Ma Broon’s Burns Night Tribute Supper!
Burns Night ~ 25th January
A Guide to the Great Scottish Feast!
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 wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.”
Ma Broon is the matriarch of the infamous Broon (Brown) family who live at 10 Glebe Street in Auchentogle, a possible variation of the Auchenshuggle district of Glasgow. The family was immortalised every week in a comic strip in the Sunday Post, and what fitting way to celebrate the Bard’s evening than in the company of the Broons! I have used a couple of Ma Broon’s recipes here for your enjoyment and Burns Night pleasure. A Burns Tribute Supper is an important for millions of people throughout the world who regularly celebrate their Scottish Heritage, and being a Burns myself, I always celebrate this wonderful night of speeches, revelry, poetry, fun and great Scottish food. It is an event that is held all over the globe and I have celebrated it in France, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Germany, USA and even on the high seas one year! Even if a haggis cannot be procured for the special evening, any seasonal Scottish food can be enjoyed, as long as a “wee dram” of whisky and maybe some songs accompany it, along with rousing music and poetry recitals from the Bard himself!
A formal Burns Supper follows a traditional schedule of events, to include key elements such as:
A traditional menu of Scottish fare
The Address to the Haggis
The Immortal Memory
Toast to the Lassies
Reply from the Lassies
Piper (or appropriate music)
Recitals of Burns poetry
Singers – ballads & songs of Burns
Musicians – playing traditional Scottish music
The evening starts with chairperson’s address and welcome; The Chairman’s role as ‘Master of Ceremonies’ is very important to direct proceedings throughout the evening, and apart from the welcome, they will introduce the top table, speakers and entertainers and may also run through the sequence of events for the evening. This is followed by the Selkirk Grace:
“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it,
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.”
One of the most important events of the evening follows on from the Selkirk Grace and the starters being served, the grand and flamboyant “Piping in of the Haggis”. The Chairperson asks the guests to be upstanding to receive the star attraction of the evening, the haggis. This is delivered to the table with appropriate pomp and ceremony, and is usually presented on a large silver platter. The piper plays a rousing Scottish tune and leads in the small procession, including the person who will address the haggis, as well as the all important whisky bearer!
The Address to the Haggis
The appointed speaker then gives a resounding and dramatic rendition of Burns’ ‘To a Haggis’ with dirk (or knife) at the ready, he first apologises for ‘killing’ the haggis, then during the stanza which says, ‘An’ cut you up wi’ ready slight’ meaning ‘and cut you up with skill’, the speaker savagely stabs his knife into the haggis and slices along its length with a great flourish. The recital ends with the speaker raising the platter above his head, showing the audience the steaming dish and uttering the triumphant words: ‘Gie her a Haggis!’ to a rapturous applause and raising of whisky glasses. I rarely perform this at home, as a 1 kilo (2 lb) haggis never seems to have the right theatrical feel to it – but do follow the ritual if you fancy the drama of it all!
The evening progresses with “wee drams” of whisky punctuating the food, recitals and music – with the next most important event being the The Immortal Memory. The main speaker gives a spellbinding account of the life of Burns. All of Burns’ life is explored and the speaker tries give the audience an insight into the life and works of the Bard in a witty, yet serious way; to include his literary success, his politics, his pride in Scotland, his humanity, his faults as well as his humour. The speaker then concludes with an invitation to join in a heart-felt toast: ‘To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns’.
Next on the entertainment menu is the Toast to the Lassies.
This humorous speech, made by a male speaker, usually mentions the (few!) shortcomings of women and always raises a laugh, as well as some raised eyebrows and tuts from the woman present! However, the speech always ends on a complimentary note, with the speaker asking the men to be upstanding to raise their glasses in a toast ‘To the Lassies’. This is followed by the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies. A timely and good chance for the women to retort with cunning, wit and a few good-natured quips of their own. The speech, made by a “lassie”, often begins with a sarcastic thanks on behalf of the women present for the previous speaker’s ‘kind’ words and then makes fun of the assembled men, highlighting their faults and foibles! Again, this humorous reply finishes on a positive note. Throughout the proceedings the ubiquitous whisky flows, thus making for a rowdy and yet happy atmosphere, particularly when toasting the lassies and their timely reply!
