This post was imported from my short-lived, now-defunct food blog, Cooking With Ginger.
January 25 is Burns Night, where Scots eat haggis, drink whisky and recite the poetry of Robert Burns to celebrate his birthday.
I've never been to a proper Burns Supper but it does sound good, particularly The Entrance of the Haggis. Everyone stands up and gazes in awe as the mighty bag o' guts and spices is carried into the room on a platter, complete with bagpipe fanfare. Then the host recites the 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.
Which roughly translates as: Oh haggis, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey haggis!
After the poem goes on a few more verses, the haggis is STABBED repeatedly with a juicy big knife and everyone cheers. Hail to the haggis! Then someone proposes a whisky toast to the haggis and finally everyone tucks into a nice plateful of it, accompanied by neeps (turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes). After that there's more speeches, toasts, poetry and whisky. Sounds like a great night out.
For foreigners living in Scotland, eating haggis is right up there on your To Do list with Edinburgh Castle and the Highlands. I was surprised to find I enjoyed it – sure it's offal but the spices and oatmeal give it a beautiful flavour and texture. I'm not sure if I'd ever want to make it myself though:
You have to love any recipe that contains the phrases, "wash the paunch", "boil the heart", "hang the windpipe" and "grate the liver". I was fresh out of lungs tonight, so we had the ever-tasty Macsweens Vegetarian Haggis. It has the same yummy spices as the traditional version, but the offal is replaced by lentils and nuts. You simply wrap it in foil, place in a water bath then whack it in the oven for an hour or so.
Next you prepare the traditional neeps and tatties. And if you're immature, do take time to snigger at your neep if it looks particularly nippy!
Then take the haggis oot of the oven and stab it. KILL KILL KILL!
This is the part in food blogs where ones posts a photo of the plated meal. But since this is my first food blog entry and I am a food blog amateur, I forgot to do that and just scoffed it straight up. After that starch-and-lentil fest, all we can do is slump on the couch and toast Mr Burns with almighty belches.