HAGGIS: FEELING THE BURNS NIGHT
Friday sees the official start of my EATING FOR BRITAIN trip.
In the early morning, I shall throw a few things in the back of my recently purchased, battered old Ford Focus and point it Northwards to Scotland where for the next eight months I shall be travelling in search of some of the finest that this beautiful country of ours has to offer.
What better way to begin, given that 2009 marks the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns birth, than to head up to Alloway, his home town and accept the kind offer to attend a large, traditional Burns Night, celebration. There will, of course, be the wailing of pipers, the intoning of the immortal words over the “wee timorous beastie” and, possibly even some men in kilts offering me the chance to see their dirks, ahem.
We wont be alone, however, as on the day itself, the 25th January, over 1500 official Burns Suppers have been registered around the world with many more going on in the homes of teary eyed ex-pats.
By way of preparation, last night I cooked up a small little example of lung, hearts, liver, oats, barley and spices in a stomach, from the finest of all makers of Haggis, MacSweens and served it with a traditional side of mashed turnips and slightly less conventional additions of mashed sweet potatoes and a thick parsley sauce.
There are lots of ways of cooking a haggis, but I went for the quick method of using the microwave, which may seem controversial, but is in fact a tradition that goes way back to the mid 1960’s where it was invented by the feared Clan McWhirlpool.
To make sure it did not dry out, I doused the meat with a good glug of whisky while cooking and, of course, made sure to do the same as I was eating it.
My journey is going to bring me, I am sure, into contact with some amazing food and some equally amazing people, but there could be few better ways to begin than to pay homage to this little creature from North of the border