Today is Rabbie Burns Day. For those who don't speak Scottish, that is meant to be Robbie or Robert Burns, widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland; the very lad who penned such memorable ditties such as Auld Lang Syne which we've all at some point or the other sung drunkenly on New Year's Eve or A Red Red Rose which we've all listened to at some or the other wedding and wondered which drunken sod wrote those sappy lines. Now you know.
Anyway, January 25th is his birthday and an excellent day to celebrate all things Scottish, including of course a very Scottish dinner of haggis (sheep belly stuffed with unmentionables), tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (steamed and mashed turnips). Yes, they do go in for the gourmet meals here, don't they?
Sadly, my first Burns day in Scotland was spectacularly uneventful. Unless you count frozen pizza and watching Glee on TV as a celebration of sorts. However, in honour of Mr. Burns and Scotland in general, here's a pic from my very first tasting of their national dish when VBF and her friends had arranged a dinner and night out for me the very first time I visited in 2006. It wasn't the best version of the meal; for one, the restaurant "was out" of mashed potatoes and so they gave me a side of fries instead. And secondly, the meat was rather over cooked with the result a tad dry. VBF and friend spent most of the evening apologising on behalf of their chef! Note my expression as I'm trying to figure out if I like the concoction or not!
My second experience with haggis didn't happen until last weekend when I found out that Tescos and other stores actually sell ready made haggis-in-a-can that is supposed to be really very yummy. In an attempt to suspend my disbelief, I tried some and the results were quite unexpected as it turned out to be very delicious indeed! And so easy to prepare! Open tin, mash up contents into bowl, pop bowl in microwave for 5 minutes, serve hot. The sides actually took longer to cook!
So, that is my contribution to Rabbie's Day. I will endeavour to do better next year!