Sunday, January 27, 2013

Burns Dinner in Ghana

The traditional Haggis
It sounds strange doesn't it? Yes it is strange, but we made it happen. The Caledonian Society of Ghana organized a proper Burns Dinner with everything that goes with it. We even got the best Haggis available, got it through unknown channels into Ghana.....OK, it was all official, but we had to get it in via a private source as it would have been far too complicated and expensive to get it from one of my suppliers
The on top of it we have the BBC here filming the whole event and it will be broadcast at the next Commonwealth Games which are to happen in Scotland. They want to show how Burns Dinner is celebrated in other countries and I think Ghana is really an exotic country compared to Scotland.

Haggis is something really special, it is sheep's stomach that is filled with oats, lard and sheep's offal, including the lung, so it is an acquired taste. Many countries in the world are not selling the original Haggis as there are parts of the animals in it that they deem not good for human consumption, like the lung. Yes, you hear right, a good haggis contains lung. It might sound awful to you, but if lung is prepared nicely, it is actually very good. I had many years ago a "Rahm Beuschl" in Vienna, which is Lung in a creamy sauce and it was really delicious
In the US you won't find the traditional Haggis as it is not allowed to sell lung....yes not fit for consumption by humans, so don't even try to find it, and don't try to get it in like we did in Ghana, no, customs will not be as lenient as they are here

I remember last time I wrote about Burns Dinner I gave the recipe for the Cook a Leeky Soup, I Think this time I give you a really easy recipe of the oats cookie we served with the cheese course, something really simple and it goes so well with the cheese.
The Haggis after the traditional cutting
Oats was something that was always plentiful in Scotland. Wheat doesn't grow that well this far north, but oats being sturdier still grows nicely in the south of Scotland and is used in many dishes, even the Haggis
The dinner always starts with the traditional presentation of the Haggis. I was asked to be the one bringing it in the dining room, of course walking before me a bag piper. Then there is a bit of talking going on before the haggis gets officially cut. (We pricked the haggis a bit to prevent it to spit the hot fat while being cut). The the wet part starts, I had to drink a glass of whisky, yes just had to down it and then kiss the bottom of the glass. After that I happily brought the Haggis back to the kitchen and we started serving the food
Scottish Trifle
Of course we had a taster of the Haggis and everybody really enjoyed it, contrary to the expectations, it was lovely moist, a little spicy and full flavored, most probably one of the best Haggis I had.

We served the soup and then the main, after I was called in the ball room to have a glass of 18 year old Glenfiddich.....pity to just drink it ex, but that is the way to do it. The table who called me was as well here at our last dinner that was organized by the Caledonian Society, so it was great to see them again.

Then we sent out dessert and cheese, all went smooth and the party went on till nearly 4 AM, yes the know how to party
Oatmeal Cookies

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