St. Andrew’s Day is a celebration of the patron saint of Scotland (and many other nations including Greece, Romania, and Ukraine) and is Scotland’s national day. Preceding Hogmanay and Burns night, St. Andrew’s Day marks the start of Scotland’s exciting season of winter festivals and is the perfect excuse to have a good old-fashioned feast. It’s also a great time to visit Edinburgh, as the city hosts a week of celebrations including music, entertainment and traditional ceilidh dancing.
We’ve collected a few of our favourite Scottish recipes to make at home, or if you’re kicking about the city we’ve found some places that serve these traditional dishes, so you can dine the Scottish way this St Andrew’s Day.
Perhaps the most renowned and popular of all Scottish foods is haggis – a savoury pudding made using the heart, liver and lungs of mutton, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices and traditionally encased in the sheep’s stomach lining. To make haggis the traditional way, take a look at this medieval recipe. For some rather amusing commentary and almost too realistic images, see Tim Hayward’s step-by-step picture guide.
Due to his poem, Address to a Haggis of 1787, Robert Burns’ Night is traditionally celebrated with haggis, accompanied by neeps, tatties and a dram of whisky, so you’ll be forgiven for wanting to save your enjoyment of this hearty Scottish favourite for Burns supper. Whatever the occasion, if it’s classic haggis you’re after, look no further than Hadrian’s Brasserie at the Balmoral Hotel: a much-loved venue with a relaxing atmosphere. The exciting menu, created by the talented executive chef Jeff Bland, makes use of the finest seasonal produce Scotland has to offer.
A local speciality of the town of Cullen in the north east of Scotland, Cullen skink is a rich, thick fish soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. It’s the perfect winter warmer and has been described as one of the world’s finest seafood soups.
Felicity Cloake’s guide to cooking the perfect Cullen skink is full of helpful hints, particularly for the culinary perfectionists among us. Cloake describes the dish as ‘smokier and more assertive than American chowder’ and ‘heartier than classical French bisque’, and with St. Andrew said to be a fisherman by trade, enjoying Cullen skink might just be the ideal way to celebrate his day.
If you’re eating out, The Café Royal serves the finest Cullen skink with Arborath smokie. They specialise in seafood, so you’re guaranteed a fantastic meal. This venue lives up to its name with its regal decor and is the perfect place to celebrate, be it with Cullen skink and Scottish whisky, or oysters and Champagne.
A Taste of Scotland
If you’d like an introduction to Scottish cuisine without the hassle of cooking or committing to specific menu items, why not opt for a spot of tapas (the Scottish way, of course). Amber Restaurant offers a fantastic exploration of the country’s diverse cuisine, beginning with a trio of miniature starters, followed by a trio of tasting mains and concluded with a dram and dessert combination – the perfect St. Andrew’s Day feast.