a pan of boiling water for 30 mins until relatively soft. Drain the veg and sprinkle rosemary on top. Get a smaller pan lid and squash partially and carefully the potatoes to the bottom of the pan.
4) Take out the Haggis, and split it open.
5) Serve the Haggis and Veg 🙂
It helps to create an ambience. It’s January and you’re in Scotland. It’s dark and cold so wrap up warm and light some candles. Maybe for romance. Who knows, you might just see a red headed…I mean red-blooded fitty sitting next to you at the table.
Look at the haggis and recite ‘Address to a Haggis’ with a failed attempt at a scottish accent and then…you know what to do…eat! Cannae wait to eat more Haggis! I served this dinner to 2 of my great friends, Hiten and Hannah.
I’m a massive fan of Haggis, it’s relatively cheap and you can buy it at your local butchers. Hiten said it was his first time having it and he was pleasantly surprised after hearing it was just basially guts. Hannah refused to let me explain what was inside Haggis at the table and continued deluding herself that it was all chocolate and wine. Fair enough!
We all pretty much were full and fat as a pig by the end but extremely tired! We didn’t eat this til 10pm!
So it was time for Hannah to leave, and as she left, I uttered a quote of a certain Mr Burns…‘Release the Hounds!’
Meanwhile, here’s ‘Address to a Haggis’…enjoy!
|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)|
|Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive: Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive, Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve, Are bent like drums; Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive, “Bethankit” hums.||(deil = devil) (swall’d = swollen, kytes = bellies, belyve = soon) (bent like = tight as) (auld Guidman = the man of the house, rive = tear, i.e. burst)|
|Is there that o’re his French ragout Or olio that wad staw a sow, Or fricassee wad mak her spew Wi’ perfect scunner, Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view On sic a dinner?||(olio = stew, from Spanish olla’/stew pot, staw = make sick)(scunner = disgust)|
|Poor devil! see him ower his trash, As feckless as a wither’d rash, His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash, His nieve a nit; Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash, O how unfit!||(nieve = fist, nit = louse’s egg, i.e. tiny)|
|But mark the Rustic, haggis fed, The trembling earth resounds his tread. Clap in his wallie nieve a blade, He’ll mak it whistle; An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned, Like taps o’ thristle.||(wallie = mighty, nieve = fist)
(sned = cut off) (thristle = thistle)
|Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o’ fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware That jaups in luggies; But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer, Gie her a haggis!||(skinkin ware = watery soup) (jaups = slops about, luggies = two-“eared” (handled) continental bowls)|
What did you do for Burns Night?