LISTEN to Savory Road Feature
RADIO COPY: This week the Savory Road leads back to Scotland. A few weeks ago, we visited the remote island of Islay and talked about their peaty whiskies. After that, I tried a few more drams on the main island. I ended up at the home of my dear friend, honorary cousin, and Edinburgh native David Bain. While with David, whisky discussion and consumption continued. But this week we won’t focus on drinking whisky, rather the way to handle a morning after drinking whisky.
David told us the Scottish breakfast is similar to the English breakfast of beans, fried eggs, back bacon, and sausage links. But the Scots add Haggis and Blood Pudding.
Black pudding is commonly eaten in the UK and Ireland. Over there the term “pudding” is used to describe dessert in general. But, black pudding isn’t a dessert – it’s savory and typically enjoyed with a fried egg for breakfast. The delicacy is prepared in long rolls, then sliced and fried. It’s more dark purple than black and has a soft texture that is sort of grainy. Are you ready to hear the ingredients? Let’s start with oatmeal, onions, and spices. Add pork fat or beef suet – suet being the fat that gathers around the animal’s kidney. By the way, suet is the secret ingredient used in British pastries. It’s high flash point also makes it great for searing beef. It’s ability to congeal is why it’s used in black pudding. Okay, one more ingredient, and the reason for it’s color – ready? pork blood – please don’t touch that dial – I swear – black pudding is delicious and I’d recommend that you try it. You can always try white pudding instead – same thing – but without the blood.
David mentioned Haggis – Scotlands most famous food. It’s also considered a savory pudding, but there’s no blood involved. Instead, haggis is made with sheep’s pluck – the heart, tounge, and lungs – mix that into some oatmeal, onions, spices, and suet, then stuff it into a sheep’s stomach and boil it for a couple hours. Can you imagine anything better to cure a hangover? Actually there is – David shared his secret of simmering Italian plum tomatoes with brown sugar and either Tobasco sauce or chili sauce. That will make you feel like a million dollars.
After we ate, David and I relaxed with a steaming mug of a delicious coffee concoction he came up with – boiled Edinburgh city water, instant coffee, coffee “whitener” (creamer), and molasses sugar (brown sugar). It really hit the spot. I suggested he open a food truck and drive it down to the pub on Sunday mornings so he could share this great breakfast with the boys. He explained that in most Scottish pubs, food isn’t so popular. He told a joke about walking into his local pub and seeing his mates surrounding a heating box for a Scottish Pie. They were singing happy birthday. Confused, he asked the barmaid what they were doing. She replied “It’s one year old today.”
If you feel inspired, you can buy black pudding and haggis at most British specialty shops, or on line. For more information, to see photos of our breakfast check out our website.