I was delighted to be asked by the 2014 Food & Drink Campaign to participate in a Burns Night Blogger Challenge. An intriguing and beautifully wrapped parcel arrived and when opened revealed a nest with a hibernating haggis and an invitation to be #InspiredByBurns. Rousing the beastie from its slumber was much easier than heading to the hillsides to hunt one down. They are sneaky wee creatures which have evolved over time to have two long and two short legs which enable them to thrive on the steep Scottish hillsides. You have to be very cunning to capture one in the wild.
I was somewhat worried as to the health of my haggis as there were no air holes punched in the box to enable it to breathe (in the manner of Blue Peter hibernating tortoise Freda) however a medical examination revealed that all was well and it was time to Ready, Steady, Invent.
For my #InspiredByBurns creations I opted to take a twist on the traditional Scottish favourites of Tatties Scones, Oatcakes and Neeps and sex them up with Haggis and Whisky. I hope Rabbie would approve.
HAGGIS TATTIE SCONES
175g Riced or Mashed Potato
50g Plain Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Warm the haggis to soften and mix it well into the potato.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and thoroughly combine.
Liberally flour your surface and roll out gently to form two circles about 1/4" thick.
Cut the circles into quarters.
Heat a gridle or heavy frying pan.
Smear on some butter with kitchen roll.
Once hot cook scones for about 3-4mins on each side until golden brown.
What an amazing smell when they were cooking and even better when it came to the taste test. Plates were cleared and requests of "Please Sir, Can I have some more?". They caused much excitement on Facebook and Twitter. Do let me know if you give them a try. Next up, the oatcakes.
1 Cup Oatmeal
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda
Mix the oatmeal, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Warm the haggis to soften and add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Gradually add boiling water and mix to a soft consistency. Turn on to a worksurface or board sprinkled with oatmeal and divide into two. Form each half into a round and roll as thin as possible without cracking. Cut into eight and bake on a griddle over a low heat until the edges start to curl up.
I'm not 100% happy with how these turned out. The are a wee bit/soft chewy in comparison to the traditional oatcakes I made for the first time last week. Perhaps less haggis in the mix would help. I'm going to serve them alongside Cullen Skink on Burns Night and will keep my fingers crossed that they will crisp up with a blast in a hot oven prior to serving.
Haggis and tatties utilised so just the Neep and Whisky to go. The traditional accompaniment for Haggis of course chappit neeps but I would highly recommend you give my whisky neeps a try. I'm not a whisky fan but I do love these. Buttery, sugary, sticky and sweet. You will never go back to mashed neeps once you have tried them.
700g neep (swede) peeled and cubed
4 Tbsp demerara sugar
2 Tbsp Whisky
Place cubed neep in a pan with the butter, sugar, whisky and enough water to cover.
Bring to the boil and cook uncovered over a high heat until the water has evaporated to leave a buttery glaze. This will take around 30 minutes.
Season, serve and enjoy.
I hope you have been #InspiredByBurns to do something different with your Haggis, Neeps, Tatties and Whisky on 25th January this year but do remember. Haggis is for life - not just for Burns Night.