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Tom Kitchin Burns' Night recipes: Haggis, neeps and tatties | Whisky Babas

I 'm a true Scots lad, born and raised, and I genuinely enjoy celebrating the very best Scottish ingredients and dishes. While some recipes are steeped in tradition I'm really passionate about adding my own modern twist to certain classic dishes, and having a bit of fun with them without ruining the essence of their characteristic flavour.

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

Serves four

Tatties

500g large potatoes

400g sea salt

50g butter

60ml milk, boiling

salt

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Prick the potatoes, place the sea salt on a baking tray and put the potatoes on top. Bake for an hour and a half or until soft. Once cooked, cut in half and scoop out the potato (this method will keep the mash dry) then slowly add the butter, milk and season, then set aside.

Neeps

1 large turnip

salt

50g butter

pinch of nutmeg

Peel and dice the turnip, then cook in a pan of salted water until tender. Drain and mash with butter, salt and nutmeg and set aside.

Potato crisp

1 large potato

10ml clarified butter

salt

Peel the potato and slice into thin strips. Mix with clarified butter and salt. Place in a non-stick pan in the shape you wish, then gently heat until crispy.

Haggis

Poach the haggis in smoking water for an hour and a half. Open and serve with equal amounts of neeps and tatties, a crispy potato and a wee dram.

Whisky Babas

Makes 12

8g yeast

20ml of lukewarm water

250g flour

25g sugar

5g salt

4 eggs, beaten

75g melted butter

Syrup

500ml water

250g sugar

zest of 1 orange

zest of 1 lemon

whisky to your personal taste

12 x 2" dario moulds, greased

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Dissolve the yeast in the 20ml of lukewarm water. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt and mix. Slowly add the eggs and yeast followed by the melted butter until smooth and elastic.

Half fill 12 dario moulds with the mix then cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to prove in a warm area until they rise to the top. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown, remove and leave to cool on a tray.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, boil the water, sugar and orange and lemon zest, adding whisky to your taste. Place the babas in the whisky syrup and serve with whipped cream (and maybe a wee bit more whisky).

My classic French training has inspired me to add a French twist to a Scottish classic - haggis, neeps and tatties - and my own interpretation consists of haggis, pickled turnip and foie gras, served with a crispy potato galette, combining a traditional Scottish recipe with a unique Gallic variation. The result is a distinctive dish that continues to surprise yet delight our diners at the restaurant.

Burns suppers are common in Scotland and, depending on what day 25 January falls, we try to have a family meal or invite a few friends over for our own home-made Burns supper.

Burns Night also provides an excuse to celebrate other Scottish traditions. I've been to many events and TV appearances where I've really wanted to represent Scotland and show people that we are serious about food, and are genuinely competing on the world's dining stage, and I think there's no better way of showing I'm proud of my heritage than by wearing a kilt. I've worn one each time I've been a judge on BBC2's Masterchef The Professionals and get such a warm reception every time.

Good Scottish haggis consists of beef suet, beef fat, pinhead oatmeal, onions and lamb pluck (hearts and livers), while the seasoning uses allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. All these ingredients are minced together and traditionally put into a sheep's stomach and tied, then cooked slowly for an hour.

Once prepared, I roll it into cylinders, slice it and cook it slightly to crispen it up. Equally, there are some great Scottish haggis producers and you can pick up some wonderful examples from your local butcher. If you're buying it, it's a really easy meal to prepare and if you haven't tried it before, it's great fun to make it yourself if you're planning a Burns supper at home.

Traditionally, the 'tatties' are a pure of potatoes. I like to make mine a little differently and create a crispy potato galette by mixing thinly sliced potatoes with clarified butter. It is then added to a frying pan and slowly cooked until crispy - the texture complements the rough nuttiness of the haggis perfectly.

Although Burns Night is an occasion when many enjoy haggis, it's a dish that is also enjoyed throughout the year - and not just by Scots. A couple of years ago I was invited to represent Scotland's food and drink community at Tartan Week, the Scottish Government's annual showcase of all things Scottish in the US.

The reception we received from the Americans was outstanding. They were so intrigued and interested to learn about our traditions, recipes and ingredients and, as a genuine ambassador of Scottish produce, I thoroughly enjoyed educating them about the country's wonderful natural larder. Equally, we often host visitors from the US in our restaurant and they always ask us for the recipe for haggis and the story behind it.

Whisky is yet another example of the very best of Scotland's food and drink and, ahead of Tartan Week, I was asked to come up with a dessert that really represented the country. I wanted to do something different and started experimenting with the recipe for rum baba. This dish - also known as baba au rhum - is a traditional French dessert that is still seen on many menus across the country.

It's a small cake that is saturated in liquor - usually rum. But for my Scottish twist I added a Glenfarclas Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, aged 15 years, and it certainly went down well over there.

Since Tartan Week, I've even added it to my menu at the restaurant and find it's a lovely light dessert to enjoy after haggis.

• This article was first published in the Scotland on Sunday on January 16, 2011.

 
 
 

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