January 25: Burns Night

'Some hae meat, and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit.'

 A little repeat to keep you going for a few days...

Robbie Burns – ploughman, poet, lover, excise man and bawdy balladeer. Burns arrived in Edinburgh in 1786 on the publication of ‘Poems chiefly in the Scottish dialect’ and found himself feted by the literary and aristocratic society there, his good looks and charm helping him along. Burns was much admired by his contemporaries; Charles Lamb said ‘Burns was the god of my idolatry’.

There’ll be Burns Night Suppers all over the world tonight and not just amongst the Scottish diaspora. People will come together to celebrate the life and work of the humble farmer’s boy who became the greatest poet in Scotland. The haggis will be praised in unauthentic Scottish accents and lots of whisky will be drunk.

We’re going to have a Burns night supper at home just the two of us. I’ve planned a little bit of smoked salmon with toasted smelt loaf, then haggis, which I have to confess I bought, with tatties, neeps and brussels sprouts which are unauthentic but green! Checking out numerous Burns night menus, traditions on what should follow seem to vary. A cloutie dumpling, that is a pudding boiled in a clout or cloth is regarded as the most authentic, but it’s a heavy duty dessert to say the least. So I’m going to opt for something rich but light – Edinburgh Fog, in honour of my favourite city and a petticoat tail – or should it be renamed a cutty sark tonight?

Edinburgh Fog

I’ve substituted ginger nuts for the more traditional and refined ratafias. Ginger nuts seem more authentic in a funny sort of way, the pudding then reminds me of that most delicious of warming winter drinks – a Whisky Mac.

I carton of double cream (284ml)
8 ginger nuts finely crushed
15 g of golden caster sugar
3 tablespoons whisky or Drambuie (or half and half with ginger wine)
2 lumps chopped crystallised ginger, one finely chopped, one thinly sliced.

Whisk the cream until stiff, fold in the sugar, alcohol, finely crushed biscuits and the finely chopped ginger, I added a bit of the syrup too. Chill. Before serving decorate with the thinly sliced ginger.

It occurs to me you could make a good ice cream or parfait with this – then it would be freezing fog – sorry – couldn’t resist.


You will need an 8" fluted loose bottomed flan tin. Heat the oven to 150c.
6oz Butter
3 oz caster sugar plus a dessertspoonful
6oz plain flour
3oz semolina
pinch salt

I made this in my food processor. Cut the butter into small lumps and process until smooth. Add the sugar and blitz again. Then add the flour and semolina, blitz again. It probably won't form a ball - quite. I then turned it out and made a ball with my hands. I roughly rolled it out between 2 pieces of cling film then put into the flan tin and pressed to fit. Prick it really well, and mark out into 8 or 10 sections. Bake at the bottom of the oven for an hour, put some baking paper over it if it loks as though it is going to brown too much. Take out and immediately sprinkle with the rest of the caster sugar. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Anyway whether its haggis or Edinburgh Fog, here’s the man himself.

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o' the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm

Happy Birthday Robbie.


sprhoyle said...

Liz, I hope we get some pictures of this feast! I was to have been at a Burns Night supper this weekend at my sister's, but she and Hamish are both far too ill this year to celebrate. The reason is sad, but at least I don't have to play the Mingulay Boat Song, and Jeremy is spared proposing the Toast to the Immortal Memory. Wendy lives between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and has a husband from Inverness, so while I would have had no idea of the auntenticity of her fare, I'd not have argued!

pebbledash said...

Liz, beware, we'll all be popping round for a feast or two! Edinburgh Fog...Freezing Fog...I'd go for either!

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz said...

I recenlty found an old recipe for Edinburgh Fog in a book pulished by Lincolnshire WI in 1937 - only there it was called Scotch Mist.

We ate the rest of this desert the following night alongside some lightly baked new rhubarb - totally delicious.

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