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Making haggis is an offal experience - literally. And by the time you have sourced the sheep's stomach, liver, kidney, lungs and other goodies (some of which are not available in Canada) you will likely be too exhausted to make it.

But if you are determined to have haggis at your own Burns Night celebration, visit a good butcher to see if they sell it readymade.

For my Burns Night celebration this year, I'm breaking with tradition with a haggis meatloaf. Start with smoked salmon (the traditional Scottish appetizer of choice) and then continue with this menu.

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NEEPS AND TATTIES SOUP

Neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) is traditionally served mashed together as a side dish, but to continue with the modern theme I've turned it into a soup. Scots like spicy food, and I have flavoured the soup with a little Indian curry paste to give it some spark. Reserve some of the leek greens for garnish.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only

2 cups diced rutabaga

1 tablespoon mild Indian curry paste

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4 to 5 cups chicken stock

1½ cups peeled and diced baking potatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Garnish:

¼ cup yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped leek greens

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Method

Heat butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until just softening, about 3 minutes. Add rutabaga and curry paste and sauté, stirring, for 2 more minutes or until fragrant. Add stock, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.

Purée soup in blender or with a hand blender and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat when needed and garnish with yogurt mixed with leek greens.

Serves 6.

HAGGIS MEATLOAF

This is a simple and flavourful meatloaf with the same spices used in haggis. The oatmeal gives it a haggis-like texture, too. In Scotland, haggis is often served with a dram of whisky poured over it. I've made a whisky sauce.

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1½ cups finely chopped onions

1 cup chicken stock or water

1 cup whole rolled oats

1½ pounds ground lamb or beef

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1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon chopped dried rosemary

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Pinch cayenne

Salt to taste

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1 egg

Method

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Set aside to cool.

Combine stock and oatmeal and set aside to allow oatmeal to absorb some of the liquid.

Combine ground meat, cooked onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, pepper and cayenne. Season well with salt. Add oatmeal mixture and egg and mix gently until it comes together. Fry a little piece to taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Place mixture on an oiled baking sheet and use your hands to shape it into a fat sausage-shaped mound, about 2 inches tall and 4½ inches across. Bake for 45 minutes or until juices run clear. Turn on the broiler and broil for 2 minutes or until slightly browned.

Serves 6.

WHISKY SAUCE

Ingredients

½ cup chopped shallots

1 cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium

2 tablespoons grainy mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons malt whisky

¼ cup whipping cream

Method

Place shallots, stock, mustard and soy sauce in a small pot over high heat. Bring to boil and boil 4 to 5 minutes or until stock is reduced by half and slightly thickened. Add whisky and cream, bring to boil and boil for 1 minute. Season with salt to taste. Drizzle sauce on each serving.

SAUTÉED KALE

For this dish, I picked the kale from my garden; it's still surviving the snow. Kale is at its best in the early winter as it gains flavour after the frost.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large bunch kale, stems removed, coarsely slivered

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

¼ cup chicken stock or water

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add kale and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and stock and bring to boil. Cover pan and steam for 1 to 2 minutes or until kale is limp. Remove cover and cook until stock has disappeared. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6.

TIPSY LAIRD

A tipsy laird is a Scottish riff on the English trifle. It is rich, creamy and flavoured with Drambuie - a softer, more flavourful version of the more familiar trifle. Buy good almond cookies and sponge cake rather than making them.

Ingredients

6 cups diced sponge cake

½ cup raspberry jam, warmed

1 cup almond cookies, crumbled

1/3 cup Drambuie

2 cups crème anglaise (recipe below)

Garnish:

1 cup whipping cream

2 teaspoons Drambuie

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup candied citrus peel (optional)

Method

Use about 3 cups of sponge cake to fill the base of a pretty glass bowl. Top with raspberry jam and half the crumbled cookies. Add remaining cake and remaining cookies.

Pour Drambuie over cake mixture. Spoon over the crème anglaise. Chill.

Combine whipping cream and Drambuie in a large bowl and whisk together until cream holds soft peaks. Spoon it over the top. Decorate with slivered almonds and candied orange peel. (Alternatively, spoon over three-quarters of the whipped cream and whisk the remaining cream until stiff, then pipe rosettes over trifle.)

Serves 8.

CRÈME ANGLAISE

Ingredients

2 cups milk

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla

Method

Combine milk and sugar in a small heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and cook until bubbles appear around the edges but mixture is not yet boiling, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch in a large bowl. Pour in milk mixture, whisking constantly, to combine. Return mixture to pot and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 8 minutes, or until custard is as thick as heavy cream. Add vanilla. Immediately pour into a bowl and let cool.

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