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Burns Night Celebrating Robert Burns' Birthday

Updated on February 2, 2020
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Robert Burns Night is one of my very favourite evenings of the year and as usual we’re going to celebrate it in style! Just the evocative music sends shivers down my spine, never mind the Address to the Haggis, the malt whiskey, smoked salmon and of course the magnificent traditional Scottish haggis! It doesn't do to think too deeply about what it's made of - but it's main ingredient is lamb.

My son is at a fantastic school with a very active parents’ group, and each year we hold a traditional Burns Night Supper.

We make every effort to ensure that we do this properly, sticking to tradition so that we give the great Scottish poet the respect he deserves.

Our school is in southern England, but we have a quite few Scottish parents and very many English people who love Scotland dearly, therefore the event is very popular and always jammed packed.

I can't take you through all the essential traditions of Burns Night, but wiki can so here's a link and below are some great videos that explain it all. They give a really good feel of what Burn’s Night Supper is all about and about the great Robert Burns himself.

I have included a fascinating video that is a reconstruction of his face and head, so now we can see exactly what he looked like. It's amazing to watch people walking into the room where they have exhibited a full size model of him.

And a the end there is a recipe for the wonderful sherry trifle Tipsy Laid.

He really does look like a farmer

What we do on the evening of the 25th January:

We cover our huge round tables with tartan, and lovingly decorate each one with little pots of thistle and heather. We light the room with as many candles and fairy lights as we can and we set up the band.

The kitchen is a hive of activity. It’s so easy to prepare. Boil everything! Haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). For desert we serve cheese and oatcakes and an authentic Scottish Tipsy Laird Trifle. I have put a recipe for this below.

My husband is Scottish, and so he has been given the very important job of delivering the Address to the Haggis. He does so with great zest and pride. I am always delighted to think that he is helping to keep this great Scottish tradition alive.

We are also very lucky because we have a Celtic band and caller, and they keep us all dancing and reeling until the early hours.

We hire a piper – who wears the full regalia and stands in the playground piping as our guests arrive. We are very lucky because we have large school grounds and even some woodland, so if you squint your eyes you can actually imagine yourself to be in Bonnie Scotland!

Last year my Scottish friend brought a bottle of whiskey to the supper that was very special indeed. It was from a barrel that was made 10 years ago at a distillery in Spey Side. Only one barrel was made so this whiskey cannot be bought. It’s difficult to describe the flavor but believe me it was absolutely delicious. I told you we take things seriously at our Burns Night!

These days there is no reason why you can’t hold your own Burns Night Supper wherever you are in the world and for a great night all you really need is Robert Burns poems, a haggis, (the haggis I have selected on the top of this page gets excellent reviews and is authentic) and a wee dram.

I hope I have inspired you. I can't wait!

Addressing the Haggis is a very special moment in the night's proceedings. This has the English translation, which is useful!!

I absolutely love this song


'Tipsy Laird' ( Lord of the Manor)

This trifle is exactly the same as any trifle with a very important ingredient - whisky! So you do not need to add sherry! If you are making it for children or people who do not drink alcohol then simply leave out the whisky - it's delicious without it too.

Ideally you need Scottish raspberries - but obviously that's not essential!

This is very easy to make because you can use ready made custard powder.


  1. Line the bowl with the sponge cake which you have cut up into thick slices
  2. Put the raspberries over the cake evenly
  3. Add the whisky over the cake - make sure each piece is wet
  4. Cover everything with a layer of custard - nice and thick
  5. Top with the whipped cream - you can use a spoon or pipe it on - it doesn't have to be smooth
  6. Use some raspberries and almonds to decorate the trifle
  7. Refrigerate till you are ready to serve
Prep time: 30 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 6


  • 300 g fresh raspberries
  • 300 g sponge cake
  • 2 cups of custard
  • 5 tbsp whisky
  • 2 cups double/whipping cream - whipped till a bit stiff
  • Some toasted flaked almonds
  • You can either make one large bowl, or individual serving bowls
5 stars from 1 rating of Tipsy Laird

© 2014 Giovanna


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