Bonnie Princess Clarissa !
Sharp tongued, opinionated Clarissa
Dickson Wright is never one to
be out done in a debate, especially one on food! I caught
up with her at one of
her favourite haunts in Edinburgh to discuss motorbikes,
her addiction to 'Strictly
Come Dancing' and feeding Bonnie Prince Charlie's
Jo: I know you are an enthusiastic haggis lover. So tell me some
of the ways you
enjoy eating haggis?
CDW:Well I think one of my favourite ways is 'Haggis Waldolf
Salad' actually! I was doing some filming for Songs of
Praise;the theme of the programe was living on your own, and this
recipe is rather good for solo dining. I love the crunch and
textures of the recipe.
Jo: Now I think you are sort of person who understands the
importance of household
thrift, and not wasting food. So, tell me some of your favourite
ways of using
up any left over haggis.
CDW: Well, I love it fried with crispy onions and chilli sauce
on the side.
Jo: And do you have any tips on how to make really good neeps
CDW: Well, I am not that bothered about having potatoes
actually, but I do like neeps a lot.
So I think the mistake most people make is not to cook the neeps
for long enough - they
must be really soft. Then ensure you drain them properly
until all the steam is off.
Don't stint on the butter, use lots of black pepper and
don't mash them into a cream, you
want them to have a rough texture. And going back to your
left-over question, if you have
any left over neeps and haggis, they make delicious patties. Just
use a bit of flour to shape them
into cakes and then fry them.
Jo: Now tell me, have you been out on a motorbike since the
famous 'Two Fat Ladies'
CDW: I have actually - I took part in the Lord Mayor's
procession in London in the side car of the
original bike too! It was a wet and windy day but an amazing
show to be part of and very special
for me as I grew up in London.
Jo: Tell me about a kitchen gadget you couldn't
CDW: It would have to be my Victorian masher. It is very
robust and has lots of little holes. I also love my lime
squeezer - you put the half lime inside and shut the lid and the
Jo: What would you do if you won the lottery?
CDW: Well, I wouldn't write any more books! I would just read
and read and talk. Yes, I like talking! I love crime
books, historical fiction and biography, but no cook books! A
real switch off for me is watching television. I loved 'Strictly
Come Dancing' and was rooting for Chelsee to win. She was
totally off my radar before this show and the amazing thing was
seeing everyone progress and learn to dance.
Jo: Do you ever feel you belong to another era?
CDW:Oh yes, all the time. I would have loved to live in
the Georgian Era - 1745 to be precise. I feel totally at home
in the Georgain kitchen in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square. I
love the food flavours of that time.
Jo: I have to ask this Clarissa: if the year was 1745, then
which side would you have
supported - England or Bonnie Prince Charlie?
CDW: I am such a rebellious romantic, so it would definitely
been Charles Edward - I would have done the cooking for the
Jo:Clarissa, I can't help thinking if you had fed the Scottish
rebels then they may just have won!!
Try Clarissa's haggis recipe, 'Haggis Waldolf'
1head of celery
6 sharp dessert apples
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 haggis, sliced
Red wine vinegar
Wash the celery and cut into julienne strips.
Arrange on a serving dish. Peel, core and slice the
apples. Melt the
butter in a heavy pan and gently soften the apple slices, turning
to cook both
sides. Season whilst cooking. Place the apples on top
of the haggis. Serve.
From Two Fat Ladies Ride excellent recipes by Clarissa
Dickson Wright and Jennifer
Paterson. Ebury Press.
Also by Clarissa The Haggis. Appletree press.
This is a special book for me as it marks the time I first met
Clarissa back the mid
1990's. She did some really excellent research on the
national dish and came to our orginal shop premises and
to make haggis with my late father and brother. Highly
recommended reading for anyone interested in knowing more about all
aspects of haggis.