What a jolly night we’d had, indeed, that we always have at this time of year: put on a man skirt, wear a silly wig, recite some unremarkable poems from the colonies and chow down on a quaint and simple meal – some funny little meaty thing, a bit of peasant veg, lashings of single malt. Woof. All on account of being 1/64th Scottish or something like that.
Anywobbles, what was most extraordinary is that a few hours ago, at the height of my tremendous hangover, I received a very strange call. Maybe I was still drunk – ha, I probably was, actual LOL – but I accidentally hit record on the voice memo function and this is, verbatim, how the conversation went:
“Alright there, pal.”
“Hello. Who’s this?”
“Aye, it’s cousin Alex.”
“Darling, hello! You’ll never guess what we did last ni…”
“Enough wi yer poncey posh banter, Eddy. I’ve had it te he wi ye sassanach bastards pretending ye like haggis for one day a ye then forgitin aboot it for the next 364. Ye and ye foppish Fogle-like pals shud be eatin haggis and drinkin Irn-Bru all ye round, if ye know wae’s gud fo ye. Eh, pal? Ye’ll be sorry when we devolve from ye bastards, then ye’ll be payin ten times as much fe the littl fellas.
And before I could say “good luck with the gap between public spending and revenue raised, pal”, he hung up.
To be fair, Alex had a point: haggis is for life, not just for Burns Night.
Here’s a recipe for haggis puffs. Which are ace.
Makes 8 puffs using a 11cm diameter circle500g block of all butter puff pastry 250g haggis 100g swede, peeled and chopped into ½ cm dice 80g onion, diced 5 sprigs of thyme 1 wee dram of whisky 1 egg Dash milk Black pepper Flour for dusting
You won’t need a whole haggis for this (small are usually c. 450g). Either use leftover meat or double the recipe and number of puffs you’re making. Or save the remaining meat and eat later with the usual trimmings.
If your haggis meat is uncooked, remove it from its skin, cut into chunks and nuke in the microwave for 4 minutes.
Drop the swede into salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Sweat the onion in butter. Combine the haggis with the vegetables in a mixing bowl. Strip the thyme leaves from their stalks and sprinkle with a good grind of black pepper. Stir in the whisky and allow the mix to cool to room temperature.
Clean and dry your counter top. Dust with flour. Roll the puff pastry out to 2mm thick. Use a small bowl – about 11cm diameter – to cut circles from the pastry. Remove the outer pastry, fold, cling and put in the fridge.
Break the egg into a mug. Beat with a fork and add a dash of milk. Stir to ensure the yolk, white and milk are combined.
Place 2 tsp of haggis mix in the centre of each circle, leaving almost 2cm to the edge of the pastry. Now, one at a time, dab your finger in the egg wash and run it round the pastry circle. Carefully fold over into a crescent and press the edges together. Use a fork to crimp the edges – life is too short to properly crimp things this small. Repeat for each of the circles you have.
Place the puffs on a plate in the fridge whilst you re-roll the remaining pastry and repeat the process.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the puffs on a baking tray. Brush with egg wash and put in the oven for about 30 minutes – until golden brown. Repeat the egg wash two more times as they cook – after 10 and 20 minutes.
Best eaten warm. I enjoyed a mustard mayo on the side – 1 part Dijon, 1 part Hellmans.