A six course New Year dinner which turned out vegetarian.
We Scots love a New Year. It goes back to pagan times when the winter solstice was celebrated with a round of shortbread like cake, the crimps around the edge symbolising the return of the sun after a long winter.
Through time, Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations have been shaped and changed by church beliefs – the General Assembly banned the Christmas Day holiday in 1649 because it decided the Church of Rome festivities were unacceptable to the ethics of their Presbytarian ethos. Ministers were encouraged to make home visits to make sure everyone was working!
Before World War II, most Scots worked on Christmas Day and it was Hogmanay and New Years Day which were public holidays.
Over the years Christmas and New Year festivities have merged and evolved. From the 18th and 19th centuries, communities would celebrate at stone circles or mercat crosses to welcome in the New Year. After the bells, first footing and partying in houses would then commence with visitors bringing fuel for the fire, shortbread or cake and a bottle of whisky.
Scottish hospitality dictates that people should be fed. Sideboards would be groaning with food, usually cold meat, oatcakes, cheese, shortbread, pancakes, soda scones and clootie dumpling or black bun. On really cold nights, hot dishes might be offered including stovies or scotch broth.
Nowadays anything goes and as I had a vegetarian guest, decided to make a vegetarian menu.
There is no rush to eat on new year’s eve, so I made 6 courses, most of which was prepared the day before. The portions are small to reflect the number of courses. I had time to photograph the dishes as they were served!
Here are the recipes below.