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I have to admit something. I detest smoked salmon, in the traditional sense. The texture. How it feels when I hold it. It’s just not for me. So here I am talking about smoked salmon from Inverawe Smokehouses. Alarms bells ringing yet? Not quite. 

Situated in Argyll, on the West Coast of Scotland, Inverawe Smokehouses is a family run business since 1974 who prefer the traditional slow smoking method. This time-honoured method allows the fish to gently take up the gorgeous smoky aroma in its own unhurried time, giving the most delicious full-bodied oak-smoked flavour that is distinctively Inverawe. Committed to reducing its environment impact and sustainable production, the farms are located in areas with strong tidal flows in either the coastal waters off Argyll or the Shetland Isles.

Whilst I may not be a complete lover of the Scottish delicacy, every one around me adores it. Whether it be mixed within scrambled eggs, on sushi or in a salad, my family and boyfriend lap it up. It is a staple in my house during the holiday season and I predict, most throughout the UK!

The strange thing is, while I run as far away from traditional smoked salmon as possible, I adore smoked salmon pâté. My love for it started when my great aunt’s Swiss-Italian husband Joseph used to pop over from Geneva and whipped some up for us all to eat at family gatherings on toast. It was delicious and I’ve yet to taste anything like it since.

I was sent a parcel of Inverawe Classic Smoked Salmon, along with Trout P̢t̩ & a Mini Triple Salmon TerrineРsmoked salmon, roast smoked salmon flakes and smoked salmon mousse to sample and from that, create a recipe.

The first time I ever tried haggis was a couple of years ago with my mother. I decided to try a little bit and surprisingly, I liked it. I, along with a good number of people get a little queasy when thinking about what exactly goes into haggis (as well as black pudding!). Sadly, haggis isn’t a furry little animal running around the Scottish hills but is in fact traditionally sheep’s stomach stuffed with diced sheep’s liver, lungs and heart, oatmeal, onion, suet and seasoning. Sounds pretty… right? Exactly. And that is why, according to Sykes Cottages, almost two thirds of people would never normally order haggis in a restaurant. The thought of all the ingredients mashed together may put you off as it did myself, but it does in fact taste lovely. Haggis is rather spicy with a crumbly texture.

Sykes Cottages want to help change people’s perceptions of haggis and have launched the Inaugural Sykes Cottages Haggis Championships to help convert people. They asked me to take part in the competition to come up with a recipe to tempt first timers into trying the delightful but intimidating Scottish dish. After racking my brains out trying to come up with a perfect ‘Introduction to Haggis’ dish, I settled for two. Both are perfect for first timers and if you are feeling a little scared, these are perfect. One is aimed more as a starter and the second is a main course which can be served on its own or with a red meat like lamb or venison. 

Haggis Bon Bons with Homemade Chilli & Garlic Jam

For the Bon Bons:

  • 500g MacSween Haggis
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper (I chose a mix of pink and black)
  • 1 cup of Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Handful of Rocket Leaves

For the Jam:

  • 500g Chopped Tomatoes (you can use fresh ripe ones or a can of chopped tinned)
  • 5 Red Chillies, you can either deseed these if you want a weaker jam or keep the seeds for extra spice
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch of Ginger, roughly chopped
  • 100g of Caster Sugar
  • 25ml of Balsamic Vinegar (or Red Wine Vinegar)
Method:

For the Jam:

  1. Place the tomatoes, garlic, chillies and ginger into a food processor and blend until it reaches a purée consistency
  2. Pour the purée into a sauce pan with sugar and vinegar and mix well.
  3. Bring to the boil while slowly stirring. Once it has reached boiling point, reduce the heat on the pan and simmer for approximately 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  4. Spoon the jam into a bowl (or a jar) and set aside to cool.

For the Bon Bons:

  1. Heat oil in a deep fat fryer to 190 degrees.
  2. Slice the Haggis into equal slices and then half each slice.
  3. Roll each half slice into a ball and dip into the flour then egg then breadcrumbs. The trick is to keep one hand for the wet mixture and the other for the dry. Otherwise your hands turn into a huge gloopy mess!
  4. Repeat until all the haggis has been rolled into the breadcrumbs then pop them into the fridge to firm up for 15-20 minutes
  5. In small batches, drop them into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.
  6. Serve three or four bon bons on a plate with a teaspoon of jam under each bon bon and some rocket salad for good measure.

