In by-gone days before the turnip was introduced as winter food for animals, Martinmas, 11 November, was the time of year for killing the animals which Scots could not afford to keep during the winter. It was a busy time of year as families strove to ensure that nothing was wasted. Meat was salted down and the innards made into black and white mealie puddings.
Most people now-a-days buy puddings at the butcher but Skirlie is still made at home. Skirl-i-the-pan is made with the same ingredients as mealie puddings but is fried in a pan rather than boiled in a
skin. Also known as Poor Man's Haggis, Skirlie is splendid with neeps an tatties and also be used as stuffing for any kind of poultry or game. Here is the Aberdeenshire and North-East Scotland method of cooking:-
Take oatmeal, suet, onion, salt and pepper. Chop two ounces of suet finely. Heat a pan very hot and put in the suet. When it is melted add one or two finely chopped onions and brown them well. Now add enough oatmeal ( about four ounces ) to absorb the fat - a fairly thick mixture. Season to taste. Stir well till thoroughly cooked ( a few minutes ). Serve with potatoes.