Friday, January 27, 2006

A Very Veggie Burns

People always give me funny looks whenever I mention veggie haggis, but I usually find that after they've tried it they really like it, especially when they've turned their nose up at the thought of 'real' haggis.

We've held veggie Burns Suppers for a few years now and they're really good fun. I've no Scottish connections other than having been bought a “Laird title” as a birthday present, but my wife is of Scots descent on her mother's side so we've a bit of a reason to be able to celebrate.

This year we had a few friends round for the evening of the 25th - the anniversary of Robert Burns birth - to have our own version of a Burns Supper.

After a short speech and the Selkirk Grace given in my best Scots accent we began with leek & potato soup, which I like to call pot-a-leekie soup. This was just potatoes and leeks boiled up in a stock with salt, pepper and a couple of bay leaves thrown in.

This makes a fairly chunky soup, reasonably tasty soup that started the Supper off perfectly.

This was then followed by the Address to the Haggis – including the traditional stabbing – followed by the haggis itself served with tatties and neep patties. The patties were made by mashing the potatoes and swede together and then frying them. The haggis was primarily Macsweens, which is my favourite of the veggie haggises available, with a glass of whisky poured over it just before serving. Try it – it makes a huge difference. We also had a Stahly haggis – this comes in a tin, and is a devil to get out – and is also prone to exploding when you cut the skin, so be careful. The Stahly haggis is a lot more sloshy than the Macsweens and doesn't have such a spicy flavour as the Macsweens.

For dessert, we had Tipsy Laird which is essentially a sherry trifle made with sponge soaked in sherry and brandy and then covered in raspberry jam. This was then covered by layers of raspberries, bananas, custard, cream and finally topped with toasted almonds.

The meal was finished off with a cheeseboard that comprised, amongst others Highland Blue and Mull of Kintyre cheddar cheeses with pears and oatcakes.

Once the cheese was polished off we broke out the Scotch and began reading selections of Burns' poems and songs with each reader having to wear a tam-o-shanter that was passed around. The evening finally finished with a rousing version of Auld Lang Syne. Much food was eaten, much wine and Scotch was drunk and a good time was had by all.

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