Haggis Won Tons with Red Wine & Wholegrain Mustard Sauce

For the Won Tons:

  • 500g MacSween Haggis
  • 2 Egg Yolks, mixed to form an egg wash
  • Won Ton Wrappers (from any Chinese supermarket, I go to Mr Lim’s on Cambridge Street in Glasgow)

For the Red Wine & Mustard Sauce:

  • Small tub of Crème Fraîche
  • 1 tbsp of Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
  • 4 Button Mushrooms, chopped
  • 35ml Red Wine
Method:

For the Won Tons:

  1. Place a teaspoonful of Haggis in the middle of each won ton wrapper and gently glaze around the border with your egg wash
  2. To wrap the Won Tons, bring one end of the wrapper into the middle and with your other hand, pinch the rest of the wrapped into the middle until it’s all neatly together in a concertina-esq fashion. There is no wrong or right to this, you can really wrap them how ever you feel.
  3. Place the Won Tons into boiling seasoned water for four minutes until cooked. Once cooked, place onto a plate so they do not continue to cook in the water. If you don’t, they can go soggy and you don’t want that!

For the Red Wine & Mustard Sauce:

  1. Fry the chopped mushrooms in a pan with a little butter. Once browned, add both mustards.
  2. Add a tablespoon of crème fraîche and a little red wine, ensuring the mushroom and mustards have been incorporated. 
  3. Add more crème fraîche and red wine in batches until you reach a slightly runny consistency. You don’t want the sauce to be too thick or too runny. You do not need to use all of the crème fraîche, it really just depends on your individual taste or how many you’re making. 
  4. Once made, drizzle over the Won Tons.

Are you converted yet? Have you ever tried haggis? If you have tried haggis, what’s your favourite way to eat it?

I’m not a big salad fan. I’m pretty sure you can tell that when you look at me. I’m all about the carbs, for my sins! However, there are two salads in the world that I cannot get enough of… Chicken Caesar Salad and Rocket, Parmesan & Balsamic Glaze Salad. Both very simple & very very addictive. The common element? Parmesan Cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano if you want to be technical!). Damn that cheese!

I woke up on Saturday craving 3 things; Bruschetta, Rocket, Parmesan & Balsamic Glaze Salad and a good home made burger. So… I made the lot (more recipe blogs to come!). Since then, I’ve ate this salad every single day. Sometimes twice a day. I’m currently at the Obsessive Craving stage that hasn’t arisen since the two week long Chicken Caesar Salad Obsession a few years back.

Yes, I’m weird like that!

& now… I am going to covert you all to the amazingness of this simple simple salad

Ingredients
A heap of Rocket Leaves (more the merrier!)
As much Parmesan Shavings (as you like, lots I say!)
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar (no need to buy a crazy expensive brand!)
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Method
Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Brown Sugar, and Soy Sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

While glaze is cooling, grab your rocket and arrange on a plate, sprinkle over your parmesan and once cooled, drizzle over the Balsamic Glaze.

& eat…nom!

Note: If you are at the height of laziness… you can buy Balsamic Glaze out the bottle from any good supermarket but it’s always better to make it yourself!

It was my lunch today & yummy…. so here is the recipe for you all to make it too 😉


INGREDIENTS:

2 pitta bread (or khubbiz)
1 bag pre-packed lettuce selection
8 radishes, sliced
8 spring onions, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1-2 large brine cured pickles
3 tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped mint
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons ground sumac

METHOD:
Chop all the vegetables according to the above specifications and place in a large salad bowl. Crush the garlic and chop it. In a separate small bowl mash the garlic with the salt using the back of a spoon. Stir in the lemon juice and oil, beating with a fork to mix well. Pour the dressing over the salad. Grind the black pepper over the top of the salad.

Split each of the pitta’s in half horizontally so that you have 4 thin rounds of bread. Toast the breads lightly under the grill until they are golden and crisp. Break them into small pieces and crumble them on top of the salad. Mix thoroughly. Top with the sumac.