There’s nothing wee about the offally delicious Burns Night supper Claire Goodwin has created for Sunday’s celebration of Rabbie.
Watch any panel show and the subject matter of Scottish cuisine generally invokes derision and the fairly stereotypical (casually racist?) thought train that Scottish food heritage is fairly foul and deeply unhealthy. I predict that many of us, myself included, are hard pressed not to think of a deep-fried Mars bar and a glass of Irn Bru when considering the culinary delicacies of the Land of the Brave.
When I was around 13, I won an English prize, which meant I had a book voucher in my hot sweaty little pubescent hand. Rock and roll. Early 90s; rave culture, shock filmography rife, yellow smiley faces and dummies on necklaces worn with a Global Hypercolor T-shirt. I found myself buying the book of the film everyone was talking about. Trainspotting.
Drug taking, pornography, violence, bed-shitting, underage sex, infant deaths, cold turkey, theft, crippling apathy, despair and, of course, a very dirty toilet. All regaled in a thick Leith dialect.
Dad found the book. Dad read the book. Dad went mental. It was nearly as bad as my sister sneaking out in a forbidden mini-dress to get drunk at Volts nightclub.
So this was my first experience of Scotland. My second was a trip to T in the Park at Balado when I was 18. I walked three miles to the nearest service station to have a poo twice that weekend. Not my greatest memory.
When I met my husband, his views on Scotland were not tainted by pop culture or terrible festival experiences. He took himself off to Scotland for a lone camping trip to discover the sights. He told me of oysters in Loch Fyne, whisky in Arran and haggis and salmon pretty much everywhere. He told me of beautiful scenery, Hogmanay, scathing winds and Brewdog. He experienced these again but this time with me. And he taught me about Burns Night.
So here is a feast of haggis and whisky and oats and ginger. I hope the Cranachan is not too sacrilegious to the purists out there. And for those that are a little squeamish about the pluck of a lamb in a sheep’s stomach: buy a decent one, try it and use it with other ingredients. Many come in a synthetic bag now, so if identifiable innards aren’t your thing, look for one of these. In time, you’ll agree that it is, indeed, the Great Chieftain of the puddin’ race.
‘Scotch’ doesn’t actually refer to this lovely little nugget being Scottish. Scotch is in fact a term attributed to the egg to denote that something has been done or added to it. Given I’ve added haggis to mine, though, it is a truly Scotch Egg.
225g of pork mince
150g of cooked Haggis (I used Findlays of Portobello)
4 medium eggs
A cereal bowl full of breadcrumbs. I make mine from homemade bread ends.
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons of plain flour
Seasoning to taste
1. Boil a pan of water on the stove. It should be simmering before you place your eggs in. You can add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to ease the peeling of the shell.
2. Place your eggs in the water. I like soft dippy eggs within my Scotch Egg so for medium (55-60g) eggs, cook them for four and a half minutes. Put a timer on.
3. At the ringing of the timer, empty the pan in the sink and run cold water on the eggs. Continue to do this until they are cold. You are aiming to cool these eggs down rapidly and therefore stop the cooking process. This will give you a lovely dippy egg later.
4. Peel the shell from your eggs. Set aside.
5. Mix together your haggis and pork mince in a bowl. Season (remember there is already seasoning in the Haggis so go gentle).
7. Pick the pork mix up with your hand underneath the cling film (i.e. you shouldn’t be touching the meat), so that you are cradling the meat in a cupped hand. *snigger*
8. Mould the meat into your cupped hand. *snort*
9. Cradle the egg into the meat and then work the meat around the egg until it is fully covered.
11. Repeat the same for the other three eggs
12. Place all in the fridge for at least half an hour to cool down and set.
13. Have your beaten eggs, flour and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls in front of you. Unwrap the egg and follow the steps below:
(a) Have a ‘wet’ and a ‘dry’ hand. It becomes less messy.
(b) Roll the egg in flour (dry)
(c) Roll the egg in the egg wash (wet)
(d) Roll the egg in the breadcrumbs (dry)
(e) Roll the egg in the egg wash (wet)
(f) Roll the egg in the breadcrumbs (dry). Two crumb coats is essential for taste and texture.
