Monday, 25 January 2010

FABPOW! Haggis Shit Storm

I think it’s important to understand other people’s cultures, therefore I drink Guinness on St Patrick’s Day. Obviously it made complete sense that I celebrated Burns Night (albeit a couple of days early) this year with haggis. But this isn’t your usual haggis, neaps and tatties with whisky sauce, this is my English bastardisation.

Sausage, chips and beans is a classic; this is the mashed-up version of that with haggis, swede and potato chips and whisky baked beans (literally a can of beans with some whisky in them - classy). I served this with the most ridiculous Scottish beer I’ve ever had: BrewDog’s Storm, the 8% IPA aged to buggery in an Islay cask which will bring tears to your eyes as your choke it down. Not many like this beer; it’s earthy and peaty and it has sweet citrus pith flavour beneath a scissor-kick-you-in-the-head barrel intensity.

Haggis is disgusting. Everyone knows it but we eat it anyway. It’s not just because it’s made from sheep innards but it also tastes rank; peppery and mushy, stick-in-your-teeth thick, musty. Baked beans are wonderful; spiking them with whisky is stupid but I wanted something a little smoky to bridge the beer. It was perhaps the worst smelling plate of food I’ve ever eaten. The chips, obviously, were delicious, although there’s a reason the potato is commonly used over the swede... The beer ungracefully jumped over it all like a sumo-wrestler attempting ballet. But it all works perfectly because it’s Scottish.

This may be my Food and Beer Pairing of the Week! but it doesn’t mean it’s a delicious one: this combination is horrible. Don’t ever attempt this. Happy Burns Night!

19 comments:

  1. Now THAT'S what I call beer writing!

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  2. Ditto to Zak. It beats any Pot Noodle/ Lager combo of mine or any fish paste on toast that Zak munches.

    This is the beer and food pairing of 2010!

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  3. I like haggis myself, but then I like black pudding too.

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  4. Black pudding is acceptable offal, Ed. As is kidney in a steak & kidney pie. Haggis, liver and tripe are not fit for human consumption.

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  5. Cooking, pot noodle and lager is too easy... you need to sex it up a bit, like this dinner! I don't think it can be topped in terms of pure 'yuck' factor.

    Ed, I don't mind black pudding, but I prefer a good old banger (said the vicar to the nun...).

    I've got a lot of time for offal, just not the disgusting bits like stomach - a lot of nasty stuff goes on in the stomach and I don't want to eat that!

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  6. mark you are one crazy crazy man!

    What about chicken pot noodle made with hot Guinness that's how you sexy up a pot noodle!

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  7. Andy, you have just given me the BEST idea!! I need a Pot Noodle and I need one now.

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  8. Don't get me wrong, I love haggis, and obviously spicing-up baked beans with whisky was startlingly bollock-brained. But it's nice to see someone reporting on disasters rather than just chucking them in the bin.

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  9. Ah, Mark! On March 17th make sure you get a decent micro-brewed Irish beer. *shakes head* ;)

    Haggis eh? Tried it for the first time about 10 years ago in Edinburgh and was shocked that I loved it. Didn't have it for ages till Burns' Night last year when my colleague and his neighbour (an organic farmer and butcher) made on. It wasn't quite the same, being wetter and more... livery than the nice spicy thing I had 10 years earlier.

    Unfortunately Ingo is in South America on holiday, so no Haggis this year, or fine whisky from his hoard!

    But, boy, do I miss Irish black pudding... The baked beans here don't even taste the same. Maybe a shot of something would help!

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  10. English beer writer says: haggis is disgusting.

    Scottish commenter (i.e. me) says: what? are you kidding me?

    James from Brewdog will probably be shaking his head at you right now too. Not about the beer, either. About the haggis.

    Haggis is fantastic. Unless you bought one of those "och aye the noo" pretend-Scottish ones from Marks and Spencer or somesuch.

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  11. Zak, the (perhaps) worrying thing is that I was expecting it to all taste amazing! Plus a bad pairing made for a better write-up than a good one so I wasn't going to waste that!

    Barry, your haggis looks better than my sorry little one did! I think I was just a bit tired and drunk (therefore emotional) and wanted a big fat pizza or something like that, not something strange with really nasty beans on the side!!

    IPAnic, all I know is that the haggis had an och aye tartan McLabel, which was good enough for me! It probably was just a crap one - I have had it before and really enjoyed then, so it's not all that bad ;)

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  12. One of my regrets about NWAF is missing out on JDW's haggis. Pretty good stuff. I love (good) haggis. but I'm not keen on the revered Macsweens and as for Hall's forget it.

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  13. Unlike Tandleman the MacSweens was what's converted me, I was previously a total haggis hater (still can't stand the smell of it cooking but the end result is fine).

    I have to say that having used the Storm at the 2008 Guild Dinner I know exactly how tough it is, I thought it was an awesome match, other people described it as like 'licking the floor of a battery factory'.

    I cooked up the traditional haggis, tatties & neeps for our Harviestoun tasting - with a cream, heather honey, mustard and Ola Dubh 12 sauce - and I can catergorically confirm that any of the Ola Dubhs from 12-40 went absolutely superbly.

    I had to chase the first session of people out of the tasting suite so we could turn the room around in 20 minutes for the next lot!

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  14. This is what passes for beer writing? Pass the sick bag please.

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  15. MacSweens just lacks that white pepper bite which should, in my view, typify haggis.

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  16. Tandleman, I didn't realise the JDW was a good one or I would've saved myelf the bother and had that instead - it cost the same as making it! I'm not sure if it's the Macsweens I had; I got it from Waitrose after almost, mistakenly, buying a vegetarian one (seriously, vegetarian haggis?!).

    Melissa, I wish I could've tried the haggis with the la Dubhs!

    Anon, yes this passes as beer writing, strange. Some would call the tone facetious or tongue-in-cheek. And yes, this did need a sick bag.

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  17. Waitrose is posh so the haggis should be OK, and the veggie ones are surprisingly good.

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  18. I get Crankies’ endorsed haggis for New Year’s Day brunch every year, feel my arteries swell like a Bondi Beach meathead’s muscles and enjoy every greasy moment of it, but then that’s it for another year — I always reckon a cup of builders’ tea goes best. As for black pudding, I really rate the Hebriddean style, lots of oatmeal and none of those bone white Bury-derived bits of fat that remind me of murders from Patricia Cornwell’s novels.

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  19. Now don't you go knocking Bury Black Pudding ATH. Anyway - you can get that in both styles.

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