Burns Night - catering for a party

Cat Ridgeway By Cat Ridgeway, 18th Jan 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

A rough guide to catering for a Burns Night Party - haggis, neeps, tatties and more

Burns Night


Burns Night catering ideas (not for purists, sophisticates or gourmets - this is a rough guide!)

These quantities are more than enough for 20 adults… in our experience… so far. It’s good to have more than enough for unexpected guests, plus it’s all edible the next day. The proportions of haggis versus vegetarian haggis depends on your guest list, of course

Typically -
7 454g haggis
3 454g vegetarian haggis
5kg potatoes
5 swede
- does the trick for a mixed crowd – Scots and Sassenachs, some loving haggis and some never tasted it, etc, etc (the vegetarian option helps for anyone fussy about offal, as well as … vegetarians)

The day before: peel, cook and mash the potatoes, and peel, cook and mash the swede. Then the house doesn’t smell of boiling swede on the day, and you’ve got a couple of chores out of the way. How you warm it all up on the Night depends on your kitchen. We juggle reheating on the hobs, in the oven, in the microwave and in a slow cooker.

The haggis come with various cooking instructions, we do them wrapped in foil, in a (big) baking tin with a little water, for 90mins.

You need four big jugs of gravy (one vegetarian if necessary) Instant is ok, just make sure you have more than enough. When ready to serve – get your guest diverted by getting one haggis out for admiring, addressing, stabbing etc while you slit and serve up the rest them. Foreign guests can of course be bemused by what’s on offer, we had an unforgettable German guest announce “I shall have some of the yellow, and some of the white, but none of the brown …”

Pudding? Cranachan!
Make three big bowls, each needs

600ml double cream
2 tbsp toasted oatmeal
1 tbsp caster sugar
raspberries – plenty
whisky – a little

Toast the oatmeal in a frying pan, until it just starts to look a little more golden. Do not be tempted to taste it until it has cooled down! It’s as hot as the frying pan and retains the heat for a surprising length of time (that’s why you get those hot neck wraps, I guess).

Whip the cream to dessert consistency, fold in the oatmeal, the sugar and the raspberries. The mix in whisky to taste. Leave the whisky out of one bowl if you suspect any guests don’t like whisky (whit?)

Finish with
Cheeseboard - assorted Scottish cheeses and oatcakes.

Running order (purists – if you’re still reading - stop now!)
Start - with the Selkirk Grace
Before the main course - address the Haggis with verses 1, 3 and 8 of To a Haggis
Before pudding – toast The Immortal Memory
Before cheese – toast the Lassies
Finish – with the Reply
And whiskies all round



Burns Night, Haggis, Robert Burns, Scotland, Scottish National Dish

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author avatar Cat Ridgeway
Burns Night party planner

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