I’m not Scottish. I’m about as southern as it gets. Kentish born and bred. I was born in Gravesend, on the Thames Estuary, as was my mother and her mother before her. My two girls were also born here, making them the fourth generation of proper Gravesendians on my maternal line.
My husband, on the other hand, has got a wee touch of the Scot about him. A little bit och aye the noo. See you, Jimmy. Face full o’heid. And … err … yeah. That. Scottish. From Scotland. Kilts, bagpipes, shortbread, deep fried Mars bars. Deep fried anything, for that matter.
So when our eldest daughter was about two years old I started doing a Burns’ Night supper just to teach her a tiny bit about where her Daddy comes from. They wear their Scotland rugby tops. She colours in a Saltire flag, drinks a gallon of Irn Bru and we all sing along to the Proclaimers. She usually has a bash at reading some Robbie Burns poems, without much success.
So here’s part one of our Burns’ Night supper. It’s really not tricky. Take the outer plastic wrapper off the haggis, leaving the sheepy skin and clips intact.
Wrap it in foil and put it in a dish of water in the oven for an hour and fifteen minutes.
My biggest baby likes to help out with the carrots and parsnips. I just roast them really simply with oil and black pepper.
I boil a whole swede (neeps) with some potato and then the husband bashes them with butter, black pepper and a little nutmeg in a manly Scottish sort of way.
There really isn’t a lot of cooking involved. The best bit is cutting open the cooked haggis. It bursts open and smells delicious.
Even if I didn’t have a Scottish husband, I’d probably still celebrate Burns’ Night just so I can get some of that peppery, meaty goodness in my belly!
And if you have room for pudding, my recipe for cranachan is here!