If you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen the hashtag #LoveBugMaxie, where I shared photos of his wonderfully pampered life and also a bit of his struggles. His knee replacement last year was a big commitment of time, money (two surgeries) and love. He was worth every penny and I was so happy he got to run again before he passed away. This photo of him in his tiny kilt (with sporran!) just warms my heart.
In case you’re new to the blog, I’m half Scottish (Clan Maxwell), and half Okinawan. My father and stepmum live near Glasgow in a village called Bridge of Weir. I visit them in Scotland regularly and the first meal home always includes haggis.
Never had it? Well, it’s an acquired taste for sure. I hated haggis as a kid but eventually learned to like it, love it even! From the Visit Scotland website:
Haggis is a type of sausage or savoury pudding that combines meat with oatmeal, onions, salt and spices. Often served with mashed neeps and tatties (that’s Scots for turnip and potatoes), haggis is traditionally cooked in a sheep’s stomach – a historic way of preserving meat – but most haggis nowadays is sold and cooked in a synthetic sausage casing.
Made largely from oatmeal, haggis has a soft, moist, crumbly texture – similar to stuffing – while the earthiness of the oats and meat combine with salt and spices to give the dish a spicy, rustic flavour with a peppery kick – delicious!
Each January 25th, Scots celebrate Burns Night with haggis. If you’re not Scottish, you may not have heard of the poet Robert Burns, but you probably know Auld Lang Syne, a poem he wrote in 1788. Think about New Year’s Eve at midnight. Champagne popping, you’re hugging your significant other, lips coming together and suddenly someone starts singing (at least in my circle) “Should old acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind?”…. Yup, the lyrics (poem) is a Burns original. He was quite a character and a real ladies man. Read more about him here.
I celebrate Burns Night here in Los Angeles to keep connected to my dad, plus it can be quite the raucous party if you find the right pub! Music, whisky, dancing and pipes, LOTS of bagpipes! Deep-fried bangers, mashed potatoes and heaps of haggis soak up all the booze. Like I said, it’s quite the party! And of course there’s the traditional reading of Burns with an “address to a haggis“.
Want to celebrate Burns Night but not into the pub/bar scene? You can cook up an easy celebration at home. I made Wee Haggis Bites (“Baby Burns”) last year. I was inspired by this simple recipe by Macsween Scotland (my dad’s favorite brand). If you can’t find haggis at a local British shop, you can order it on Amazon. Still can’t find haggis but want to try this recipe? Grab a can of roast beef or corned beef hash instead. I know, I KNOW… it won’t replicate the intense offal flavor of haggis of course, but the celebration will be just as fun. Slàinte!
Photos: Wee Haggis Bites (Baby Burns)
Baby potatoes, turnips and carrots. Tossed in olive oil then roasted in 450º oven for about 20 minutes. You want the carrots and turnips soft enough to mash. Macsween recipe here.
Turnip and carrots mashed. Potato ready to cut & fill with haggis. See Macsween recipe here.
Wee Haggis Bite: Baby potatoes stuffed with haggis, topped with mashed turnips, carrots and garnished with scallions. I added Whisky Cream Sauce but these were actually really delicious without the sauce. I just wanted more whisky I guess! Again, the original Macsween recipe is here.
My Ziggy Stardust and Scotch whisky. Speaking of whisky.…
We always end Burns Night with a bit of Sticky Toffee Pudding. If you live in the San Fernando Valley, you can pick it up at Piccadilly British Shop in Burbank. Call ahead if it’s close to January 25th as they may run out before Burns Night.
I’m a huge OUTLANDER fan. Photos from my visit to locations in Scotland.
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