Burns Night Stew

Here is another option for Burns night that doesn’t involve any vegetarian haggis like this: https://wordpress.com/post/catamongthepilchards.com/141 or this: https://wordpress.com/post/catamongthepilchards.com/204. The stew is served with dumplings which are cooked balls of butter and flour, an old British favourite and very comforting. It’s great to get so many veggies in whilst feeling indulgent. The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’.


  • 300g celeriac
  • 300g swede
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 jar mini pickled onions
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 75g pearl barley
  • 330ml porter
  • 2 tsp blackcurrant jam
  • 1.5 litres veg stock
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 50g butter
  • 200g red cabbage
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard


1.) Grind 5 cloves into a powder. Peel the celeriac, swede and carrots and chop into chunks. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

2.) Fry in a casserole pan with a tbsp oil and the bay leaves. Add some salt and pepper, the cloves, the allspice and the drained pickled onions. Cook for 15 minutes and make up the stock.

3.) Add the porter and the pearl barley to the pan with the jam and leave to simmer.

4.) Make the dumplings by chopping up the butter and rubbing it into the flour. Add 100ml of water to make a dough then form 12 balls with the dough. Pop the balls into the stew and drizzle over a bit of oil.

5.) Cover the pan with the lid and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

6.) Make a slaw to go with the stew by shredding the cabbage, chopping the apple into batons and tossing with the vinegar and mustard.

7.) Take the lid off the pan and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.

Haggis Part 2 – Haggis Pasties

To make the most of the veggie haggis you can buy around Burns’ Night, I bought another pack but did something a little different with it. In Britain, we like our pies and they’re usually savoury. A pasty is generally in the form of a folded circle containing the filling and the most famous pasty is the Cornish pasty. The Cornish pasty has a protected status in Europe so Cornish pasties must contain beef, swede, potato and onion. My version isn’t too different ingredients-wise though I didn’t manage to get the traditional 20 crimps to hold the pastry together.

For my pastry I used whole-wheat flour and learnt why you don’t often see people using it on the Bake-off. I did manage to cobble it together but I gave up on the presentation. The end result was light and flaky though and well-suited the spiced haggis is contained. I’ve seen recipes which put the swede and potato in raw but when I’ve tried that the filling hasn’t been quite as soft as I’d like and I find simmering in a bit of stock adds some flavour. The pasties freeze really well – stick them in the freezer at the point before the egg-wash.

Serves 8 (with a bit of filling left over)


For the filling:

1 pack Simon Howe vegetarian haggis

2/3 swede

1 large potato

2 leeks

300ml beef flavour stock

spray oil

For the pastry:

250g unsalted block of butter

250g strong flour

6 tbsp very cold water

1 egg


1.) Boil a kettle full of water. Take the haggis out of the packet, wrap it in foil. Put in the pan, completely cover with the water and simmer for 40 minutes.

2.) Clean and chop the leeks. Fry in a frying pan.

4.) Peel and chop up the potato and swede. Add to the leeks when they’re soft. Cook down for 5 minutes.

5.) Make up the stock and add to the potato and swede and cook on a medium-low heat until the stock has cooked off.

6.) Remove the haggis from the water and unwrap. Cut off the plastic casing and add the haggis to the potato and mix.

7.) Whilst the haggis and potatoes are cooking, start to make the pastry.

8.) Add the flour to a food processor with 1/2 tsp salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour.

9.) Blitz until it becomes breadcrumbs. I just pulse it pressing on and off the button to not overheat the mixture.

10.) Pour into a large bowl and add the water. Use your hands to shape into a ball but work the dough as little as as possible.

11.) Stick in the fridge for 30 minutes.

12.) After thirty minutes, lightly dust your surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the ball into a large rectangle. Mine was a bit dry due to the flour and crumbled a bit at the edges but I pushed them together.

13.) Fold 1/3 over and then the other third, like a letter.

14.) Turn the dough around and roll out back into a rectangle.

15.) Fold and roll out twice more then fold again, wrap up and put in the fridge for another half hour. (I put it on the fridge on a baking tray to make it easier). After about 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

16.) Once more, roll out the pastry and divide into 8 pieces.

17.) Spoon over about 4 tbsp filling (it should be room-temperature by now otherwise it will ruin the pastry)

18.) Fold the two sides over the filling and crimp them together.

19.) Separate the egg yolk into a bowl and mix with a tbsp milk. (I didn’t add the milk and the egg yolk is showing up on the whole-wheat pastry)

20.) Line a baking tray with baking paper

21.) Put the pasties on the tray and brush with the egg wash.

22.) Bake for 40 minutes.

Vegetarian Neeps and Tatties

It will be Burns night soon – a night marked to celebrate the acclaimed Scottish poet, Robert Burns (who wrote a poem about haggis). Although I can claim no link to Scottish ancestry, the shops have started selling the delicious vegetarian haggis and I’ve been making a point of buying some the last couple of years. True haggis is made of sheep’s offal mixed with oats and some spices and is difficult to eat alone as it is so rich. Vegetarian haggis replaces the offal with beans and has a lovely mellow-spiced flavour. Haggis is traditionally served with swede (neeps) and tatties (potatoes).

I chose to serve this with a whisky sauce that I found on Delia Smith’s website. Not being a seasoned whisky drinker, I wasn’t quite sure of which one to choose. A few years ago, we visited Edinburgh and visited a local restaurant that had a whisky list for tourists so I consulted this and chose the Dalwhinnie. In the purposes of research, (which obviously doesn’t count against my dry January) I had a wee dram of this whisky and recommend it as a nice starter-whisky for beginners.

Serves 4


  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 swede
  • rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • 1 vegetarian haggis (I used Simon Lowe)
  • 25g butter
  • 300g onions
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 100ml whisky
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (you can get a vegetarian version of this otherwise there’s tons of substitutions e.g. soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp English mustard
  • 350ml vegetable stock


1.) Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes. Put into a pan of cold water – don’t put onto boil yet! Using cold water stops the potatoes from browning.

2.) Turn the oven on to 200 degrees C and line a roasting tin.

3.) Peel the swede and chop into cubes. Put in the roasting tray and drizzle over oil. Chop up the rosemary and sprinkle over. Put them into the oven and roast for around 40 minutes or until soft.

4.) Peel and chop the onions. Melt the butter in pan on a low heat and add the onions. Cook them on a low heat until caramelised (this should take about 40 minutes). If you make this onion soup the day before, you could just skim off a few of the onions.

5.) In the meanwhile, put the kettle on to boil, wrap the haggis in foil and put on to boil. The water level should be above the haggis. It takes around 45 minutes.

6.) After about 15 minutes, turn the pan on with the potatoes.

7.) Once the onions are caramelised, add the flour and 75ml of the whisky.

8.) Whilst cooking, make up the stock with 1 cube of veggie stock. Pour this in and stir in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

9.) Simmer for 20 minutes.

10.) Once the potatoes are done, drain and purée them and plate them up.

11.) Put the swedes in the potato pan and purée them too and plate up.

12.) Remove the haggis from the water and the foil and set aside until it’s cooler to be able to handle it.

13.) Purée the onions in the sauce (you can see I didn’t do this but as an after thought I thought I may has well have done with the blender being out already).

14.) Add the remaining 25ml of whisky to the sauce and season. The whisky will taste very strong in the sauce but is delicious when served with the rest of the dish.

15.) Cut open the casing on the haggis and divide it between the plates.

16.) Pour over the sauce and serve.