Monday, 30 November 2015

Tartan haggis - work in prorgress (for St Andrew's Day)

This post is an idea rather than a complete recipe.  I have often bemoaned that haggis (even the vegetarian version I make a few times a year) is quite boring in presentation.  I have tried many ways of presenting haggis.  Some more successful than others.  A month or two ago it struck me that I should pipe the neeps and tatties to make a tartan topping.  I tried it for St Andrews Day (today).  It was not perfect but had potential.

As I suspected it took me quite some time, about 2 and and half hours, with a lot of meandering as I cooked it yesterday.  Fortunately we had a quiet weekend to regroup and try and sort out the hurricane of a house.  But I did get a little distracted by The Gruffalo on the telly.  Such a gorgeous telemovie. 

I made four components: my usual vegetarian (vegan) haggis (colourful with a few green beans and some red pepper added); mashed potatoes (mashet tatties); baked, peeled and pureed sweet potato (in lieu of any bashet neeps); and tomato sauce (because we didn't have enough bottled stuff).

The haggis and mashed potato were great. I had imagined piping thick lines of neeps but I only had sweet potato.  It was quite thick because I baked them and only added a little butter and seasoning to the mixture before pureeing with a hand held blender.  It made lines like thick pipes across the potato.  I think that sweet potato is thicker than neeps or turnips but I am not sure that the thick piping nozzle was the right one.

I had intended to use bottled tomato sauce but didn't have much.  So I made up a sauce by frying onions and garlic, then adding a 750ml jar of passata, 1/4 cup tomato paste and mustard, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon.  It was so thin that I used 1/4 cup of cornflour but it was still too thin.  In an ideal world I would have had more time to reduce it.  And finding the right consistency is not easy.

However I want to try again and I think next time I might spread the mashed potato on, then a layer of neeps, then some thin piping of potato and a thicker tomato sauce, with the lines spaced out a bit more.  If I was better with piping I would be tempted to try it with ramekins so it was served up neatly rather than landing on the plate in a pile.  Sadly my piping skills are in need of more practice.  However I am surprised I could not find any pictures from some enterprising restaurant making it this way.

Most importantly, it was absolutely delicious.  In fact I really loved having the sweet potato and tomato sauce with the haggis and potatoes.  Sylvia screamed at being asked to eat a mouthful while E and I went for seconds.  We ate the leftovers tonight.  Next time I will use a ceramic dish because I don't like leaving dinner overnight in a metal tin (it was my slice tin) and it was very messy to move it to another dish.

Dinner tonight was quite a scramble of the haggis, sweets and tatties (if I can get away with called sweet potato "sweets").  But E refrained from his favourite saying of "Inverness, what a mess" as it was also very yummy.

More St Andrews Day meals on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
2014: Haggis and mole wraps
2013: Baked potato with haggis
2012: Burger King, Edinburgh Castle and scones at the Deacon's Hoose
2009: Haggis, neeps and tatties at Edinburgh Castle 
2008: Henderson's vegetarian haggis


  1. Even though a work in progress I am impressed. I didn't get hold of any haggis this time round, and nor did I have energy to be more experimental, so made a simple Neep Curry to remember my time in Scotland. Good to learn that your busy.

  2. Hi Johanna,
    Wow! Such creativity and I must say patience. I realized it was St. Andrew's Day quite late last night. I came {{{this}}} close to searching for a recipe when the rest of the day just semed to slip on by. I sure wish I would have seen this post. However, since it is still November 30th here, all is not lost:)

    Thanks so much for sharing your endeavor with us, Johanna, too bad Sylvia was not as receptive as she might have been, lol...

  3. Looks interesting - good job on the presentation.

  4. Would you believe I have never, ever eaten haggis!!!

  5. I don't think I've ever had haggis nor even the vegetarian version. You certainly have a lot of perseverance and I think your presentation is lovely. I do love The Gruffalo - such a brilliant children's book and now tele-movie xx

  6. Quite an impressive endeavour! I can't even do lattice pie tops so I applaud your efforts!

  7. I think you are unduly critical of its appearance! I am very impressed. I do think the flavour is more important anyhow, so am glad this tasted good. Having been fortunate in trying veggie haggis recently, I am keen to see more recipes.

  8. What a clever idea making a tartan out of the topping! :D The only creative thing I've done with haggis is making bonbons out of them.

  9. What a great idea! I never would have thought to create a vegan haggis, much less a tartan vegan haggis! This is a dish I know I would love, it has all the comfort food components I love.
    Thanks for sharing
    Gourmet Getaways

  10. Wow - this sounds very cool! I'll admit, the title didn't sound very appealing. Haggis was never something I really liked the sound of ;p But your version sounds quite yummy! What a lot of work you put into it and it looks quite pretty =)

  11. Thanks everyone - highly recommend haggis to everyone and hope to keep trying this idea


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