The evening ends with Auld Lang Syne. The traditional end to a Burns Supper’ or indeed, any gathering when in the company of family and friends. Although the supper and evening usually follows a very traditional and formal schedule, I have steered away from some of the more usual recipes to give you a varied and tasty menu of traditional Scottish fare with a hint of modernity; however, I have included a haggis, as a Burns night would not be Burns night without the haggis! I hope you are all able to celebrate this Burns night this year with Lavender and Lovage, Ma Broon and I! Karen
MENU & RECIPES:
The Burns Night Tribute Menu:
Whisky Doused Scottish Salmon
Fresh Scottish Salmon doused in Scotch Whisky!! Makes a great fish starter for a Burns Night Supper. Serve with thin slices of good brown bread and freshly churned butter……..reward yourself with another wee dram! Can be frozen for up to 2 months – wrap in clingfilm and then tinfoil. Serves 4-6.
12 ounces (340g) boned tail salmon fillets
3 tablespoons Scotch whisky
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped dill
Place the salmon on a plate and freeze for 1 hour. Using a very sharp knife slice the fish as finely as possible across the grain. Lay the slices in a single layer on a plate.
Drizzle over the lemon juice and whisky and then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the sugar and then the herbs.
Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour (overnight if possible), basting with the juices two or three times before serving with lemon wedges, thinly sliced brown bread and butter.
Baked Haggis and Whisky Cumberland Sauce
First, you must catch your haggis! These little creatures are very shy and EXTREMELY wiley – so you must proceed with caution and patience! I find the best place to find them is behind or under Highland heather bushes, although I have been known to catch a couple lurking near thistles! Having caught your haggis – you must treat it with GREAT respect and cook it well for the Burns Night Tribute Supper! That is why my haggis is baked instead of boiled – and it is served with a special Cumberland sauce with lashings of good Scotch whisky! Serves 4-6. Cooked haggis can be frozen for up to 2 months, the sauce is not suitable for freezing.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) fresh haggis
112 mls (4 fluid ozs) Scotch whisky
140 mls (1/4 pint) fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
6 tablespoons red currant jelly, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne
CUMBERLAND WHISKY SAUCE:
In a medium saucepan, combine the whisky, orange juice, and orange zest, and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 50 percent in volume.
Add the redcurrant jelly, salt, and cayenne, and stir well.
Cook until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and pour into an attractive serving bowl. Cool slightly before serving with your baked haggis.
HAGGIS: Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Remove the outer packaging from the haggis then prick all over with a fork, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 90 minutes.
To serve, split open the haggis with a sharp knife and spoon the contents over neeps and tatties or serve separately with other traditional accompaniments.
(Scottish Mashed Potatoes With Onions and Oats)
A beautiful, creamy and traditional accompaniment for your Burns Night haggis, Hogmanay or indeed any beef or game dishes; this mashed potato is delicious and very nutritious. It contains onions as well as oats, for a mashed potato recipe, which is delightfully different! The word “skirlie” is the name of the oatmeal and onion compound that is added to the mashed potatoes, as you have to “skirl” it around the pan! Not suitable for freezing. Serves 4-6.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) floury potatoes
85 g (3 ozs) butter
2 onions, finely chopped
50 g (2 ozs) medium oatmeal (not flakes)
6 tablespoons double cream
fresh curly-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish (optional)
Boil the potatoes until very tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the skirlie. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for 10 minutes until golden and soft. Add the oatmeal and stir until the butter is absorbed and the mix looks dry. Continue cooking until the skirlie is toasted, stirring (skirling round the pan) all the time for about 5 minutes, but do not let it catch and burn. Remove and keep warm.
Drain the potatoes, return to the hot pan and mash really well. Beat in the cream, parsley and skirlie, then season to taste with salt and white pepper. Serve immediately before the skirlie softens, with haggis or any beef and game dishes.
Ma Broon’s Bashed Neeps and Tatties
A classic accompaniment to the ‘great chieftan o’ the pudding race’– the Haggis! Neeps are Swedes, although you can use turnips too if you wish, and Tatties are potatoes. Not suitable for freezing. Serves 4-6.
I packet of Scotty Brand neeps and tatties
1 litre (2.1 pints) of vegetable stock made with a stock cube or granules
A knob of butter (about 40g)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the neeps and tatties until really soft (about 20 minutes). Drain them, reserving a little of the cooking liquid and then blitz them in a food processor or with a handheld blender; or mash (bash) them by hand with a potato masher. Add a bit of the cooking liquid to get a smooth texture then season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper before adding the butter and serving them hot with the haggis.
