I know that we haven't got through Christmas, and that this is a bizarre post to write at this point in time. But, here in the kitchen in the Pub on top of the hill we are already being 'Badgered' for the next social event of the year........Burn's Night.
What is strange about this is not the timeframe we are facing, (Chefs have already sewn up Christmas and New Year so we are going onto the next special meal), but the fact that in a small hamlet in Somerset, people are obsessed with the Scottish tradition of eating non fancy food to celebrate a poet who often wrote with a heavy brogue back in the 17oo's.
Celebrated on 25 January the format of Burns supper starts with a general welcome and announcements, followed with the Selkirk grace. After the grace, comes the Haggis which is paraded out with a piper playing followed by Burns' famous "Adress to the Haggis" which is read and the haggis cut open.
The event usually allows for people to start eating just after the haggis has been presented. This is when the reading called the "immortal memory", an overview of Burns' life and work, is given; the event usually concludes with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne"
The event is an enjoyable one with a lot of effort put in. The weird thing is though, it is far more popular than our Saint Georges day.
Anyway, this is not a history blog, so back to the food.
Whenever we create menus, recipes etc, the most important factors for me are:
1) it has to be amazing....obviously.
2) if it is a regional dish or menu, i.e. Curry, French etc, then it must be as authentic as possible.
3) It has to be high quality and good value for money.
So, I am then tasked with the job of finding dishes that will appeal to all potential Diners, expand on the origional supper to make it an evening worthy of a restaurant experience yet still true to it's roots, and most importantly ensure it is authentic!
I think I have created a good menu utilising some very traditional Scottish dishes, given them a boost with some technical culinary know how and still managed to maintain the feel for Mr. Rabbie Burn's special evening......
Down here......in Somerset.
(we are closer to Paris than Edinburgh, true fact!) Revolution night anyone????