Happy Burns night!
Oidhche Bhlas Burns or
Sláinte Mhath! pronounced “slanj’-uh va’”.
Held on 25th January every year, Burns night is a celebration of Mr Robert Burns birthday. This Scottish poet 1759-1796 was also known as The Ploughman Poet having been a farmer and a farmers son. He famously who wrote Auld Langs Syne, Red Red Rose, Tam o’ Shanta and Address to a Haggis along with many more.
Burns night is a feast of music, poetry, dancing and speeches celebrating Scottish culture. Filled with ceremony, the evening starts with the host welcoming his guests and saying Grace, then giving thanks. It’s at this point the food is served starting with soup called Cullen Skink, this a milk based Smoked Haddock soup thickened with potato.
Haggis is then brought out on a silver platter by the chef with guests standing and clapping and bag pipes playing. The host or master of ceremonies then recites Address to the Haggis. (See below) Then toasts the haggis with a dram of whiskey.
Haggis is the liver, heart and lungs of a sheep minced and mixed with oatmeal, onion and seasoning. Stuffed into a sheep’s stomach lining and boiled. Now the delicate disposition of my children resulted in them scrunching their noses up when I read the ingredients. However, the fact is heart, lungs, and liver means haggis is packed full of iron, magnesium, selenium, calcium, zinc, and copper. You won’t find that in a Chinese takeaway! This is traditionally served with Neeps and Tatties or mashed swede/turnips and potatoes. All washed down with a dram or two of whiskey! If there’s room for a dessert then Cranachan would suitably fit the bill. Cranachan is made with oats, raspberries, cream, whiskey and honey to taste.
An Immortal memory is then recited which is a dedication to Robert Burns followed by A Toast to the Lassies. This is to celebrate the lassies present, it is performed with much gallantry and a dash of Robert Burns’ love of the Lassies, having produced not only twelve children by four lassies but many many poems. Be warned some would need an age rating! The men in the room stand and toast the Lassies. This is countered by the Lassies in a Reply to the Laddies. Robert also left endless material to quote, and good humoured ribbing often joking about the differences between the genders and this time all the Lassie stand to toast the Laddies. The host then gives thanks to his guest for coming after which everyone stands and joins together to sing Auld Langs Syne. Wow what an evening!
Corby is Northamptonshire’s very own little Scotland. Many Scots migrated in the 1930’s to work the steel mines and so many stayed it’s said one third of the population in 1961 were born in Scotland. With them, came all the traditions and celebrations of home.
So they we are, I’m a fan of celebrating with food, add a bit of music and a wee drop of whiskey and make memories. We need little reason in this house and frankly whether it Burns night, Diwali, Easter or a Wednesday after the year we’ve all had I say take every opportunity and celebrate, even if you live alone food will always bring us together.
Burn Night falls on the 25th, which this year is a Monday. The same day we deliver our Fill Your Fridge evening meals. We therefore thought it was appropriate for a Burns Night Fill Your Fridge themed menu
*Haggis, Neeps and Tatties stack, with whiskey gravy
*Vegetarian haggis Rumplethumps which is like a bubble and squeak
*Chicken Balmoral – Breast stuffed with haggis and peppercorn sauce
*Smoked Haddock Kedgeree – Smoked Haddock curry
*Vegan Stovies which is soy mince and potato stew
*Cullen Skink soup – Smokey Haddock and potato soup
*Rice pudding topped with winter spiced fruit
Haggis isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, any more than whiskey is mine, so if you would prefer I left it out then please pop a request in the notes box when you order. Or to email us, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon and Liz
Address to the Haggis – a translation
Address to a Haggis Translation
Good luck to you and your honest, plump face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or intestines:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.
The groaning trencher there you fill,
Your buttocks like a distant hill,
Your pin would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores the dews distill
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour wipe,
And cut you up with ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like any ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm steaming, rich!
Then spoon for spoon, the stretch and strive:
Devil take the hindmost, on they drive,
Till all their well swollen bellies by-and-by
Are bent like drums;
Then old head of the table, most like to burst,
‘The grace!’ hums.
Is there that over his French ragout,
Or olio that would sicken a sow,
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust,
Looks down with sneering, scornful view
On such a dinner?
Poor devil! see him over his trash,
As feeble as a withered rush,
His thin legs a good whip-lash,
His fist a nut;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his ample fist a blade,
He’ll make it whistle;
And legs, and arms, and heads will cut off
Like the heads of thistles.
You powers, who make mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill of fare,
Old Scotland wants no watery stuff,
That splashes in small wooden dishes;
But if you wish her grateful prayer,
Give her [Scotland] a Haggis!