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A Burns Supper Cretan Style

January 27, 2012


When we realised a week or so ago that Burns Night was coming up fast we decided to repay Hans and Hanneke’s (H2) many kindnesses by inviting them to our version of a Burn’s Supper!

A somewhat two-edged sword, do I hear some of you muttering? Well, perhaps but we accepted early on that we were unlikely to find a genuine haggis or indeed neeps, anywhere in this part of Crete so the best we could do was to buy a tin of haggis from the English Supermarket in Makrigialos just along the coast and just to prove it , here’s a photo of the tin!

This was to be a starter, with the main course being a Steak Pie – easy because I had done it before on New Year’s Day (see earlier blog) and knew I could get all the ingredients. To follow, Sheila decided to make a trifle. Getting these, proved a little more difficult but again the English Supermarket came up trumps with the sponge, custard powder, a can of fruit and jelly. Sherry proved impossible to track down, so local sweet wine was used as a substitute and then what to do about the cream? Our experience in this area has not been good and the Greeks do not appear to differentiate too well between single and whipping cream and the universal but disgusting UHT! Well, Megamarket in Ierapetra happened to have what we thought we needed ie a carton with a picture of a whisk on the side and indeed, this turned out to be the case.

As the day approached, Sheila searched the internet for video clips of a suitable ‘Address tae the haggis’ so that H2 could be initiated into the mysteries of a ‘real’ Scottish Burns Night. This what we came up with:


In addition, she felt it necessary to show them what a Scottish ceilidh band is all about, so we came up with a clip of our friends in ‘Clachan Yell’ (the premier ceilidh band in the north-east, if not the whole of Scotland!):


 (Thanks to YouTube for both of these)

Sheila was also keen that we get them on their feet and dance ‘The Gay Gordons’ and had also thoughtfully brought her wee book of Burns’ poems!  So we were all set.

The day duly arrived. The house was scrubbed, the food prepared, the table set and we were wearing whatever tartan we could find, which was not much beyond our shirts!  H2 arrived complete with dancing shoes as instructed and the whisky (from Lidl’s but a Highland Malt nonetheless) opened and a toast to Scotland’s Bard duly drunk. Unfortunately there are no pictures of the evening which followed, for the simple reason that we were soon too well oiled to remember to take them! However, I do recall that the video clips were watched and one or two poems read. The food was also excellent and appeared to go down well, including the haggis, which was surprisingly good considering its origins. 

We also danced ‘The Gay Gordons’ after a fashion – Hanneke being more up for it than Hans, which was rather a pity as it is more Sheila’s bag than mine but never mind! Sometime after midnight, the party broke up and was declared a success by one and all. In this context, I will not dwell on Sheila’s hangover the next day except to say that normally she does not drink whisky other than on the top of Scottish mountains. In my humble view, she needs more practice!

It might not have been a traditional Burns Supper but it was great fun.




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  1. Alan permalink

    “The swats sae ream’d in Sheila’s noddle”??

  2. Mairi Marlborough permalink

    So glad the Scottish bard is being honoured in Greece – sounds like you had a great celebration. We had our veggie haggis on Wednesday and are off to a Burns Supper tonight for the real McCoy – warm reeking and rich – canny wait. Loving your blog – think you’ll have to do a country life in Kirkcudbright version when you get home!!

  3. Gillie permalink

    wonderful! is sheila recovered yet?

    i am in bed with flu/tonsilitis…. not well!

    i like mairi’s idea of a kirkcudbright countryfile version.


    • Get well soon. Must be that Milan air that is bad for you. It is very cold here!

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