The essential Burns Night menu

There possibly isn’t anything more Scottish than Burns Night (except maybe John Ross Jr, of course). So, with only a few days to go until this time-honoured celebration is commemorated on the 25th January, we thought we’d show our respect for Scotland’s much-loved figure by providing you with recipes for a three-course celebratory meal.

However before sharing our three favourite Burns Night dishes we’d like to answer the question that we are regularly asked this time of the year, which is ‘What exactly is Burns Night?’

Robert Burns was a poet and lyricist that lived from 25th January 1759 – 21 July 1796. With the title of ‘Scotland’s favourite son’ and often referred to as ‘The Bard’, Robert Burns penned some of Scotland’s most notable poems and is widely regarded as the pioneer of the Romantic Movement. Even in 2009 – 250 years since his passing – the Scottish public chose him as the Greatest Scot.

And as we know, great figures often generate great celebrations and Burns Night is no exception. Whilst each and every Burns Night celebration is different, there are some similarities including the eating of Haggis and the drinking of whisky.

However we’ve gone beyond that and provided you with our own personal favourite feast. So, if you’re hosting a Burns Night party and are in need of menu inspiration, then look no further.

The starter:  Potato wafers with smoked salmon and horseradish cream

Thanks to the BBC for this one, which we couldn’t resist sharing but not before putting our own stamp on it. Perfect as a starter – or as an appetiser for those who are planning a more raucous night – this is simply delicious.


  • 200g John Ross Jr’s Traditional Smoked Salmon
  • 6 x potatoes
  • A VERY generous ‘glug’ of vegetable oil (enough to submerse the sliced potatoes)
  • 30 grams of horseradish
  • 50ml of good quality mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons of crème fraiche
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Watercress
  • Paprika


Slice the potatoes (using a crinkle cut blade, if possible) lengthways and widthways alternatively to get a lattice pattern. Heat the oil and when hot enough, fry the potatoes until golden brown.

In the meantime mix the horseradish, mayonnaise, crème fraiche and lemon in a bowl.

Cut the salmon into enough pieces to match the number of potato slices.

When the potato slices are cool enough, place a slice of smoked salmon on top of each one. Then place a sprig of watercress on top before adding a small spoonful of the horseradish cream on top. When you’ve prepared as many as you need simply dust with a little bit of paprika.

The main course: Haggis with whisky glazed swede pearls

This one is courtesy of, although we’ve gone down the original haggis route as opposed to the vegetarian option they suggested.


  • 6 x haggis
  • 1 x swede (quartered)
  • 25ml whisky (of your preference)
  • 25g butter
  • 2 x large potatoes (peeled and cut into matchsticks)
  • 200ml double cream
  • 25ml malt whisky
  • 1 x handful of finely chopped chives
  • 25g brown sugar


Boil the swede. Once cooked, and using a melon baller, press into ball shapes.

Add the sugar, whisky and butter in a shallow pan and reduce until a syrup has formed before adding the swede balls to cook for a few minutes until they’re sticky and have developed a golden brown coating.

Boil the wrapped haggis for 15 minutes.

Gently fry the potato matchsticks until golden. Bring the cream, chives and malt whisky to the boil, reducing slightly.

Serve by placing a layer of potatoes on the plate, placing the haggis in the centre (or on top of the potato layer). Add the swede balls around the plate before drizzling the chive and cream sauce on top.

The pudding: Clootie Samosa (who said anything about a January diet?)

This is certainly not a light dessert, but it sure is tasty. The preparation involved is also quite detailed, so we’re going to send you direct to the author of this one. Click here for the recipe.

Thanks again to for this gem and on behalf of everyone at John Ross Jr, we hope you all enjoy Burns Night 2015!

If you have any Burns Night recipes (or stories) to share, then please do via our Facebook page.