Sunday 25 January 2009

Happy Burns Night!

vegan burns night
From Burn's Night 2009 - Vegan Haggis, Buttered Leeks and Neeps and Tatties and Cranachan for dessert (photo below.)

Being partly Scottish I always enjoy taking part in Burns night, and as it's his 250th anniversary felt I must! I have made vegetarian haggis once before and really enjoyed it, I have also bought the vegetarian/vegan one that is out there, it's very good but there is something just too funny about making your own vegan haggis! 

The first time I made it I followed the Vegetarian Society's recipe and it turned out great but I felt like messing about with it this time. Mainly their recipe called for red lentils and red kidney beans but I thought of using puy lentils which are so good and thought they would fare well in this. I also used half pinhead oatmeal and half rolled oats and added 25g vegetable suet. 

Altogether it was delicious and I would only increase the amount of cayenne next time, it was spicy before going into the oven then really mellowed out while baking.

From Burn's night 2013 (sorry it's a bit blurry!) Individual Vegan Haggis, Perfect Roasted Potatoes, Mashed Turnip, Thyme Glazed Carrots, Buttered Leeks and a mind blowing Whiskey Gravy! Washed down with whiskey on ice and no dessert this year - too stuffed!

I made a few changes I'll note here as 2013 was the best one yet. The most welcome addition this year was a Whiskey Gravy I made - it's heavenly and will become a house regular for sure :-)

Again, it's not your eyes, darn blurry photo.... I still have a lot to learn with this new camera!

Updated Notes:

• I halved the recipe this year and pressed the filling into 3 small pudding cases. They cooked up beautifully in them, came out easily and I loved having an individual portion like that. I just lined the bottom of the cases with baking paper and sprayed them with cooking spray.
• For the veg stock I used a Kallo brand mushroom stock cube and always will from now on - lovely flavour!
• The roasted potatoes came out so perfect this year I didn't dream of mashing them! So instead we had roasted potatoes on their own and mashed turnip on the side. I just mashed the turnip with a bit of vegan butter.
• I added Thyme Glazed Baby Carrots this year, mostly for some added colour and they are gorgeous! Really went well with the whole dish. I've added the recipe below.
• Like I mentioned the Whiskey Gravy was the piece de resistance this year! Recipe has also been added below :-)

vegan haggis

Vegan Haggis

2 small onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 large carrot, finely chopped
100g mushrooms, finely chopped
100g dry puy lentils
1 pint vegetable stock (make with whatever cube/powder you like) NOTE - you will need to make extra.
35g ground almonds
25g chopped almonds (or any other nuts you have)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne (or more)
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
100g pinhead oatmeal
100g rolled oats
25g vegetable suet

First wash the lentils well and place in a pot and cover with cold water - do not add salt. Cover, bring to the boil and fast boil for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C and oil and line a 1lb loaf tin with baking paper - set aside. Alternatively line the bottom of 6 non-stick pudding cases with baking paper and spray the sides with cooking spray. 

Fry the onion in the oil for 5 minutes then add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Now add the drained par cooked lentils, lemon juice, herbs/spices and the stock and cook over medium heat with the lid on for 15 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, suet and the nuts and oatmeal's and simmer for another 10 minutes, adding extra stock if it starts to stick to the pan but don't let it get too 'wet'. Press mixture evenly into the loaf tin or pudding cases, smooth out the top and bake for 30 minutes. 

Serves 4 - 8 as a loaf or 6 if you have used pudding cases.

buttered leeks
This is such a simple dish but really delicious and just goes so well with everything else.

'Buttered' Leeks 

• 450g leeks
• 25g vegan butter
• salt and pepper
• fresh sprigs of thyme

First prep the leeks: Cut off the hard dark green tops and slice the bottom end. Slice in half lengthwise then wash the leeks very well under cold running water. Now slice the leeks on the diagonal and place in a large plastic bag and chill until ready to use.

Place a large saucepan with a lid on medium heat and add the vegan butter - let it melt then add the leeks and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat them in the butter. Turn the heat to low, pop the lid on and cook the leeks gently for about 15 minutes, stirring now and again until they are tender. Remove thyme sprigs before serving.

Source:  BBC Good Food . 

Neeps and Tatties
neeps and tatties
"Neeps and Tatties" - or potato and turnips!

2013 Edit - I now prefer roasting the potatoes and leaving them intact - original recipe had you roughly mash them as you see in the picture here. I then mash the turnip separately with a bit of vegan butter. See the 2013 photo above.

Perfect Roasted Potatoes:

• 4 large baking potatoes
• 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
• sea salt

Wash the potatoes well, leave the skin on and cut them into 2cm x 4cm chunks then boil in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain, give it a good shake then leave the potatoes in the sieve to dry out. I just left mine in there while I got the oven on to preheat.

Place the oil in a roasting tin and place in the oven. Turn the oven on and preheat to 200C. When it comes to temperature and the oil is nice and hot add the potato and toss with a spatula until they are well coated in the oil. Roast for about 50 minutes, making sure you give them a toss now and again. Remove from the oven when they are golden brown and crispy then sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and give a stir.

Mashed Turnip:

• 1 turnip (swede)
• vegan butter
• salt

Simply peel and chop the turnip into large dice. Place in a large pan of salted boiling water and boil for about 50 minutes. Drain and mash with a knob of vegan butter.

