Robert Burns Night Menu
Scottish Recipes for Burns Night
For more than two hundred years, people have been getting together in January in memory of Robert Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire and Scotland's favourite son.
These get-togethers are in the form of a dinner, or supper, around the time of Burn's birthday on 25 January. I'm told they're highly popular in South Island, New Zealand.
This year I'm holding one.
My Menu for Robert Burns Night Dinner
It will be too hot at the end of January to be hanging over my stove, I've gone for a simple menu
I have a recipe for a fake haggis but I haven't tried to make it yet and, believe me, never serve up a recipe which you haven't thoroughly tested before.
Just 3 simple dishes for my Robert Burns Supper
- Smoked Salmon Vol au Vent
- Tipsy Laird
The Selkirk Grace
Before we start to eat, someone has to say the Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.
As the name tells you, this is chicken soup with leeks. The traditional recipe has prunes but I'm sticking to plain and simple.
- 1.5 kg Chicken
- 3 litres chicken stock
- 1 large whole unpeeled brown onion
- 600 g sliced leeks
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- coarse salt and ground black pepper
- Put the chicken in a large pot, cover it with the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
- Take a slotted spoon and skim the froth from the top.
- Add the whole, unpeeled onion and the bay leaves. Season generously with the salt and pepper.
- Lower the heat right down and simmer for one hour.
- Remove the chicken and set aside. Let it cool for a short time and then cut it up into large pieces. Carve off the legs, separating each of them into drumstick and thigh, and remove the breasts whole, carving them into two across the grain.
- Turn up the heat under the pot to medium and add the leeks to cook until tender, about 5 - 8 minutes
- Lower the heat right down again and return the chicken pieces to the pot to warm through for a few minutes.
- Discard the onion and bay leaves. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
- Lift the chicken and leeks out into warmed soup bowls. Ladle the broth over.
Smoked Salmon Vol au Vent
- Combine cream cheese, lemon juice and the chopped dill in a bowl. Season with pepper.
- Fill pastry cases with cream cheese mixture
- Top with salmon and garnish with dill sprigs.
Smoked Salmon Vol au Vent
- 250 g softened cream cheese
- 100 g smoked salmon sliced into strips
- 2 packets mini vol au vents
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
- Dill sprigs to serve
An enticing name for a Trifle! Yes, this is just a trifle with whisky instead of sherry.
There are a number of recipes for Tipsy Laird around, but I wanted something simple. I certainly don't want to be knocking myself making egg custard and whipping marscapone into the cream, so I ended up choosing my old recipe for trifle - using ready made custard from a packet. With, of course, the delightful addition of Drambuie.
- 1 sliced sponge cake
- 300 g raspberry jam
- half a wine glass of Drambuie
- packet of custard
- 300 g raspberries
- 250 ml whipped double cream
- Toasted almonds to garnish
- Place the sponge in the base of a large glass bowl and spread with the raspberry jam.
- Gently pour the Drambuie over the sponge
- Add the raspberries in a layer
- Pour the custard over, spreading evenly.
- Cover the custard with the whipped cream.
- Decorate with toasted almonds.
But where's the Haggis?
Were you expecting haggis? Sorry to disappoint.
However, if you're in my hometown, Melbourne, you can order yourself a genuine haggis from Robs British Butchery, in Dandenong. They deliver to your door too.
Scottish Gourmet USA supplies haggis and other delicacies
You can always ask Gordon Hamilton about haggis.
For the Guests
It's customary for guests to recite from Burns, or present something in the spirit of Burns, according to individual tastes and talents.
Get yourself a handy volume of Burn's works and choose a poem to read.There has to be something in there you can tackle with trouble.
It's not easy for Standard English speakers to get around the Lowland Scots dialect, but no one seems to have trouble with Auld Lang Syne or with A Bottle And Friend
Time to start practicing now!
Play some Burns Music
. Listen to the haunting My Love is like a Red, Red Rose, the jolly Charlie is my Darling and, of course, Auld Lang Syne
From the lovely, lilting voice of Eddi Reader, accompanied by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Practice your Lowlands Accent
Burns is also known as The Ploughman Bard, as he made his living from the land.
It was while he was ploughing one of his fields in November 1785.that he disturbed a mouse in her nest. This poem contains one of his most often quoted lines.
Handy Links for a Robert Burns Night
- Trivia for a Robert Burns Night
All sorts of interesting factoids, information for you to set up a short trivia quiz for your guests. And all the answers, of course.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Robert Burns
Frequently asked questions about Robert Burns, Burns Suppers, his poetry, his life and times.
- Robert Burns Country: The Works
The Robert Burns works archive, with full text indexed and searchable online. All of them! Find yourself one to recite
How about you?
Have you ever had a Burns Night?
Guid cheerio the nou!
© 2011 Susanna Duffy