14. Heat your fryer to 170◦C. Fry the eggs for seven minutes.
15. Serve warm.
600g plain flour
100g butter, grated
250g butter, bashed out into a rectangle between sheets of clingfilm
2 teaspoons of dried rosemary, finely chopped
Salt (skip if you’re using salted butter)
500g lamb breast roll, roasted and then minced (or finely chopped), giving 300g of meat (save the juices for the gravy)
500g of minced lamb
Beaten egg for egg wash
Flour for gravy
Potatoes, enough for your guests
Swede, enough for your guests
Puff pastry is a labour of love. The key is to keep your butter cold, so once you have battered your butter into a rectangle, get it back in the fridge to firm up again before use. Also give it time to rest between stages. You won’t be disappointed.
2. Stir in the rosemary and salt.
3. Add the water and work to a dough.
4. Roll into a large rectangle.
5. Place the cold sheet of butter on the bottom two thirds of the rectangle.
6. Fold the top third (the bit with no butter) over the mid third of rectangle.
7. Fold the bottom third over the mid third, creating an envelope.
8. Turn 90 degrees.
9. Roll into a rectangle the same as before. Repeat the folding action. If you start to see butter ooze, you need to whack it in the fridge for a little bit to cool down.
10. Rest for 40 minutes in the fridge.
11. Repeat the folding and rolling twice more following the above steps.
12. Rest again for 15 minutes in the fridge.
13. Repeat the folding and rolling again.
14. Refrigerate and leave to rest for at least another 15 minutes before using.
1. Mix all the meat products together, season and roll into a sausage. Set aside.
2. Roll out your pastry to twice the size of your baking tray and lay half of it over.
3. Place your filling on the pastry.
4. Brush egg wash on the pastry on either side of the filling.
5. Fold the other half of the pastry over the top.
6. Trim the edges so they are straight. If you have lots of pastry left over and want to use it for something else, layer the offcuts together rather than squidging them together.
7. Slash the top.
8. Press the edges together with a fork.
9. Egg wash all over.
10. Cook at 180◦C for around 30 minutes. This will change according to your oven.
11. When it comes out of the oven, it will have lots of juices in the bottom of the tray. To avoid these seeping into your lovely pastry, you need to remove the roll from the tray and get it on a cooling rack straight away.
2. Roast the tatties.
3. Boil the neeps.
4. When both are cooked, put them in a pan and smush them together with a masher. You’re not looking for a smooth mash, just a crush of veg. Stir in a large knob of butter and season. Ha. Knob. *smirks*
1. Take your juices and place in a pan, bring to the boil.
2. Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour until you get a paste.
3. Add boiling water while whisking, a couple of splashes at a time until you get the required amount and consistency.
4. Season. If you want to be extra luxuriant, throw in a knob of butter at the end, let it melt and whisk in. It will make your gravy glossy. Remember, the colour on your lamb will dictate the colour of your gravy. Serve with a lovely glass of whisky.
Pudding: Cranachan (serves 4)
My take on Cranachan. This is boozy, but you can take that out and it would definitely still work.
For the jelly
70ml Ginger Liqueur or Ginger Beer (de-gassed)
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 leaves gelatin
1 piece of stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
For the oat praline:
2 tablespoons toasted jumbo oats (you can toast your oats in a dry frying pan)
1 teaspoon water
For the rest:
300ml double cream, whipped
4 tablespoons of toasted jumbo oats
1 tablespoon Talisker (I used the oak-smoked; you can omit this if tee-total)
1. Soak the gelatin in cold water.
2. Put the ginger liqueur/beer, caster sugar and water into a pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Take from the heat and add the stem ginger. Stir.
4. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and add to the liquid. Stir until dissolved. Leave to cool.
5. Once cool, pour equal measures of the jelly into four wine glasses and place in the fridge to set.
1. Place your sugar and water into a frying pan; heat until dissolved and a lovely caramel colour.
2. Pour on top of toasted oats in a silicone tray or greased baking tray.
3. Leave to cool.
4. When set, break into shards.
1. Dry fry your oats in a frying pan.
2. Split the quantity and sprinkle the whisky on half. Allow to soak in and then mix through the other half of the oats.
3. Set aside.
4. Whisk your double cream until a pipeable consistency.
2. Sprinkle oats on top of the cream.
3. Repeat the process until there is nothing left
4. Stick in a shard of praline.
I tried to make a Scottish cocktail. I’d heard of it before: a Tartan Trembler. It involves whisky, Irn Bru, Angostura bitters and an olive. You will see this radioactive mix lurking in the background of the pictures, resplendent in a champagne flute with a slice of lime. This delicacy I feel, is not for me to judge. I will leave it at that.1796 Views
Claire is a speech therapist, baker, cake decorator, sometime radio guest and writer. She writes about food, being fat and living with mental health problems @bake_therapist; www.baketherapy.co.uk; www.facebook.com/CakeChemistryUK