Tuesday, January 25

burns night supper -there's an iPhone app for that...

Today, January 25th is earmarked in Scotland as Burns Night, an evening to celebrate the writing and life of poet/bon vivant (and other not as complimentary words depending how you read history) Robert Burns. You may know him from such works as Auld Lang Syne or My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose? Many are impenetrable to non-Scots speakers (or even scotch-speakers an the evening wears on...) Burns Supper is the specific celebratory dinner with readings and a convoluted order of ceremony, but luckily there is now an app for that...

The Scottish Government has made the complete works of Robert Burns available, free of charge, on the iPhone. The app features a searchable database of 558 of Burns' poems and love songs, with a glossary of terms that floats over the poem to help you with the Scots' dialect. There is also a Burns supper guide to help you plan the dinner tonight... Download a copy here.

Burns Night always seems to fall during Suandance week and I can't help but think the Edinburgh International Film Festival is missing out on a HUGE opp' to get screeners and filmmakers onboard... I know EIFF used to send their director to Sundance, just assuming they still do. 2 cents over.

Haggis from McSween's in Edinburgh; gold standard.

The poetry of Burns is all well and good (though Burns only adapted, didn't write the traditional The Selkirk Grace that we love), but any excuse to eat haggis is the real draw for me here. Contrary to the usual BS, haggis is no more formidable that game sausage, or black pudding, i.e. all good stuff.

OK, run that sheep's stomach bit past me again? There cannot be a dish so famously (and completely unfairly IMHO) reviled as haggis... Actual ingredients are sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and lots of pepper -wrapped in a sheep's stomach as casing, that part is not eaten. Our family trick is to bake it, don’t boil it... Also, a good gravy is a must as it is very oaty/crumbly and needs something to stick with the mashed potatoes.

The other great thing is the day after, you ball-up the leftover haggis and potato and whatever else is left and fry it in a pan. Add a fried egg and it is (whisky) breakfast of champions.