Monday, January 29, 2007

Tae a Haggis...

Last Thursday, it was Burns' Night. As a child, I was brought up on the poetry and songs of Burns and won prizes in singing of Burns' songs and recitation of Burns' poetry. I've even addressed the Haggis at a Burns' Supper, so it's only natural that year on year, Jase and I give a nod to the Scots Bard on the 25th January and have the traditional celebration.

Funnily enough, it's actually quite difficult to get hold of a good haggis for the occasion in London. Of course, there's the disadvantage that they don't roam wild down here like they do in the lowlands of Scotland. I wasn't going to settle for an inferior supermarket one (I mean a Walls haggis?) so had to do some research to find the right one.

I discovered that a local butcher in Kensington sold the famous Macsween haggis, so duly headed across there to buy one.

I was surprised at how small it was! The one in the picture above is identical to the one I bought and it was about 4 inches in diameter. I was quite disappointed but thought we could probably bulk it out with the traditional neeps and tatties.

On the night, I put it in a pan of simmering water to let it heat up. To my surprise, it started to grow to enormous proportions! This is the end product below, at least doubled in size.

I suppose it's because I haven't bought a haggis with a proper natural casing (i.e. a sheep's stomach) for a long time that I'd forgotten that they expand. The ones in the artificial casings stay the same size when you cook them.

Well, the haggis was cut up with much ceremony and excitement and we tucked in with gusto. The Macsween haggis was (as always) really, really good.

As Burns himself said:

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 you wish her gratefu' pray'r,

Gie her a Haggis!


GF said...

Brilliant! - and yet even with your blog entry I can't convince anybody here that it tastes lovely and they should try it!!

Rena said...

On the other hand, if haggis does give us the magical properties Burns speaks of in his poem, it's probably best left to those of us who know...

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' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

They don't know what they're missing, G!!