Not being remotely Scottish by birth but always up for celebrating a feast day, I gathered friends and family together a week last Thursday. Throwing on my tartan jumpsuit for the occasion and with a raspberry cocktail in hand, I felt like I was really embracing the night. The menu was based on traditional Scottish fayre to celebrate the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, the author of many Scots poems. The suppers are normally held on or around the 25th January to celebrate the poets birthday. One of his most famous poems “Address To A Haggis” was written to share his appreciation of the haggis and has resulted in Burns and haggis forever being linked. This is why haggis is served as the main dish for this celebration supper.
Address to a Haggis
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad 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 slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie 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;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody 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 make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.
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
Back To Our Supper….
Our evening started with Scottish smoked salmon, oatcakes and a horseradish cream cheese to whet our appetites for the main event.
Buttery mashed potatoes, roasted turnips, carrots and of course the star of the show, haggis were presented to the table and the address to haggis recited. Veggie haggis for me and the traditional offering for my guests made for a real show-stopping centrepiece. What a delight. I am officially a haggis lover now and need to get myself back up to Waitrose pronto to see if they have any left. I could definitely eat haggis more than once a year!
For dessert, my gorgeous chum Serena had turned her hand for the first time at making shortbread. She did a top job creating a short, buttery delight that was made all the better with fresh raspberries, raspberry coulis and a big dollop of clotted cream.
Aged whisky was opened and enjoyed and my stepdad Tim even donned a tartan hat for the occasion. A very jolly time was had as I am sure you can imagine. So much so that we are already planning our next event. It would seem St David’s Day is approaching so a welsh menu now needs to be created. If you have any suggestions please feel free to leave a comment below.