‘Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

Sae let the Lord be thankit.’

17th Century Grace

These words, attributed to Rabbie Burns, were actually used as far back as the 17th century, in the Lowlands. They are cherished not only because of their association with our National Bard, but it reflects the sentiments of our instinct, to be grateful for the food we eat.

I love haggis and mashed neeps but, this year, with only two of us at home, I am celebrating with a good plate of tattie stovies. I learned this recipe from Margaret Davidson who used to look after us when we were bairns, and my mother and father had gone out for a night off.

People ask me if I am bilingual: Italian and English?

To be honest, my Italian is not that good. But, thanks to Margaret, I am bilingual. Scots and English!


2 tablespoons beef dripping or vegetable oil

2 large Spanish onions, peeled and finely sliced

5-6 large floury potatoes – King Edward, Desiree or Maris Piper

5-6 large 100% pork sausages

1 bay leaf

Worcester sauce

Black pepper


Choose a heavy bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.

Warm the dripping or oil in the saucepan and add the onions, turning them round to coat them well.

Add the lid and stove over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and translucent.

Peel the potatoes and cut into eights.

Once the onions are softened, add the potatoes and turn everything around.

Add a good splash of cold water.

Seal the pot with a large double sheet of greaseproof paper and, with the lid on, steam on a low heat for a further 10 minutes.

Push each sausage out of the casing and cut in half.

Take the lid off and add the sausage and bay leaf.

Add a further splash of water, a good flavouring of Worcester sauce and a generous grind of black pepper.

Stir everything again, loosening anything that has stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Don’t worry if there are dark caramelised pieces sticking at the bottom of the pot. These are the tastiest parts of the dish.

Put the paper and lid back on and stove on a low heat for a further 15-20 minutes until all the potatoes and softened and collapsed.

Add a little more water if the potatoes are too dry.

Check seasoning – you should not need to add any salt.

Serve piping hot with a good squeeze of brown sauce.