Robert Burns was born on the 25th of January, 1759. He was witty, unbridled creatively, and driven. He believed in equality and could not stomach hypocrisy. He was a fiercely proud Scot. All of these virtues have become ingrained in what it is to be Scottish, and are the reasons why we celebrate his birthday each year.
What better way to honour the great man’s life than through poetry and food? Each Burns Night has its own unique flavour, but most have at least one of the following.
Haggis, neeps and tatties.
This is the quintessential dish for any Burns Night supper. Burns himself liked simple, nourishing food, so he would surely approve of such fare in celebration of his name. Haggis can be shop bought, or you can make your own.
Simple, quick and delicious, Cranachan is everything you could hope for in a dessert; it is easy to make and you will not be able to resist coming back for more. Central to it is Crowdie cheese, and what better to use than your homemade Scottish Crowdie from your Big Cheese Making Kit? Here’s a great Cranachan recipe:
- 600ml double cream
- 100g Crowdie Cheese (softened)
- 250g Fresh Scottish Raspberries (or fresh Blackberries)
- 50g Oatmeal
- 70g demerara (brown) sugar
- 1 tbsp whisky (a good single malt)
- 2 tbsp honey (heather honey if possible)
Start by toasting the oatmeal in a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan on a medium heat. Shake the oatmeal over the heat until crisp. Take off the heat and sprinkle over the sugar. Leave to rest and cool and the sugar to caramelise over the oatmeal.
In a small bowl beat the Crowdie Cheese into a soft cream, add the cool oatmeal and sugar and beat in.
In a mixing bowl beat the cream to a thick froth, stir in the Whisky, Fruit (keep a few nice raspberries or blackberries in reserve for decoration) and toasted, sugar coated Oatmeal and Crowdie Cheese. Once fully mixed serve at once in small bowls with some of the whole fruit you reserved and a drizzling of honey over the top.
Whisky is another important ingredient. Drank at any point during Burns Night (or day!) the chosen whisky is obviously down to personal taste, but a quick survey of friends suggested Laphroaig, Macallan, Balvenie, Aberlour, Caol Ila, Talisker, Isle of Jura and, controversial, Yamazaki. In fact my quick survey proved nothing except their are endless whisky choices!
Burns wrote some of the world’s most popular poems. From Auld Lang Syne to the epic Tam O’ Shanter, his work is synonymous with what it is to be Scottish. For obvious reasons, we’ve chosen to reproduce Address to Haggis:
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o’need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ hands will sned,
Like taps o’ trissle.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
Gie her a haggis!
We hope you have a wonderful Burns Night!
Bye for now,