Typsy Laird Trifle
(Scottish Drambuie Trifle for a Burns Night Supper)
This Scottish trifle is traditionally served at Burns Night Suppers or at New Year. Typsy Laird got its name because the alcoholic ingredients would make the diners slightly drunk!! However, in reality, there is little alcohol in the trifle and the “tipsy” or tipsy effect is due to the “wee drams” of whisky drunk during toasts or throughout the evening’s entertainment! Not suitable for freezing.
1 Victoria sponge cake, cut into slices
12 ounces (340g) raspberry jam
1 glass sherry
2 tablespoons drambuie
12 ounces (340g) fresh raspberries or frozen raspberries
1/2 pint (285 ml) double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
8 fluid ounces (225 ml) milk
5 fluid (140 ml) ounces double cream
2 egg yolks
1 ounce (28g) caster sugar
3 drops vanilla essence
Put the sponge into the bottom of a large glass bowl. Spread the raspberry jam over the sponges.
Mix the sherry and the drambuie in a glass and then sprinkle the liquid over the sponge base.
Once the liquid has soaked into the sponge, add the raspberries.
Egg Custard: Make the custard by whisking the egg yolks, the sugar and the vanilla essence until it becomes pale and creamy.
Add the cream and milk from the custard ingredients to a saucepan and heat the mixture until it reaches boiling point. Stir this into the custard mixture.
Put this mixture into a new saucepan and stir continuously over a low heat. The mixture should now start to thicken. Once thick pour into a separate bowl and set aside to cool, sprinkle a little sugar over the top to avoid a “skin” forming.
Once cooled, pour the egg custard over the layered fruit and alcohol soaked sponge. Spread out it out evenly – again, sprinkle with a little sugar to avoid a skin forming.
Whip the double cream then add the sugar to the whipped cream and spoon this mixture onto the custard. Decorate with the toasted almonds.
This family recipe is a tried and true, and is based on the Be-Ro cookbook recipe. Shortbread biscuits can be made in a variety of shapes, including being pressed in a decorative wooden Shortbread Mould; when they are made in a round and cut into triangles, they are called “Petticoat Tails” and are a traditional Scottish wedding biscuit. Suitable for freezing. Makes 16 -24 depending on shape of tin.
12 ounces (340g) plain flour
4 ounces (113g) caster sugar
8 ounces (226g) butter
extra caster sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Mix the flour and sugar together in a large bowl, and then rub in the butter – as if you were making shortcrust pastry. Use the tips of your fingers and ensure that all the butter has been rubbed in — it should resemble sand!
Then start to knead the paste, pushing it together to form a smooth dough – the heat of your hands whilst kneading helps it form.
Divide the shortbread dough into two equal parts and shape them into balls, then flatten them out into two rounds – using the heel of your hand, to about 7″ in diameter and 1/4″ thick.
Mark the top into equal portions – triangular in shape, and then prick the tops all over with a fork – making patterns if you wish. Crimp the edges as you would a pie crust to make a decorative edge and place them onto a well greased baking tray.
(You can also use a greased and lined 7″ or 8″ fluted edged round sandwich/cake tin – preferably with a loose bottom for ease of taking the shortbread out. Press the dough into the tin and mark out as above).
Roll out the shortbread dough, and shape into a rectangle, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick. Place onto a well greased baking tray as before, and mark into “fingers” — prick over with a fork again. You can also press the dough into an 8″ square baking tin – and then mark out the fingers as above.
(Please Note: The fingers are always thicker than the petticoat tails and shortbread rounds).
Bake the shortbread biscuits in a pre-heated oven 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for between 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are pale and golden – but NOT brown!
Sprinkle extra caster sugar over the top as soon as they come out of the oven if you wish.
Allow the shortbread biscuits to cool slightly on a cooling rack, before cutting into fingers or “petticoat tails”, and cool completely before storing in an airtight tin or container. These will keep fresh for about 10 to 14 days. They can also be frozen with great results.
With thanks to Scotty Brand who sent me my Neeps and Tatties just in time for Burns Night. Grown in Scotland and ready to cook, these will make my Burns Night Supper complete!
Entered into: Foodie Friends Friday for January 24th