Burns night, 25 January, is a celebration of the birth of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, songwriter and collector of traditional songs (1759-1796).
Celebrations usually include a meal of Haggis (a traditional Scottish dish), mashed potatoes (the tatties) and mashed swedes (neeps).
For a number of years we have invited friends and laid on a meal to mark the occasion. Thanks to our allotment, this year there was a colourful twist and an unusual addition.
We still have quite a bit of our potato crop. So, I collected from storage some Home Guard, Highland Red and Salad Blue. I also decided to throw in a few Oca. Why not?
If you haven’t grown coloured flesh potatoes, give them a try. They may look dramatically different, with individual flavours and textures, but they still make a good mash!
So far we have boiled them for potato salad and mash, fried as cubes in other dishes, and roasted them. About the only way we haven’t tried them yet is as chips.
The red and blue potato tubers have dark coloured skin but when you peel them there’s a light layer just underneath the skin
and then the colourful flesh
I boiled them in some salted water, keeping the varieties in separate pots – I didn’t want to risk the colour mixing in the cooking water. Having said that, I did put the swede in with the Highland Red which gave it a slightly deeper orange colour.
I then cleaned the oca. A small amount of soil does remain in the eyes, so some of them do need a bit of attention.
The oca look so colourful in the pot but unfortunately they lose much of this during cooking. But they still retain their lovely flavour.
The potato mash was made with a little milk, a knob of butter and freshly ground pepper.
Boiled, the reds go a bit pink but the blues stay a strong purple (we have found that they become more blueish when fried).
The evening was a success and everyone enjoyed the colourful mash. We just hope that Rabby would have appreciated our efforts.
Here’s a before and after:
Above is last years Burns Supper – Haggis, neeps and tatties before our allotment grown veggies.
And this year’s post harvest version.
Thanks to Keith Boxall for the photo – although a bit blurry, something to do with our celebratory libations, possibly?