Tomorrow we celebrate Burns Night here in Scotland and in honour of the great poet I made a vegan haggis and red lentil nut loaf with whisky cream sauce.
Robert Burns (or Rabbie Burns as we refer to him) was a Scottish poet who lived in a wee village called Alloway, just outside Ayr in Scotland from 1759 to 1796. He created many of Scotland's great poems including Auld Lang Syne.
After his death a group of his friends got together on his birthday (25 January) each year to pay tribute to him and the evening grew in popularity and it's now celebrated across the world as well as in Scotland.
On a traditional Burns Night the guests are piped in and welcomed by the Chairman who sits at the head of the table. He reads a Scots poem called the Selkirk Grace and then the bagpipes are played once more to pipe the haggis in. The guests stand while it's brought in and the Chairman reads the Address to a Haggis which starts with "Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!". When the address is finished the haggis is cut into and served to the guests, usually with neeps (turnip) and tatties (potatoes).
Children in Scottish schools have spent the last couple of months learning about Robert Burns and his poems and will recite them tomorrow as well as enjoying the traditional meal minus the whisky of course.
Atholl Arms Hotel in Dunkeld (who serve fabulous veggie and vegan meals), I decided to make a nut loaf with haggis instead of serving it plain.
They serve it as a Lentil Loaf, but it's made with veggie haggis too. I added spinach and cashew nuts to mine and served it with neeps, tatties and a vegan whisky cream sauce.
To make it vegan I used red lentils as a binder instead of egg. I cooked them in vegetable stock with thyme for extra flavour and once they were soft, I whizzed them in my power blender until smooth. It took just over a minute.
The red lentils work better as a binder if they're blended, which might be worth remembering for future recipes.
You may baulk at the thought of cleaning out a blender after whizzing lentils, but it was no problem. I have a long thin rubber spatula from OXO that's perfect for getting in between the blades. It's for jars, but is great for using in a blender.
As you can see I got most of it out. The rest cleaned up a treat. Just some boiling water from the kettle, a few drops of washing up liquid and then a quick blend and it''s clean.
If you don't have a blender, you can mash with a potato masher until smooth, it will just take a bit longer.
For the cream sauce, I mixed crushed garlic and wholegrain mustard into Alpro Soya Single Cream. Then I added a splosh or whisky and seasoned with salt and pepper. A wee whisk and it's ready to serve.
Vegan Haggis & Red Lentil Nut Loaf
A wonderful nut loaf made with veggie haggis, red lentils, spinach, cashew nuts and spices. It tastes wonderful with a vegan whisky cream sauce, but it's also good with a creamy mushroom sauce or a fresh tomato and basil sauce.
- 150g red lentils, rinsed well
- 300ml vegetable stock (2 stock cubes)
- a few sprigs fresh thyme
- 454g veggie haggis
- 100g spinach (wilt in boiling kettle water, cover in cool water, then drain & squeeze out all the liquid), chopped
- 50g porridge oats
- 1 tbsp flax seeds (optional)
- 100g salted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
- 3 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- a good grinding of salt and pepper
1. Gently cook the lentils in the vegetable stock with the thyme (run your fingers down either side of the sprigs to remove the leaves and add them to the stock) for about 20 minutes until soft.2. Heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/400f/gas mark 6.3. Remove the haggis from the wrapper and break up in a bowl with your fingers. Add the spinach, oats, chopped nuts, seeds and spices.4. Whizz up the red lentils until smooth and pour over the haggis mixture, then mix well and season with salt and pepper.5. Press the mixture into a lined (2 lb) loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden and crisp on the outside.6. Leave to cool in the pan for a little while, before carefully removing and slicing. Serve with needs and tatties.7. Enjoy!notes: If you want to re-heat the loaf, bake slices instead of the whole remaining loaf, covered in tin foil. it will cook quicker and be hot all the way through.
Yield: Makes 1 nut loaf
I created this recipe for Travelodge who are celebrating Burns Night this year. You can follow the conversation with #travelodgeFoodies
Here are a few more Scottish recipes for you to try:
Parsnip, Carrot & Lentil Soup
Scottish Tattie Scones
Veggie Haggis & Tattie Pasties
Spicy Tattie Puffs
Mushroom Tattie and Neep Pie
Beer Battered Haggis Bites
Rhubarb & Berry Crumble
Chocolate & Banana Flapjacks
Scottish Raspberry Jam
Fresh Ginger Hot Toddy
Happy Burns Night!