Tuesday, July 22, 2008


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.

When I get back to Scotland after a spell away, haggis is always near the top of things I have a real urge to eat. I'm not sure why, but haggis suffers from a bad reputation. I guess it's part of the general prejudice against offal. Anyway, a good haggis is meaty, spicey and oaty. What more could one ask for?

I get mine from Crombie's in Edinburgh. Far better than the fake efforts in artificial casings sold in supermarkets and even by some supposedly reputable butchers. (I name no names!) To cook, I wrap it in foil and boil it gently for about an hour, then remove from the foil and finish it off in the oven for 5 minutes to give it a nice roasted look. Recite "To a haggis" over it as you lovingly slit it open with a sharp knife, and then watch it slowly open out.

Haggis filling is also great as a leftover: I've used it to pep up cauliflower and parsnip soup, and to make a bolognaise sauce.

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