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.
Such a warm table! You Scottish meal was no doubt a success. No mention of the maker of your individual tureens? With all the beautiful things on the table I did not fail to notice your wonderful barley twist chairs. So perfect for the evening.
Ooops! You are so right. I’ve updated the post, Elizabeth. The duck individual tureens are Spode Harvest collection and the pheasants are Fitz & Floyd – Game Birds and Pheasant. I’ve added links to Replacements to the blog, but I did get most of them on eBay.
You have such an eye for detail, Elizabeth, as well as being a mind reader. I was angling to get some barley twist candlesticks to go on the table, but didn’t get myself organized in time. They would have been lovely with the chairs. Trust you to pick up on that!!
Have a great rest of the day. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
Such a wonderful evening!
In addition to drinking whisky served in exquisite antique glasses, Robert Burns poems were recited by the males to the females at the table.
Lots of merriment !
Again, thank you Helen, for spoiling us!
No one more deserving of spoiling than you guys. We had a marvellous time and look forward to doing it again some time. And yes, I forgot to mention the poetry. Thanks to Bill for bringing it along, and thanks also for omitting the Ode to the Haggis 🙂
I was one of the lucky recepients of this phenomenal occasion. Helen and Glenn are the hostesses with the mostes!
We loved having you and Bill, Maura. Thanks for going to all the effort of dressing in role 🙂 Hugs to both of you. Until next time!
What a lovely table! I don’t like scotch but I wish I was there for your fabulous menu and maybe you would have poured me a sherry.
I didn’t used to like Scotch, either, Patricia, until we visited Scotland and I got to try a bunch. I used to think it was smokey and unpleasant, but there are some very nice, caramelish ones. If you like sherry, you might well like those. And there’s always wine! 🙂
What a fantastic meal that must have been! Everything looks so perfect, and I also like the barley twist chairs! Thank you for sharing and educating me on Scotch plus the great recipes!
I came to Scotch later in life. My husband has been a fan for years, but I took some convincing!
Glad you liked the post. It was a really fun dinner. We aren’t doing one this year, but would love to host another such dinner sometime.
Four of the barley twist chairs were from my grandfather – they’re really old. The other six are more modern (Edwardian) and came from an antique store in the Berkshires. They work well together. They hold up to a lot of wear and tear.
Thanks for visiting!
What a fun evening, one my hubby would have so enjoyed!
It really was a fun evening, Linda! Who knew Scotch would go with so many things?
What a wonderful evening celebrating Robert Burns! Thank you for sharing about your lovely celebration, the dining table, sources, menu and the dinner with Scotch whiskey pairings.
You’re most welcome, Bren! Thanks for visiting and sharing in the fun.
What a very fun evening this would have been in which to participate!
A good time was had by all, even the previously non-Scotch drinkers. Burns Day will make a convert out of the sternest teetotaler.
Where has this been all my life? Hahaha
Appreciate the education here.
Your friends are a hoot and you quality as hostess with the most!! Jolly good. Pheasant soup tureens shown have rocked my world. How fantastic!!
I love your dinner! It is beautiful and so tasty looking. I would like to do something similar to this for my husband’s birthday in October. I have my mother’s Spode India Tree and am looking for a tablecloth like yours. Would you mind mentioning the brand? Thank you!
I got the tablecloth from Amazon. This is the link It’s showing as currently unavailable, but they show a similar one here:
I just set a table the other day with some Spode India Tree dessert plates I have. You’re right that they’d be an excellent choice for a Scottish themed birthday party. The rusty tones are just beautiful. Good luck with your dinner. I’d love to know how it goes. 🙂
Beautiful table and event! Do you have a recipe for the Scottish tart? and what were the more carmelish scotches to go with it?
The link to the Scottish Tart recipe is in the blog and here
The Scotches that lean to caramel tend to be the Speysides. I quite like Glenmorangie and Cragganmore. The Classic Laddie by Bruichladdich is a surprisingly sweet scotch for an Islay and is marketed as such.
So glad you liked the post! It was a really fun night.
The new comment that popped up in my email this morning reminded me that I’d never commented on this night’s fun and the beautiful birds. Here’s the definitive cookbook for the upcoming Burns Night. It was published in 1966, shortly after which it came into my possession upon my return from the old country. It leans heavily on the cooking of the Auld Alliance, especially in the soup arena. If you need a recipe for Partan Bree or Feather Fowlie, let me know…both are delicious! You could also give Glenn (jokingly, natch!) a helping of Auld Man’s Milk, which we know as eggnog with lots of (of course) whisky.
Thank you so much for the book recommendation! It looks marvellous. Just the ticket to plan for the next Burns Night which is coming up soon. You’re such a fount of knowledge Beatrice! I appreciate it very much.
What a marvelous nod to Scottish heritage. Robert Burns looms large in our Scotch family and his birthdate is also the anniversary of my parents. Loved all of your creative ideas and the presentation was amazing. I believe you eat with your eyes, and you embraced the mood and the food perfectly. My family hails from Kirkintilloch, Scotland so we celebrate with a Kirkintilloch Khristmas and employ similar Scottish decor to embrace and embellish our heritage.
Thanks so much for this wonderful comment!
The Scottish tend to celebrate Hogmanay (New Year), but it sounds like you’ve got your own wonderful combination going. All the best for a fabulous Kirkintilloch Khristmas!