Food & Drink

21st January 2021

Let’s Get Ready to… Rumbledethumps | RECIPE

Classic Scottish fare with a name straight out of a Road Dahl storybook, worthy of being revived from traditional recipe books.

Searching for something to celebrate amid the monotony of lockdown 3.0? Never fear!: 25 January marks Burns’ Night, the annual excuse for a ‘supper’ in honour of poet Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns. Commemorating Scotland’s answer to the Bard involves (vegetarian) haggis aplenty, often alongside the tartan-girded equivalent of England’s bubble and squeak, known as ‘Rumbledethumps’. It’s hearty comfort food at its finest (and unofficially the best-named dish in existence), with the added bonus that it’s comprised largely of everyday, store cupboard ingredients. Velvety, butter-rich mash is mixed with tangy, vibrant greens, topped with oodles of cheese, and baked into golden deliciousness.

The recipe below ups the ante by fusing the Scottish with the Italian (well, it worked for Paolo Nutini), the addition of the pancetta transforming a spectacular side into the main event worthy of its fantastical name.


Serves: 4 as a side; 2 as a main.

(Note: Kilt optional; elasticated waistband recommended!)


  • 500g (roughly half a small bag) of potatoes.
  • 250g (approx. one bag’s worth) of kale/ Savoy cabbage/ spring greens etc.
  • 100g of butter.
  • 100g of cheese.
  • 1 medium (Spanish/ brown) onion.
  • 1 twin-pack of uncooked, diced pancetta (smoked or unsmoked).
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian herb seasoning.
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.


  • 1 medium (or 2 small) casserole dish(es).
  • 2 large saucepans.
  • 1 chopping board.
  • 1 chopping board.
  • 1 cheese grater.
  • 1 potato masher.
  • 1 sharp knife.
  • 1 fork.
  • 1 teaspoon.


Och Aye, The Ooh: Rumbledethumps, Step 7 (see below).

1. First peel your potatoes, halve or quarter into roughly 2” chunks, and boil in slightly salted water for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

2. While the tatties are a-bubblin’, thinly slice the onion and shred your chosen cabbage component.

3. Next, melt a quarter of the butter in the leftover saucepan, add the two pancetta packs, and fry until crackling-crispy; this should take around 10 minutes. Halfway through this time, add the onion slices, slicking in the saline bacon juices, followed by the shredded cabbage. The ultimate aim is translucent onion and wilted greens, so keep on the heat until you have reached this desired state!

4. Drain the cooked potatoes, thumb in nuggets of butter, and mash until you’ve achieved a thick, velvety consistency. Afterwards season generously with salt and pepper.

5. Mix in the contents of your second saucepan, then spoon into your awaiting casserole dish(es).

6. Then sprinkle liberally with grated cheese (a sharp and salty Cheddar works best here). Finish with a dusting of Italian-inspired seasoning.

7. Next, bake for approx. 25 minutes, or until the cheesy topping is golden and bubbling, your stomach is rumbling, and your heart thumping, in anticipation. Finally dish up, and dig in!

Spuds You Like: The core ingredients of Rumbledethumps.


For a vegetarian version (if you hate meat or cannae eat it), try replacing the pancetta with some diced vegetarian bacon rashers.

‘Kailkenny’, Rumbledethumps’ richer Aberdonian sister, opts for single cream in place of butter in the enriched potato mash.

DID YOU KNOW?: Former PM Gordon Brown has cited Rumbledethumps as his favourite foodstuff. Yep, the comfort food staple has the power to turn even Brown’s frown upside-down!

To find out the best food and drinks that Liverpool has to offer, and tasty recipes, check out some of our other articles!

Photo & Featured image Credit: Lavender and Lovage