Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tae a haggis supper...

It's Burns Night! You know Robert Burns, don't you? Famous Scottish poet? From my home town (well his house is a 15 min walk along the road from my mum & dad's; not that he's in much, it's mostly full of American tourists these days). Anyway, tonight's his night.

Would you recognise him better if I stuck him on a tin of shortbread?

The 25th of January is Rabbie Burns' birthday. He's 262 years old today. Luckily we Scots don't celebrate this marvellous event with a cake and candles. Instead there will be Burns Suppers happening the whole world over, where you'll see many a kilt, a wee dram or two, and a hell of a lot of haggis being spoken to and stabbed with a dagger, or a knife (whatever's to hand).

Haggis is possibly the most famous Scottish food most people can think of. It's made up of sheeps heart, liver, and lungs (all minced), mixed with oatmeal, onion and suet (and seasoned) traditionally encased in the lining of a sheep's stomach. Nowadays though they tend to come in the kind of casing that they put sausages in, but you can still get your hands on a proper one in the butchers. Being of a 'faddy' type myself, I must admit I am not a fan of haggis. Never have been. And haggis is tradionally served with neeps (turnip) and tatties (potatoes, usually boiled) and I was never much fond of those two things either, so I suspect most Burns nights I have dined on toast.

Seeing as I am not really one for traditional Scottish fare, it might not surprise you to learn that I won't be boiling up a haggis for 3 hours this evening (or microwaving it, as I understand you can do these days), nor will I be popping out for 4 of these....

from: The Art & Mystery of Food 

the traditional ye olde (deep fried in batter) Scottish haggis supper, available at all good Scottish chip shops, because beside the fact I don't like it, they're quite hard to get your hands on here. I am told that the KaDeWe don't stock them (shocking, isn't it?), but you can get them tinned in Broken English, the British shop here in Berlin. Tinned almost has as much appeal as deep fried in batter, doesn't it?

No, we won't be having haggis tonight. Indeed, shame on me, I only realised it was Burns Night when I was wished a happy one this morning when I met a friend for coffee, and we had already made our dinner plans for this evening. You see, Stevie's gone off to Derby for a few days, and we've been left the car, so in fact, dare I say it... we're heading to IKEA for some decidedly un-Scottish Swedish meatballs!*

* As my just desserts for this heinous crime, I am going  to be spending the next few days sewing a kilt for Orla to wear to 'International Day' at school on the 30th. Never having made a kilt, I have high hopes for how it might turn out!


  1. It doesn't look very appetising, to be honest! When I saw the photo first I thought it looked like sheep brains.

    Good luck with the kilt!

    1. No, it doesn't look that great does it? Admittedly I did mean to Google some more appetising haggis pictures (maybe haggis prepared by a fancy restaurant), but that photo caught my eye first!

  2. I love haggis, whichever one it is I've eaten, tinned, traditional, deep fried or the one they make for English people. But I will say I do prefer the Ikea meatballs.

    1. I imagine the English one is the filling from a cornish pastie stuffed into a sock. I did see that you can now get vegan ones which must contain such dissimilar contents that it might as well be called something else - but I can imagine that I would probably prefer it!

      And our IKEA meatballs were divine. And I managed not to buy anything else while I was there! (Mostly because I am planning a return trip without kids)

  3. An Ayrshire lass! My dad was from Ayr (near the race track).

    I've been scarred by Robert Burns, though. As a youngster there were far too many Burns books lining our shelves and every year I was subjected to a Burns Night supper somewhere. Other times of the year there was always talk of neeps and tatties and, of course, tattie scones. Are they really that good? ;)

    I won a haggis once. My mum put it out for the birds (Sassenach, eh?) - it was still there two weeks later. Wise.

    On a positive note, the knife in the sock always intrigued me. Is it ever used other than to slice the haggis open?

    Tom (Scottish father, Sassenach mother)

  4. You can't be saying that you've never had a potato scone?? That's ridiculous and something your father should have seen to. Next you'll be saying you don't drink 3 litres of Irn Bru every day. Good lord. I will need to send you an emergency care package with the above, and maybe some Tunnock's teacakes, and that weird orange fondant covered in chocolate that they used to sell round the doors along with tablet so sweet it could kill a horse.

  5. Tunnock's teacakes! My god, they are good! Don't put these thoughts in my head. We're scuppered here in Germany when it comes to that stuff.

    Tattie scones. Yes. With baked beans. But my dad used to make out they were some kind of food of the gods. They're good, but not life changing. Not like currywurst ;)

    1. Let me introduce you to the 'British Corner Shop' - the online supermarket for expats...oh yes! You need to be ordering 30KG of stuff really to make the £11.99 delivery to Germany charge good value, but the prices are the best I've seen so far for this sort of service.


You're not going to leave without saying something, are you?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...