22 January 2006

Haggis works!

Whether there's any true oatmeal savage in my blood, I'm still not clear. Don't think there's a need to be absolute one way or the other. People move about. Do things they need to do, or want to do, even if some of them they shouldn't commit without due consideration. I know that in me there's British and Irish (and that seems to include French and Viking) and more French (Huguenots in La Manche (the Channel Islands) who fled persecution in mainland France).

I like oatmeal for breakfast. I've like haggis from the first time I had it (but I've always felt that the haggis at the NB Highland Games has had too much strong beef liver for a balanced taste). I've loved being in Scotland and have to return sometime. Single malt, especially the western and island malts are favourites. Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Talisker; Balvenie, Jura, Macallan . . . I love the peaty, smokey flavour same as I love the snotty var or spruce fire with a chunk of birch or maple thrown in.

Garlic Feast + happened last night. I offered to make haggis 'cause Rabbie Burns Day happens this week, the 25th. Amy said, "Sure, no one in this group would say no to a haggis."

I had the ingredients already: ground lamb, liver from farmed red deer, rolled oats, suet, cayenne pepper, all spice, salt, fresh garlic (not a trad ingredient but this was for a Garlic Feast), onions, a dram of scotch. So I chopped and boiled, browned, roasted, blended, added stock until wet not soupy. I don't cook this in a sheep stomach but in a waterfilled double boiler lined with parchement paper—easy and clean. Minutes after I stopped cooking it we're on the road for the Lodge. Haggis and a second dish of smashed neeps in a blanketed cardboard box on the lap of comrade-in-arms Haggis MacHaggis.

by Robert Burns

Fair fa’ your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race !
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thaim :
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill ;
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need ;
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like ony ditch ;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin’, rich !

Then, horn for horn they stretch an’ strive,
Deil tak the hindmost ! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums ;
Then auld guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit hums.

Is there that o’er his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner ?

Poor devil ! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash.
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed—
The trembling earth resounds his tread !
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle ;
An’ legs, an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies ;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a Haggis !
T: Sperm Whale, by Alan Syliboy/Red Crane
loc; calmCtr
temp: -10 C
sound: Robbie Robetson, Contact from the Underworld of Redboy


Jackie said...

Ah, yes. The great haggis. I had some in a hotel pub in the Highlands this spring. The Kingshouse Hotel was wonderfully located in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Highlands.


Our room was the last two windows on the top left. If you ever make it to the highlands for an over night stay, I highly reccomend staying here.

We had mashed carrots and tatties and neep with our haggis, and white wine. Yummy.

Liz said...

ahh yes the laddy my haggis mc haggis, loves the stuff. amzing for a boy with such picky tastes!