On 25th January, we celebrate the life of Robbie Burns. Many of us have often gone to organised Robbie Burns Nights where the festivities begin with The Selkirk Grace followed by a procession of pipes, tributes and toasts paid to the haggis before a dinner of ‘haggis, neeps and tatties’ followed by speeches; The Immortal Memory and a Toast to the Lassies with a reply to the Laddies.
Generally there is also much revelling in between and a bit more than a wee dram of whiskey (always scotch) must be consumed.
Finally the evening is called to a close by everyone being asked to stand, hold hands and sing Auld Lang Syne.
However, for those of you that want to give this a go at home, without the traditional order of ceremony only need follow my recipe ideas below for a fuss free feast of an evening. All recipes below are easy to follow whether you’re creating this for a couple of you or a gathering a friends.
Robbie Burns Supper for 4 people
Starter: Cock-A-Leekie soup
Main: Haggis with ‘neeps and tatties’
Plenty of whiskey to drink!
This is a restorative Scottish soup consisting of leeks in chicken stock, often thickened with rice or barley. The original recipe calls for prunes during cooking.
2 whole chicken legs
chicken stock or water to cover
8 Pitted prunes (optional)
Halve the leeks along their length and remove any grit they may have trapped in their layers. Chop sauté them in a pot with butter. Always sauté leeks in butter! Add the chicken legs and top in stock or water. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the legs, strip the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Return the chicken to the soup and add your pitted prunes. Serve piping hot.
Haggis with ‘Neeps and Tatties’
Cooking haggis is not difficult at all – you can boil it, oven cook it or my favourite approach, microwave it for 5 mins! Neeps can be interpreted as either parsnips or turnips but I tend to favour swede (yellow turnip) and tatties, potatoes. No need for gravy as the whiskey over keeps everything moist.
1 small haggis serves 4 people – pick a larger one should you wish. Nowadays you can also get vegetarian haggis.
6 large maris piper potatoes
1 large swede
seasoning to taste
Peel the potatoes and swede and boil separately until they are soft. Once soft, drain them and mash them into a smooth puree with a knob of butter and a splosh of cream. Season to taste. Follow the cooking instructions on how to cook the haggis – I generally cook it for 5 mins in the microwave! Serve as you wish – a wee dram of whiskey is traditionally poured over the haggis on serving.
Is a very simple pudding to make – imagine layers of flavoured cream, raspberries and oats.
300ml pot of double cream
2 tablespoons honey
a decent slosh of whiskey
2 punnets of raspberries
6 tablespoons of toasted porridge oats
Toast the porridge oats under a hot grill; keep your eye on them as they turn burned very quickly! In a bowl whisk the double cream, honey and whiskey together until soft peaks form – this should be billowy and not over whipped. In serving glasses, layer, the oats, raspberries and flavoured cream.