As part of my mission to open peoples' eyes to Scottish food, Joe persuaded me to cook a Burns supper whilst his mum was staying. Neither she nor Dave Bro had ever tried haggis before, EVER! So this was not an instance of preaching to the converted and I did feel a little under pressure to make sure they liked it.
So issue number 1 - what haggis to get? I thought automatically of Macsweens. It's famous for being the best haggis, which may or may not be because it's also the most commonly supplied in England. But that probably is for a reason: the Macsween family used to own a butcher's in Bruntsfield in Edinburgh and manufactured their own haggis. The haggis became so popular that they closed the butcher's to concentrate on haggis production alone. And lucky for us as far as I'm concerned.
I did have a look at whether we should get a different haggis but given our time constraints (last minute planning as usual) it was Waitrose Macsweens to the rescue!
Traditional accompaniments are neeps and tatties (turnips, or swede to the English and potatoes), so both of these were automatically in. I did my potatoes a little differently - baked in the oven and scooped out, mashed with cream and butter. I also did some roasted chantenay carrots and a redcurrent gravy (which may be a little blasphemous with a Burns supper but ho hum!)
So food cooked, I persuaded Joe to address the haggis (first and last verse of the "Ode to the Haggis" only - it's about 25 verses long!) and we toasted with a little Dalmore whisky each. And drum roll....they all loved the haggis! It's rich, meaty and peppery, and roasted in the oven it falls apart like a dream. The neeps are also peppery and a little bitter, and with creamy mash they come together perfectly.
|Roasted chantenay carrots|
|Haggis, neeps and tatties|
After even more of a break, we also had some crowdie, a creamy Scottish cheese, to round off the meal. Ok, it might have been a fairly rich meal, but it was full of amazing flavours, and I'd defy anyone not to enjoy it.
|Crowdie and crackers - thanks to Haley in Clifford|