Burns Night Special- Haggis ‘Opera Cake’

Haggis Opera Cake- pretty weird but I thought it would be nice to mix it up a little for this Burns night. Taking a cake famous for its multiple layers, difficult construction and recreating it in Haggis, Neeps and Tatties? Why not!

This recipe is a little different from the majority of my posts- I usually publish posts that are healthy recipes I think other people will enjoy making, and eating. This post is more a fun and novelty post (although still diet friendly, or I wouldn’t be publishing it) so I don’t think I would expect anyone to go to the lengths of making this for their Burn’s night supper! Although who knows, maybe if you’ve got the time and patience. Haggis is one of my favourite foods (being Scottish I’m biased) so I was really looking forward to making this, as I don’t need an excuse to eat it.

First the ingredients required for this are:

Ingred.Ed

-Tatties/aka. Potatoes (I used two)

– Just under ½ Standard sized Turnip/aka. Neeps

-Haggis, I use a small one. (obviously, it’s not Burns night without it)

-Salt and Pepper

-Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or whatever oil preferred

-Gravy of choice

Optional- Minced garlic for the pureed turnip.

Now to get into the specifics. First pre heat your oven to 180-200°c. Next is the veg prep. Both the neeps and tatties will be mashed-almost pureed really- so the chopping or shape of them is totally not important. Get your tatties and boil them in a pan of water. While they are simmering, chop up some neeps and put them on a non-stick baking tray. I used half of a whole turnip, and this was a little too much. This recipe is difficult to give amounts of ingredients, as everyone’s recipe will vary due to the nature of it.  However I feel it’s always better to have a bit too much than not enough when it gets to the construction part. Drizzle with a light layer of oil (type of oil is up to you), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put them into the oven to roast. My neeps took approx. 25-30 mins (stopping halfway through to turn them).

While everything is cooking, you can start with the haggis prep. For this, I use the centre part of the Haggis only for the simple reason of size. The discs cut from the centre will be uniform in size, unlike those from the ends. I like to save the ends of the Haggis for eating later! Cut the disks of Haggis, and lay out on another non-stick baking tray.

Sliced.Ed

 

This is then put into the oven for approx. 8-10 minutes. Again, the time for cooking the Haggis will vary, due to the thickness of the slices. The Haggis should then be taken out JUST as it is cooked, as it will be reheated for serving after being assembled. Remove from heat and leave on the side to cool down. When eating Haggis there’s nothing worse than having it served all dried out and overcooked. At this point the neeps may be done roasting, and should be removed and left to cool too if finished.

The cooked Haggis and roasted neeps:

Slices.Ed

 

Neeps.C.Ed

When the tatties are cooked (my tatties took a while to cook through, probably around 40-45 minutes), remove them from the heat. With the tatties, simply mash them up until they are smooth and spreadable. With the neeps, I prefer to add some minced garlic (Neeps are not one of my favourite veggies, I will admit it!) and then blend to a puree. Some people like to mix the neeps and tatties together, and I did consider it, but I decided to keep them separate to create the 3 contrasting layers.

Neep.M.Ed

Once the haggis is cooled and you can touch it comfortably, the task of constructing the ‘opera cake’ begins. I started with Haggis, then simply alternated the Haggis layers with neeps and tatties. Constructing the ‘Opera Cake’ proved difficult, as spreading the fillings in between the thin Haggis layers required a minimal amount of pressure, to avoid fracturing the disks! I didn’t use all the Haggis I had, as I felt making the tower/’cake’ any higher would make it structurally unsound!

Stacked.Ed

At this point, the tower should be popped back into the oven to heat it up. The final step, once it’s cooked and hot, is to simply cover in your gravy of choice. I usually love to have homemade gravy, but because I wanted to mimic an opera cake and coat it, I felt that gravy granules would be the best option. I used a roast onion gravy, and it worked well and tasted great!

Gravy.Ed

 

Covered.Ed

 

A cross section of the finished product:

Cross.Ed

 

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

This is hardly a new idea, and is very simple, but this is how I do my take on healthy sweet potato chips. These are baked and not fried. This is a great way of getting in your veg for the day, without dreading the idea of eating some soggy bland mush. I find getting my fruit and veg for the day one of the hardest parts of healthy eating- getting in my protein is no problem- but veg is a work in progress!

So for this recipe the quantities used are for one person- it’s very easy to increase if more people will be eating, or if, like me, you’re quite greedy! This is for a portion as a side dish, or a larger snack size. You will need:

Ingred.STF.Ed

-1 x Large Sweet Potato/or 2 smaller ones

-Sea Salt

-Coarse ground black pepper

-Oil of choice (I like extra virgin olive for this)

-Smoked Paprika

So first of all you simply cook the sweet potato in the oven- whole, unpeeled, as they are. I do mine at 180°c for approximately 40-45 minutes. Cooking times will vary, but this is a good guideline to start from. You can test to see if the potato is cooked by checking it’s soft with a skewer or fork.

Once cooked, leave to cool. Peeling the potato is next, and the skin should peel off with ease, as the cooking process loosens the skin from the flesh of the vegetable. Prepare your baking tray after this- I brush on an extremely light layer of olive oil onto my non-stick baking tray, as sweet potato seems to love sticking to the pan like super glue otherwise. You could also use baking paper- or one of those silicone baking sheets I should really buy for myself!

Slicing the sweet potato into chip-like shapes is the next part. Because it’s already cooked, this part is very easy and doesn’t require much effort. The only difficult part is trying to get the chips of equal shape and size. I will say that mine have been wildly different sizes and they’ve still tasted good, but consistency is best for cooking reasons.

One.B.STF.Ed

Once sliced, space them out evenly on your baking tray. Brush on a thin coat of oil onto the chips to allow them to become crunchy when cooking. Cover the sweet potato with your sea salt, and add a sprinkling of smoked paprika for the earthy flavour.  Top with some coarse black pepper for some heat.

Seasoned.STF.Ed

Put back into the oven (at the same temperature as before) and leave to cook & crisp for roughly ten minutes. It’s best to check the chips every 5 minutes, as again, sometimes the cooking time can vary- and the chips tend to burn fast if left too long!

Cover with your favourite sauce (I prefer BBQ) and enjoy!

Finished.STF.Ed