Just when you think your diet and detox and new you regime is kicking in fine, we Scots come up with another feasting tradition and a night to booze and eat and pile on the pounds. Yes dear reader, it is Burn’s Night!
The birth of The Bard is celebrated in this fair land, and especially round these parts as the man was indeed born in our fair county of Ayrshire, in fact he spent rather a lot of time with a certain lady in our own village of Dunlop, apparently she was one of his many sponsors.
Our tradition is to have a Burns Supper on 25th January and this would normally be based around that old time favourite up here in Scotland – The Haggis.
I shall now resist the temptation to start drivelling on about little cute animals with legs shorter on one side so that it can run round the hillsides with ease. Of their nesting habits in the 19th hole on the legendary old course at St Andrews. I won’t even mention the very limited hunting season and the myriad of weapons used to snare, entrap and kill these beasties.
In fact I won’t even tell you how to make the stuff.
Just head for a butcher or good supermarket and keep our nation afloat in the Haggis department.
What I will tell you is how to make Clapshot which is an old traditional accompaniment for the great dish that is haggis (or wonderful with any meat dish really and great for Veggies too).
All you need are potatoes that are good for mashing (King Edwards and Marris Piper are excellent choices), a turnip, or swede as the English call them, a dash of whole milk/full fat variety not whitewash, some butter and chives. Salt and pepper too of course.
How to make Clapshot
Peel both the turnip and potatoes and chop into chunks.
Use a good big pan so you’ll have space for mashing and toss in the veg. Cover with cold water and a good pinch of sea salt. Cover and bring to the boil and cook until all veg is tender and you can easily pierce with a fork. This will take about 20 minutes or so.
Drain out the water and give the pan a good shake. Now for the exercise, get in there with your masher or fork and apply some muscle. If you’re just doing a small pot of mash this is a nice easy job, but if you are doing a huge pot of the stuff it is a workout in its own right so you’ll be well justified in eating as much as you like afterwords!
Add salt and pepper to task and stir in your butter and a little milk to get the smooth consistency that you prefer.
Transfer to a serving plate and top with some snipped up chives for a dash of colour and extra taste.
Comfort food with or without the haggis.
Happy Burn’s Night!