A Burns night feast

Last week, everyone was talking about Burns night – what to eat, what to drink, and how to celebrate the birthday of Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Not wanting to be left out, despite no significant Scottish link, I decided to host a ‘traditional’ (I use the term loosely) feast for my family at the weekend (as one of my work colleagues said, “nobody wants a weekday whisky hangover”).

We started the evening with a taste test of three Scottish whiskies…

1. Highland Park 12 year old single malt – smoky and powerful with a slightly honeyed aftertaste
2. The Macallan Fine Oak 10 year old – mellow with flavours of rich vanilla and a smooth finish
3. Glenfiddich 12 year old – orange peel and pear flavours with an intense oaky aroma

I’m not a whisky drinker so you will have to excuse my sketchy tasting notes, however I can vouch for the fact that they all make a great whisky mac (1 part whisky, 1 part ginger wine, 4 parts Canadian dry ginger ale).

Following our mini tasting, we all sat down to enjoy baked haggis, neeps and tatties, followed by raspberry cranachan trifle (adapted recipes below – thanks again, BBC Good Food).

Now, I’d never had haggis before so I was a little apprehensive, however this went down a treat. Savoury and delicious, I served it with lashings of onion gravy.

A little tired of whisky cocktails by this point, alongside the haggis we enjoyed a bottle of easy-drinking South African Garden Route Shiraz from Tesco. The sweet black fruit flavours of this wine balanced out the meaty flavours of the haggis perfectly.

Baked haggis

Ingredients (serves 6)
2 x 450g haggis

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C for a fan oven)
2. Remove the outer packaging from the haggis and stab the skin all over with a fork
3. Wrap each haggis separately in foil and bake for 1 hour in the oven
4. Once cooked, slice each haggis open with a knife and spoon the contents alongside neeps, tatties and onion gravy

(I did take a picture of the haggis but it wasn’t very photogenic!)

Neeps and tatties

Ingredients (serves 6)
5 large baking potatoes
Large knob of butter
1 swede
Salt and black pepper

Method
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into equal sized pieces – roughly 4 pieces per potato
2. In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes until starting to go soft
3. Peel the swede and cut into equal sized pieces – roughly 2cm by 4cm
4. In a separate pan, boil the swede for 50 minutes – 1 hour until soft
5. Meanwhile, tip the potatoes into a roasting dish and coat with butter
6. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside
7. Tip the swede into the roasting dish with the potatoes, add some more butter and season with salt and black pepper
8. Roughly mash the swede and potatoes together and serve with a generous spoonful of haggis

Whisky and onion gravy

Ingredients
1 tsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely sliced
25ml whisky
500ml good quality beef stock
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp water

Method
1. In a pan heat the olive oil until sizzling, then fry the onion until soft, but not browned
2. Turn the heat up and add a shot of whisky to deglaze the bottom of the pan
3. Once the whisky has burned off (you should no longer smell alcohol), pour over the beef stock
4. To thicken, mix the cornflour and water in a separate cup and gradually add to the pan

Raspberry cranachan trifle

Ingredients (serves 10)
600g frozen raspberries, defrosted
600ml double cream
200g mascarpone
5 tbsp whisky
100g butter
4 tbsp honey
75g caster sugar
150g jumbo oats
75g chopped hazelnuts
60g plain flour

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c for a fan oven)
2. Melt the butter and honey in a large saucepan, then stir in the sugar, hazelnuts, oats and plain flour until everything is fully coated
3. Spread the mixture out on a lined and greased baking tray, bake for 20 minutes, allow to cool, then crumble into large chunks
4. Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold in the mascarpone and stir in the whisky
5. To assemble, spoon a layer of raspberries into the bottom of a trifle bowl, followed by a layer of cream and a layer of oats
6. Repeat 2-3 times and scatter the remaining oats on top

If you’re not completely full and whiskied-out by this point (well done!), add a shot of Highland Park to your coffee and off to bed with ye!

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Filed under Boozy Recipes, Matching Wine with Food, Taste Test

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