Source: BBC Good Food.

Thyme Glazed Baby Carrots:

• about 300g baby carrots - 6 per person should do
• 1 tsp golden caster sugar (or any type of sugar really)
• 4 sprigs of fresh thyme 
• 1 Tbsp vegan butter

Top and tail the baby carrots and if necessary peel them - usually just a good scrub will do with baby carrots but peel if they are quite dirty. Boil in salted water for 5 - 7 minutes, they should be just tender. Drain, run under cold water to stop them cooking and set aside until ready to cook.

Add the butter, sugar and thyme to a large frying pan or small wok and add the carrots. Cook and gently toss the carrots just until the butter melts and the carrots get a lovely glaze all over.

Source: BBC Good Food.

Whiskey Gravy:

This recipe comes from "Chef A La Porte" and is incredible. I am posting it here to indicate the vegan changes I made and to add the metric amounts but I otherwise followed his recipe to a T. It's a little involved but so worth it. The flavour is amazing - a subtle whiskey taste with a hint of sweetness from the caramelized veg. Plus the texture is perfect - just velvety smooth!

For the caramelized veg:
• 1 onion
• 1 large carrot
• 2 stalks of celery
• 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
• 1 tsp vegetable oil
For the gravy:
• 1/4 cup / 60ml vegetable oil (or other neutral flavoured oil)
• 1/4 cup / 35g flour
• 1/3 cup / 80ml whiskey (I used Jameson's)
• 2 cups / 500ml / 1 pint vegetable stock (I used a Knorr vegetable stock pot)
• 4 - 5 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried - I used fresh)
• 2 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried - I used dried here)

First, and you can do this earlier in the day (I did) : roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery. Add to a saucepan with 1 tsp of oil and fry until very brown (almost burnt as he says) for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Remove all the veg and leave aside for later and keep the pot - DO NOT WASH IT!

Using the same pan add the flour and and oil and stir constantly over high heat until caramel brown in colour and smooth in consistency. Make sure you kind of scrape the bottom of the pan to get all that flavour off!

Now remove from the heat and to be extra safe if you are using gas, turn it off altogether, you do not want alcohol coming into contact with the flame! Slowly start to add the whisky, a splash at a time at first. It will sizzle and foam up a bit as you do so it's important to do this slowly and whisk it in so that it is smooth after every addition. When all the whiskey has been added place the pan back on the heat (low) and start to add the vegetable stock. Again, add it a little bit at a time stirring well between each addition. Also taking care that no splashes occur!

When all the stock has been added, bring it to a boil then add the reserved vegetables and sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Reduce to a simmer and stir frequently until it is of a thickness you like. Strain out the veg and return the gravy to the pot. Taste and season with salt as need be, I only added a pinch.

Source: Chef A La Porte.

vegan cranachan
Cranachan for dessert!
(well, a veganized and ever so slightly Canadianized version!)

This is a traditional Scottish dessert made with double cream, whiskey, honey, toasted oatmeal and berries. There are loads of different variants of this out there so I didn't really have a 'base' recipe to base this on. Mostly the problem was replacing the cream - I don't like the soy whipped creams out there and anything else is too runny i.e soy yogurts etc.. I was happy to read that it was also made out of crowdie, a type of cream cheese so thought of using some tofutti cream cheese for the filling, I was thinking of a floppy, whiskey, maple infused cream cheese type thing. I'm happy enough with what came out of it although I personally would have liked more whiskey, think I would double the whiskey/oat cream/ cornflour stage in this. I decided to use pinhead oatmeal for the topping (it's inside as well) and read somewhere that Nick Nairn suggested adding sugar to oatmeal while toasting so thought that maple sugar I got recently would be nice. It is. Only other thing I may change next time is to mash up some of the raspberries to swirl over the cream layer as it needed a little more of that.


113g tofutti cream cheese
75g tofutti sour cream
1 Tbsp oat cream
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1Tbsp whiskey (again, next time I would double the oat cream/maple/whiskey/cornflour stage)
40g icing sugar (??? I'm afraid I lost count while adding this - just go to taste and thickness)
1/2 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
fresh raspberries or blackberries
pinhead oatmeal - no measurement, I just tossed some in a frying pan
maple sugar, or demerara, again no measurement here I just eyeballed it against the oatmeal.

Whisk together the cream cheese and sour cream, set aside. Mix together the cornflour with the whiskey and set aside. 

In a small saucepan heat up the oat cream with the maple syrup, stirring well. When it just comes to a simmer add the whiskey mixture and stir constantly as it thickens up, remove from the heat. 

Take some of the cream cheese mixture and mix into the whiskey mixture briskly then add this mixture to the rest of the cream cheese mixture and whisk everything together. 

Now add the icing sugar whisking as you go until very smooth, thick and sweet enough. Don't worry if it's not super thick as it does set up a little more in the fridge. Place the oatmeal and sugar in a dry non stick frying and fry carefully until the sugar starts to melt and it starts getting sticky. Quickly transfer to a plate and carefully separate it all with your hands as it cools. 

In serving glasses layer cream, oatmeal, raspberries - serves 2 well.

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