Burns Night this year is Thursday 25 January. Whilst there isn't much connection between Robert Burns and Devon (although he did write a poem entitled "The Banks of the Devon", at this time of year, we'll take any excuse for a celebration we can get (and a tot, or two, of whisky to keep out the cold!). So, this week's Foodie Friday brings you a recipe for Neeps and Tatties (swede and potatoes), the traditional accompaniment to Haggis.
It's traditional to throw a Burns Night Supper on that day, to mark the birthday of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. The first Burns Night took place in 1801 and the custom has continued ever since.
Typically haggis is eaten - a traditional Scottish dish celebrated by Burns in "Address to a Haggis", Scotch whisky is drunk and Burns's poetry recited. A piper generally greets the guests and the host makes a short speech before Selkirk Grace is said (a traditional thanksgiving using the Scots language, often attributed to Burns but already well known before his time.
You can hire a Devon based piper here - for the fully authentic approach!
The meal often starts with soup - commonly cock a leekie or Scotch broth, before everyone stands as the haggis is piped in and someone recites the Address to the Haggis.
Haggis is traditionally served with Neeps and Tatties (swede and potatoes) which is the recipe we are sharing today. You can buy haggis from most supermarkets, or your local butcher and vegetarian versions are also available for those not inclined - although we can't comment what Mr Burns would make of that.
We hope you enjoy!
NEEPS AND TATTIES
8 large baking potatoes, washed, peel left on and cut into smallish chunks
1 swede, peeled and roughly chopped
50g butter, plus extra for serving
1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/gas 6. Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, drain and then roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, boil the swede in salted water for about 40 minutes, or until very soft.
3. Drain the swede, add the potatoes and then roughly mash both together, keeping the texture quite chunky. This can be done up to a day in advance - in which case allow to cool and cover.
4. Return the mixture to the oven for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until piping hot. Dot with butter and serve.