Monday, 23 January 2012

English Haggis - one reason I buy food locally

This week its Burns night when its tradition to eat Haggis...yes that's a Haggis in my kitchen above and see below from Wikipedia about Burns night...
A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, author of many Scots poems. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet's birthday, 25 January, sometimes also known as Robert Burns Day or Burns Night (Burns Nicht), although they may in principle be held at any time of the year.
Burns suppers are most common in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but occur wherever there are Burns Clubs, Scottish Societies, expatriate Scots, or aficionados of Burns' poetry. There is a particularly strong tradition of them in southern New Zealand's main city Dunedin, of which Burns' nephew Thomas Burns was a founding father.
Burns suppers may be formal or informal. Both typically include haggis (a traditional Scottish dish celebrated by Burns in Address to a Haggis), Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns' poetry. Formal dinners are hosted by organisations such as Burns clubs, or St Andrews Societies and occasionally end with dancing when ladies are present. Formal suppers follow a standard format.
If you are celebrating Burns night this week enjoy!

My local butcher, Browns in Chorley does a mean tasting haggis, yes haggis in Lancashire, how did that happen? Not entirely sure, but I know its good stuff, made from carefully selected ingredients and made to a traditional recipe.
I do wonder if Scottish people think this is not really haggis as its made in Lancashire and not Scotland?
Browns make other things too, like black and white pudding roulade and Haggis and black pudding together ( if you like both you are in 7th heaven here trust me!). These make a lovely starter, or addition to any breakfast.
They make their own individual black and white puddings here and have won awards for them and their range of sausages, (they do a sausage with smoked bacon and black pudding in, its to die for) in fact the owner is a 'proper' competition standard judge of such wonderful things as a handmade sausage link himself (but not a judge of his own products that have won many an award, I might add).

Last year I made sure that I stopped using supermarkets for fresh food and was determined to buy local food from local suppliers as much as I could and to get to know those suppliers better. That's not something I'm going to change this year, in 2012. 

Changing the way I shopped last year is one of the reasons why we have eaten fresher, better quality food and more cheaply than when we were more supermarket reliant. I think it shocks a lot of people that I have actually spent less money on food by doing this, but I have its true. We have eaten well and we have eaten through the seasons, I have a few select local meat providers I buy meat from (this is one of them), I buy fruit and veg fresh from the local market all the time and cook accordingly. All these producers can advise me whats in season, whats good value and how best to cook it, more often than not.

My other niggle is that our local high streets are becoming deserted areas full of empty shops turned into charity shops or cash converting/pawn broking vendors (I'm not related to Mary Portas!). If a business like Browns butchers, that has been around since 1932, failed and the shop became desolate, I'd be very unhappy because I want to see and go into a real family high street butchers and buy fresh meat from local reliable sources, and I want my family to be able to do the same for years to come.  If you feel the same, however are not as fortunate as I am to be able to buy such lovely things locally you can buy some items from Browns online here. 
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about local butchers like this. 
Do you use them, do you like them, do they seem more expensive? 
OR, do you find supermarkets work best for you?
Do you think we will still have butchers like this in the high street in the future or will they be a distant memory?


  1. I do love my local butcher and will use them if I am on the high street. I'm lucky that a lot of my friends are farmers so I get amazing meat but this is rare. I must say that our local Morrisons is bloody brilliant for meat and fish too!... I also love a haggis and we have a local delicacy called chine which is similar... great post x

  2. I'm Welsh, but have been living in Scotland for over 10 years and have come to enjoy celebrating Burns Night with a Veggie Haggis. I am not a meat eater, but come from a family who enjoy they meat, so I do understand and appreciate the value Butchers on the High Street, like Fishmongers and Greengrocers, they are essential.

  3. Oh by the way, I read somewhere that apparently the haggis is English. This did not go down with Scottish colleagues.

  4. You are very lucky to have such a good high st
    butcher,we have none at all here, but I can remember when we had 5 all within a mile of each other, so like Dom I rely on morrissons.

  5. I just love haggis. Sadly it is unavailable here in France, so I am forced to buy in small tins (Grant's). It's surprisingly good!!

  6. Chris, Ramsbottom, LancashireSaturday, 8 December 2012 at 09:45:00 GMT

    Food historians now believe that haggis did originate in England and was later hijacked as a Scottish identifier. More relevant is this snippet:

    "Haggis is popularly assumed to be of Scottish origin, but there is a lack of historical evidence that could conclusively attribute its origins to any one place. The first known written recipe for a dish of the name (as 'hagese'), made with offal and herbs, is in the verse cookbook Liber Cure Cocorum dating from around 1430 in Lancashire, North West England.[2]

    For hagese'.
    Þe hert of schepe, þe nere þou take,
    Þo bowel noght þou shalle forsake,
    On þe turbilen made, and boyled wele,
    Hacke alle togeder with gode persole,"

    So Browns of Chorley are just reclaiming a Lancastrian dish! ;)


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Susan x