The famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns, is likely responsible for the consumption of more Scotch whisky in January than any other source. It was certainly the case at our place on Saturday as we held a traditional Robert Burns dinner.

How much fun can six people possibly have in one evening?

In planning the menu, we also gave some thought to Scotch pairings, with glasses to accompany each course.

Maura and Bill arrived suitably garbed for the occasion.

We began with smoked salmon on a bed of marscapone, yoghurt and dill served with a suitably peaty Talisker 12 year Scotch to pair with the smokiness of the salmon.

I have only six of these tiny Fostoria Buttercup Scotch glasses, perfect for appetizer sized portions.

Cheers! Let the festivities begin!

The first course was Cock a Leekie Soup, a traditional Scottish soup made with chicken, leeks and thickened variously with barley, rice or in some cases, not at all. 

I have a variety of different bird-themed individual soup tureens, which were a big hit. They are a combination of Fitz & Floyd Game Bird male and female trinket boxes and  pheasant tureens, and the ducks are part of the Spode Harvest Figural collection. I got them from eBay and Replacements.

Everyone chose the tureen they liked best.

A couple of them come with their own ladles, which I removed for this occasion…

For the main course, we served pan-seared steaks with baked potatoes, buttered turnip and sautéed spinach.

Tigger kept a sharp eye on the proceedings to ensure he received his allocation of steak, finely chopped. He’s been very much under the weather of late, having been engaged in an altercation with another combatant. We are pleased to report that the patient is much recovered and his appetite is as normal!

These brown oak-leaf majolica plates served as the underplates for the various tureens.

I used the Thomas Long Wedgwood green transferware plates with scenes of New England for the dinner plates. 

I managed to track down the final plate in the last few weeks. 


A lady in New England had received a set of eight plates for her wedding many years ago, and was divesting. I bought all eight plates, so now have two of the Rhode Island Homestead to add to the collection. No, I did NOT need another eight plates, but I couldn’t bear the thought of separating them after being together so many years… So now we have lots to display, as well as use.

We served a Deveron 12 year and a Glenfiddich 18 year for the soup and main courses. Fortunately, we have enough different small Depression and modern glasses to furnish five courses. 

Dessert was a choice between Scottish Tart and a Raspberry Cranachan parfait.

I was going to use these leaf-shaped Bordhallo Pinheiro plates (an e-Bay find) for the tart, but went with the vintage brown Majolica oak leaf plates, instead (also from eBay).

I picked them up a few weeks ago and really like both of them. Oh well, another table sometime, then!

Raspberry Cranachan is usually a mix of whipping cream and oats (laced with whisky) served with bottled or frozen raspberries, often made into a trifle. I made individual Raspberry Cranachan Parfaits, instead. 

I have only three of these parfait glasses, so supplemented with heavy bottomed old-fashioned glasses for the guys.

The other choice was Scottish Tart, made with dried cranberries, currants, pistachios, almonds and walnuts in a whisky-laced buttertartish filling, though it’s lighter and firmer than that. 

It’s kind of like the best butter tart/fruitcake combination you can imagine. It would be great with cheddar cheese as a snack, too, I think….

I used Monkey Shoulder, a great blended Scotch, for most of the recipes. We use it in the Penicillin whisky cocktail, too, which is one of Glenn’s favourites.

The desserts were paired with Bruichladdich and Cragganmore 12 year, both sweeter, non-peated Scotches. We use the Bruichladdich in the Churchill cocktail, so had that one to hand.

We also served red wine with dinner, and I used the amber-stemmed Tiffin Franciscan Julia wine glasses with amber water glasses (procured years ago from Wiliams Sonoma, now discontinued). The small glass is one of a collection of Cambridge Rosepoint Depression glasses I have, bought all over the place, but readily available at Replacements.

The Spode Harvest Figural pheasant salt & peppers joined the table.

And some feathered friends from Pier 1 earlier this year. I believe they’re quail?

It was a really wonderful evening with friends, and likely to become an annual tradition. What better way to pay tribute to Scotland’s bard, enjoy a nip of Scotch and feast on tasty food?

A Happy Robert Burns Day to everyone on January 25! 

I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.