Tonight in honour of Robbie Burns Day we had Scotland for dinner. I’d thought of doing Scotland in the past but had never decided if we would actually try haggis, so it kept getting pushed. Once we noticed Robbie Burns Day approaching we figured it was a great time to take the plunge. Good thing too as I don’t believe they sell haggis regularly and I managed to snag one of the coveted ones from the small order that came in.
Haggis isn’t something that many run to try, but we all did. Well, we all did but I think only five of us could actually taste it. One said not to tell her what’s in it for a few days while she digests it.
Our haggis came frozen, but all we had to do was thaw it and cook it, so that wasn’t bad! I missed taking a shot of it before I cooked it unfortunately. To cook you wrap it in aluminum foil and put about an inch of boiling water in the bottom of the dish. In hindsight I don’t think I wrapped it enough, allowing more moisture in. This was then cooked at 325 for a couple of hours, or until piping hot.
While this was cooking we set to making the mashed turnips to go with the haggis. It was definitely best eaten together. For this we simply prepared the turnips as we would regular mashed potatoes.
The boys liked the haggis, or at least didn’t mind it, but the girls had their taste and were done with it. I’m not always too fussy about sausage and don’t like pepper, and this was similar to sausage and tasted peppery, so needless to say it was not a favourite of mine at all. The outer casting is removed before eating as it’s quite tough (ours actually burst open while in the foil so Josh threw it out). Somehow ours was too moist, maybe from having the lid on, but once Josh cooked it again and dried it out a bit it tasted much better.
The turnips weren’t too bad though, I’d have them again!
We made sure to have an alternate option for tonight knowing most likely many wouldn’t eat much of it, and Scottish stovie, essentially a stew, was chosen.
Stovie is made by sautéing onions then adding carrots, celery, and rutabaga. After cooking a short time you add potatoes, cooked, cubed beef, and beef stock. This cooks for about an hour and a half. I think it was a bit long as our potatoes were very done.
Despite not having any spices added to it this dish was a flavourful hit. Though a large pot was made there was not much for leftovers.
Dessert was Scottish shortbread. I’ve never made much in the way of shortbread so I want quite sure what to expect for consistency, but it seems to have worked. Made with only butter, flour, and icing sugar it’s quite dry. This chilled for about an hour before baking.
Once the dough was cool it came back inside (as it’s currently winter we used God’s fridge on the deck) we pressed it into a springform pan. This cooked for nearly an hour before it was finished.
This wasn’t as sweet as I’d expected, but I think everyone enjoyed. Elias in particular did, though I think the others agreed with my thoughts. It was good though and I think we’d easily make it again.
Did you know that the first colour photo was taken in Scotland? They also have the first fire brigade, formed in Edinburgh in 1824 the same year as the Great Fire of Edinburgh which went on for five days and turned the city to ash.
Scotch whiskey, considered to be their gift to the world, means water of life in Gaelic. It has been the national drink since 1494.
Scotland is home to the oldest tree in Europe, a twisted yew that is 3000 years old; Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater body of the British Isles; and the shortest commercial flight, lasting merely 47 seconds.
Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads at 13% (these are my kind of people!), free water for their citizens, and their national animal is a unicorn.
Finally, the first sighting of the Loch Ness monster was in 565 AD.