Clootie Dumpling and Sliced Sausage

It’s All About Christmas Eve in my House

My parents immigrated to Canada from Scotland 40 years ago. They were the only ones from their respective families to settle in Canada, and as a result, Christmas in my house tended to be a simple, quieter affair, but always full of tradition from the old country. Over the years, our family has grown and things have become a touch more hectic – in-laws, grandchildren, dogs – but my Irish mom has always managed to keep it sane and festive.

It’s all about Christmas Eve in my house. It starts with the annual decision-making about how early we need to leave to get a seat at midnight mass – inevitably we are always the first to arrive. After mass, we settle at home in front of an open fire, exchange a few gifts and, of course, eat and drink until the wee hours of the morning. The food traditions have never changed: Delicious homemade sausage rolls, mince pies, tablet and the ever-present Quality Street chocolates.

When I moved to England last autumn, Christmas was fast approaching and I felt myself longing for the comforts of home – I am sure my parents had a similar experience when they arrived in Canada. As I started my planning, I put in the request to Mom for recipes – at the top of the list was clootie dumpling and sliced sausage.

Clootie dumpling is a delicious Scottish pudding made with flour, raisins, treacle,  sugar and spices. It is served hot or cold as a dessert, but my Dad loves to fry leftovers with a little butter for breakfast.

Sliced sausage (also called square sausage) is one of the best-kept Scottish secrets – it is a simple mixture of ground beef, egg and mace. It wouldn’t be Christmas morning without the aroma of flat sausage being fried by my dad.

The week before Christmas, I started to pump out all the old favourites. The dumpling was intimidating, as needs to be steamed in a muslin cloth. I watched my mom make it countless times growing up but never really paid any attention. After two attempts and several emails home, I managed to perfect the dumpling. The sliced sausage was a breeze compared to the dumpling. In fact, I still question how something so simple can taste so good.

This year, I am spending Christmas in Venice and will be sneaking some clootie dumpling and sliced sausage into my duffle for a taste of home on Christmas morning. 

Mary's Clootie Dumpling Recipe

Sliced Sausage Recipe








Want to live in one of the world's great food cities? Visit our friends' beautiful site for New York homes and apartments: