The first stage was to get the haggis cooking. Macsween do an excellent haggis, really lovely texture from the oats, and lots of different flavours vying for your attention once you get into it. We have in the past served it to meat-eater types, and they've really enjoyed it. A Scottish friend of mine who I spoke to today about his hatred of meat haggis and he said he fancied giving it a go after a lifetime of avoiding Burns supper. To cook it you need to wrap it in foil and put it in the oven in a tray with 2cm of water. Obviously I took this as meaning 'water of life' so out came the Laphroaig (18yo refill hogshead, ex-bourbon) and in went a generous splash, which gives an added peaty/smoky note to the haggis.
I personally prefer to vary the textures so we went for roast potatoes rather than mash, and we didn't have any swede so that idea went out the window too. You don't have to be a stickler for tradition when you're Welsh and preparing a Scottish dish - that's my logic anyway. For the haggis toast (and for the amazing whisky sauce, recipe here) I had some rich, warming 21yo Mortlach (1st fill sherry butt). As an accompaniment to the meal we had a choice of three, but we went for Williams brothers' Cock O' the Walk, a ruby ale with a peppery kick that worked beautifully with the spices of the haggis.
Desert kind of slipped my mind but rather fortuitously there was a Famous Grouse* liqueur-filled chocolate knocking about as a leftover from Christmas (my wife can't stand whisky) and so that was a cheeky full-stop to proceedings.
|Haggis, top tatties and the all important liquid accompaniment.|
If you do celebrate Robbie Burns' birthday then I hope you had an enjoyable evening. If you don't, then good food, good whisky and good beer is its own excuse, you should think about giving it a go next time.