Tag Archives: Scottish

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

 

Miso Soup – The Winter Edition

As it’s now well into winter, I’ve been wanting my meals to warm me up as well as being filling & healthy. Sort of like a type of healthy comfort food. I thought Miso would be perfect for this, as it’s something I’ve always enjoyed eating- but also it’s very quick to prepare. Traditional miso soup usually consists of having simply the soup itself, with some tofu and spring onions. However I needed something more substantial- so I used shredded chicken (in place of traditional tofu) along with langoustines as I had a heavy day in the gym planned (Muay Thai night!) so was requiring a solid dose of protein. Also the langoustines were reduced and I was too tempted.

I actually think this is brilliant for using up veg in your fridge, or using up reduced price veg- as really it’s totally customisable depending on your preferences. I didn’t use Dashi to make this, even though it’s traditional, as I wanted this to be something that was really easy to make. In Scotland Dashi isn’t something that you can pop down to the shops to pick up, unless of course you’re lucky enough to have a stockist nearby.
The ingredients needed are:

Ingredients.Miso.Ed

1 x Nest of Whole-wheat noodles (any thickness is fine)
1 x Chicken Breast- of medium size (or bigger if you’re particularly hungry!)
2 x Spring Onions
½ Long Slim Red Pepper
2 Baby Leeks (Or roughly ¼ of a regular leek)
Serving of chickpeas (I used this as I had some leftover, you can substitute with whatever you have)
5 x Langoustines
2.5 Heaped/Generous teaspoons of Miso paste.
Pepper to taste. (Miso provides the saltiness, but extra salt can be added if you prefer)

The first part of the recipe is to cook the chicken breast (grilled or steamed) so it’s just done. Then taking two forks, shred it into rough pieces. It’s important not to shred the chicken too finely, otherwise it tends to “get lost” in the soup. This should be set aside for now. The spring onions and red pepper should be chopped into the size you prefer at this point, so they are ready to be added later.

Next, cook through the raw ingredients. At this point, the quantity of water needed should be the amount needed to cook- not the amount for the quantity of soup needed. Boil the water in a pan, and add in the noodles first. After they are part cooked, add in the Langoustines, leeks, and chickpeas. Boil these for a minute or two- not long at all- as they will continue cooking when you turn off the heat.

Leeks.Ed.

Once nearly cooked, turn off the heat so you’re ready to add the miso. The heat is turned off, as you shouldn’t add miso to boiling water, but also you don’t want anything to be overcooked & rubbery. I like to add the pre- cooked shredded chicken here, as it heats it up nicely.

The Miso paste is next, however the excess water in the pan should be drained out to reach the volume of water required for your serving of soup. Make sure your langoustines are still covered by the water, so the residual heat cooks them through perfectly.

Miso.Ed

I stirred the miso paste into the water until it dissolved, but the traditional Japanese way works better- using a sieve to dissolve it into the hot water to ensure there are no lumps. At this point I like to add some coarse ground black pepper too, but this is optional. You could also add a sliced chilli if you wanted something a little hotter.

Lastly, add the spring onion and red pepper, and serve immediately!

Finshed.Shot2.Ed

Note: Click on the images for larger version in more detail.