Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A gift from me, in honor of Rabbie Burns

I love a good haggis. Mind you, I've only had it once in my life, but it has lasted in my sensory memory lo these many years. It was delicious.

Being a child whose mother and father grew up in tough times, we ate several sorts of meats that would be included in the "and other cuts" category. Some I really enjoyed - others, well let's just that it at I'm glad I don't live on a farm.

Which brings me back to haggis and all things Scottish. January 25th is the celebrations of the Scottish writer Robert Burns. He wrote bilingually, was immensely proud of his heritage, and was a Scottish nationalist.

Burns authored the Address tae a haggis, alternately translated as an Address or Ode to the Haggis. I found this version the best for me since it is very homespun and not too ceremonial. I love the disclaimer at the end.
I've no recipe for haggis, but here's the recipe I use for shortbread. It was given to me by a fine cook who was proudly Scottish. I usually make it for Christmas as a gift: having been married to Campbell descendant started me on this road. Or perhaps it was all of the movies I saw as a child when the bagpipes played "Scotland the Brave". Surely someone else out there remembers Victor Mc Laglen?

1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter - room temperature

Preheat oven to 325˚
Mix all together, knead 'til doughy.
Press firmly in floured mold.
Bake for 1 hour. When finished will be pale not brown.

You may need to add more or less flour as you knead. You'll have the right consistency when the dough cleans the bowl. I take a peek at the shortbread at about 45 minutes to see how much longer it needs. I cool on a rack for about 10 minutes and then invert on a serving plate.
By way, the background to my shortbread form is Clan Christmas.


  1. Yes, I think I'll skip the main course and go straight to dessert. But I'm a fan of many things Scottish -- plaid, Sean Connery, accent.

  2. In order - accent, Connery, plaid. I am, however, a huge fan of Craig Ferguson and Scottish Country Dancing.

  3. I love them, too. In the 1980s when I was at UCR there was a fellow who played in the open parking lots. We called him the Phantom Piper.