Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Burns Night

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
All over the world, Scots will gather tonight for the annual Burns Supper. There they will honour the life and work of their national poet, Robert Burns, born on this day in 1759.

Usually they will enjoy a great feast (a haggis is often served) and there will be the singing of national songs, many of them from the pen of Burns himself. It may be that these revels have their origins in the ancient Norse Disting festival of the dísir, protective maternal deities or guardian goddesses ...

Recipe for haggis
Clean a sheep's pluck thoroughly. Make incisions in the heart and liver to allow the blood to flow out, and parboil them, letting the windpipe lie over the side of the pot to permit the phlegm and blood to disgorge from the lungs; change the water after a few minutes boiling for fresh water. Another half hour's boiling will be sufficient; but throw back the half of the liver to boil until it will grate easily. Take the heart, the half of the liver and the lungs, trimming away all skins and black-looking parts, and mince them together along with a pound of good beef suet. Grate the other half of the liver. Have eight onions peeled and scalded in two waters, which chop and mix with this mince. Toast some oatmeal before the fire till it is of a light brown colour and perfectly dry. Less than two teaspoonfuls of meal will do for this quantity of meat. Spread the mince on a board and strew the meal lightly over it, with a high seasoning of pepper, salt, a little cayenne and marjoram, well mixed. Have a sheep's stomach perfectly clean, and see that there is no thin part in it in case of its bursting. Put in the meat with a half-pint of good beef gravy, or as much strong broth and the juice of a lemon or a little good vinegar as will make a thick stew. Be careful not to fill the bag too full so as to allow the meat room to swell. Press out the air and sew up the bag; prick it with a large needle when it first swells in the pot, to prevent bursting; let it boil slowly for three hours if large.
Robert H Christie (1911)

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