Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Friday, 25 January 2008

Today is Burns Night and I imagine a few of you will be celebrating. Although I am not a huge fan of haggis, Burns night is the one exception when I will force myself to eat some! After a few glasses of whiskey, it improves no end! Last year we celebrated Burns Night in great "style" - I piped the haggis procession in with my recorder and we all took turns to make the appropriate toasts to the lassies and responses. Andrew dramatically stabbed the haggis with a sword (aka kitchen knife), breaking the plate in the process whilst reciting the Ode to a Haggis (below for anyone who needs it this evening). Whilst I may not be a fan of haggis and find the below ode from Rabbie Burns slightly hard to understand, Burns Night is a perfect excuse for a party, and for that I am very grateful!

Ode to the Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain 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.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!


milhan said...

Can't say that I have ever had Haggis...can't say that I ever will either! I'm not convinced that there is enough whiskey in the world to make it palatable :)

But, your celebration sounds like loads of fun - have a great time!

Marie said...

I was given a haggis once. I could not bring myself to eat it, however our dog really enjoyed it. I know, I'm a pretty sad character and such a wimp!

Magic Cochin said...

I like haggis very much - a nice spicy oatmealy one. Sadly my forage in the local Sainsbury's didn't hunt down one for tonight! (And no time to get to Waitrose). I think that in a blind tasting a lot more people would like haggis, pretend it's spicy mince.

I was familiar with the "chieftan o' the puddin' race" line but didn't realise the whole poem is so long - Rabbie did go on a bit didn't he! The haggis is probably cold by the time the poem is done!

Happy Burns Night

PS England ought to start Shakespeare Night - he shares his birthday and with St George's Day, then we can have another excuse for a drink and a party!