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Fife Stovies

This year with the spotlight very much on Robert Burns, as we continue to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth, it is good to be reminded that poets and poetry, before and after Burns, have meant much to our Nation. This week sees the twelfth year of StXanza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, Feis Eadar-Naiseanta Bardachd na h-Alba, in the university town of St Andrews in the Kingdom of Fife. The festival runs from Wednesday 18 March to Sunday 22 March 2009. Visit for the full five day lively and packed programme.

The festival will be officially opened on Wednesday by First Minister Alex Salmond in the Byre Theatre at 7pm. Having attended university in the Fife town Alex Salmond is no stranger to St Andrews and will join singer Dundee’s own Sheena Wellington, poets Bill Manhire (New Zealand’s first Poet Laureate) and Kate Clanchy, sculptor David Mach (and his fired up Burns sculpture!) and the Ferryport Fiddlers in ensuring that the festival gets off to the best of starts.

Honouring Burns and celebrating Scottish Homecoming will feature widely in the five-day programme of poetry, drama, films and exhibitions as Eleanor Livingstone. Artistic Director, points out –

‘The 2009 festival – our twelfth – comes with a range of events which honour and re-interpret Scotland’s legendary Bard in challenging and provocative ways. We consider his poetic legacy and look at what else Scotland has given the world as, in this Homecoming year to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth, we extend a special invitation to the festival to returning Scots and affinity Scots from all around the globe, by making Homecoming one of our two themes for 2009.’

The festival offers a rare opportunity to hear songs and reading from Robert Burns’ ‘Merry Muses of Caledonia’ (not for the easily offended!), a chance to see a display of Lord Byron material from the Scottish National Library’s John Murray Archive, and hearing outstanding Fife-born author Ian Rankin tell how poetry and lyrics have impacted on his life and work. The varied programme offers something for all age groups.

A plate of Fife Stovies is just the dish to set you up for a full and active day of visiting the exhibitions and StXanza venues  - enjoy both.

Fife Stovies

Ingredients:  6 large Baking Potatoes, peeled and cubed (2.5cm/1 inch); 240ml/8fl.oz. Meat Stock; 25g/1oz Butter; 1 large Onion, roughly chopped; 350g/12oz Piece of Corned Beef, cut into cubes; Salt and Pepper

Method:  Place the potatoes and stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.   Meanwhile,  melt butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté gently until soft and transparent. When potatoes are cooked, add the cooked onions, salt, pepper and corned beef Mix well and continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until thoroughly heated through. Serve hot.

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