Saturday, January 21, 2012

Veggie Haggis for Rabbie Burns day!

Time to dig out my kilted skirt and haggis recipe in preparation for one of the many Burn's night celebrations around the Bay of Fundy. As you may have figured out by now, I'm pretty much a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish) so the prospect of partaking in the "chieftan o' the puddin' race" at our annual event is challenging. Luckily, the Vegetarian Society of Scotland offers this fine organ-free alternative:

Vegetarian Haggis Recipe

  • 100g/4oz onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 15ml/1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 50g/2oz carrots, very finely
  • chopped
  • 35g/11/2 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz red lentils
  • 600ml/1pint vegetable stock
  • 25g/1oz mashed, tinned red kidney beans
  • 35g/11/2 oz ground peanuts
  • 25g/1oz ground hazelnuts
  • 30ml/2tbsp shoyu ( soy sauce)
  • 15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
  • 7.5ml/11/2tsp dried thyme
  • 5ml/1tsp dried rosemary
  • generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • 7.5ml/11/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 200g/8oz fine oatmeal
  • Freshly ground black pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C, 375°F or Gas Mark 5

2. Sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, then add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.

3. Now add the lentils and three quarters of the stock.

4. Blend the mashed red kidney beans in the remaining stock, add these to the pan with the nuts, shoyu, lemon juice and seasonings.
Cook everything, well mixed together, for a further 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Then add the oatmeal, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, adding a little extra liquid if necessary.

6. Turn the mixture into a lightly oiled 1lb loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes.

7. Serve with mashed neeps and tatties.

If you plan to celebrate this Scottish poet's birthday on January 25 but don't feel up to making haggis from scratch you can always order it canned (both original & veg) from MacSween's in the U.K. For last year's musings on Burn's Night, see my post Time and Tide.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oat Cakes & Ice Cakes

Ice cakes in the harbour make me think of oat cakes in the cupboard, so I thought this was the perfect time to share my grandmother's secret Scottish Oat Cake recipe from the 'old country'. If you live down here by the Bay you'll automatically know that oat cakes are not actually 'cakes' but rather a type of cookie.

Scottish Oat Cakes

3 c. unbleached white flour or whole wheat flour
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 c. cold butter
about 3/4 c. cold water

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter to fine crumbs. Add enough water to moisten. Roll to the depth of a woolen blanket. Cut in traditional diamond shapes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes. Longer time = crisper cookie. Enjoy a chunk of cheddar cheese with this heritage recipe. Makes lots so share some with a friend!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Strange weather phenoms in Fundy Bay

If you're a weather watcher you'd probably get a kick out of living on the Bay of Fundy. If you're not a weather watcher, you'd probably become a keen one if you did live here. The daily sloshing of 100 billion tonnes of seawater as well as our topography and edge-of-the-ocean perch here on the east coast of Canada makes for some quirky climatological effects.

Take this roll cloud, for example, captured by Nova Scotia Webcams in the pretty hamlet of Halls Harbour. Roll clouds are low, horizontal, tube-shaped and somewhat rare clouds. They often appear to be rolling about a horizontal access and are not attached to any other cloud formations. Sea breezes combined with humidity often near peninsulas to create this effect. Quite intriguing to see and no, they're not a sign of impending disaster or space aliens...beam me up!