Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Beer battered haggis balls

When we took vegetarian beer battered haggis balls to Twilights at the Zoo last month, I was able to confidently assert to E that no one else in the crowd would be eating these tasty morsels.  Burns Night might be a great celebration of literary traditions in Scotland but in Australia it is hard to even find a bottle of Scottish beer.

I asked E if I should make haggis patties or beer battered haggis balls for the picnic.  He was all in favour of beer batter!  You can take the boy of our Scotland but you can't take Scotland out of the boy.  The Scots love their deep fried battered snacks.  (Deep fried mars bars anyone?)  So I found a Scottish beer (Sheep Shaggers Gold from the Highlands) and made these little gems.

Buying beer was the least of my worries.  I hate deep frying.  But I liked the recipe and so did E.  Gulp!  Fortunately my mum was visiting during the day and gave me some wise advice about using less oil in a small saucepan.  I was especially grateful when I saw how little rice bran oil was left.

At the picnic we had the beer battered haggis balls with tomato sauce, caesar salad (recipe testing for Ricki Heller), hummus, BBQ shapes and tomatoes.  A fine feast to salute the Baird.  The haggis wasn't perfect.  It was quite sweet and squidgy in the batter.  I wondered if a bit more seasoning and perhaps some more oats might give it a bit more oomph.  (I've never had meat haggis so I don't know how the vegetarian version compares.)

We enjoyed the balls with some tomato sauce.  The recipe I followed included a whiskey mustard sauce which sounded lovely.  I just didn't have the energy for it.  I also wasn't so sure about how much haggis to use and only used half the batch.  Then I was left with almost half the batter so in future I think I might tweak the haggis mixture and use all of it.

It was definitely a fun way to serve haggis and got the Scottish seal of approval from E.  When we got down to the last ball at the picnic, it was only politeness that stopped us fighting each other for the last crumb.

I am sending these to the Four Seasons Food blog challenge that is hosted by Anneli of Delicieux (who alternates with Louisa of Eat Your Veg).  I am delighted to have not only a recipe to fit the theme of love but also one that fits seasonally into their Northern Hemisphere.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Cranachan
Two years ago: MLLA Nicki's vegetarian dumplings with fried rice
Three years ago: Nutella fudge for World Nutella Day
Four years ago: Pizza for the Working Woman
Five years ago: WTSIM … Fruit kebabs
Six years ago: Polenta and Tomato Comforts

Beer battered haggis balls
Adapted from Scotland for Visitors 
Makes about a dozen balls.

1 cup beer
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 quantity vegetarian haggis
oil for frying
tomato sauce to serve

Mix beer, flour, mustard and salt in a small bowl.  Roll haggis into about two dozen small balls about the size of a walnut (I got about 13 and a half balls from half a batch of haggis).  Heat 1 to 2 cm of oil in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Check it is hot enough by throwing in a bread crumb and if it sizzles it is ready.

When oil is ready dip about six or seven balls in the batter and carefully place in the oil.  Use a couple of forks to turn the balls around to evenly cook until  golden brown all over.  It wont take long ( a few minutes?) so keep an eye on them.  Drain on kitchen paper.  Repeat with remaining balls.

Serve warm or room temperature with a tomato sauce.

On the Stereo:
Music for Burns Night (freebie CD with the Scotsman)

16 comments:

  1. I love picnics but I think I'd be more keen on a veg haggis sandwich than a battered haggis ball. I really don't like deep-fried foods.
    I notice your Crabbie's beer! I was devastated when I found out it wasn't vegan- their ginger beer was a favourite treat of mine.

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    1. Thanks Emma - I am also interested to shallow fry some little haggis patties. The is bad to hear about Crabbies not being vegan. I always expect British foods to be more veg friendly then here but perhaps that hasn't spread to alcoholic drinks

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  2. I think a Bridie is another deep fried little Scottish snack, I've always been intrigued but never tasted them.

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    1. Thanks Brydie - yes I am intrigued by bridies and stoves and cock a leekie and other Scottish recipes - sadly a few of these savoury foods have meat but I would love to make veg version

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  3. These would definitely have been unique at your picnic :-) I have never had beer battered anything or haggis anything so they would be a completely novel dish to me!

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    1. Thanks Kari - beer battered fish seems quite trendy in cafes - I might have had beer battered chips but am not sure - it was something quite different from what I usually do but I don't think it will be a regular dish.

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  4. Oh yes Johanna, tell E these would do it for me too! I am hoping to wangle one of those air friers, that you just add a spoonful of oil too, I like things like this too, but I have fear of deep frying too. ps I love crabbies ginger beer. Never tried the raspberry, sounds great!

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    1. Thanks Jac - I wasn't sure if the air fryers would do this sort of frying - I have only heard about them doing chips but it would be exciting if they would fry this sort of thing - one thing I hate about deep frying is the leftover oil (as well as splatters) so this would take care of that too. The raspberry crabbies ginger beer was very sweet and easy to drink - dangerously so.

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  5. Frying scares me endlessly but I'll have to try it with your mom's tip! These look awesome. Who DOESN'T love beer batter?!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - the small pan made it easier though I followed it up with more deep frying (chiko rolls) and got oil splattered on my hands so yes be afraid :-(

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  6. I'd say that you were right, nobody else would be having the same thing but having said that I think many people would like to try these! I would :)

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - yes I think they were unique but I also think the food at these picnics has got fancier - no longer do you see people with just a round of sandwiches and some fruit like the good old days and the places selling food do thai and curries and all sorts of interesting stuff too

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  7. Replies
    1. Order noted Hannah, however we are out of stock :-)

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  8. How original! They sound and look delicious! Bet they were full of flavour. Fab entry for Four Seasons Food - thanks!

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    1. Thanks Anneli - they were very pleasing - was pleased to send them your way :-)

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