September 23, 2015

When in Scotland, Do As the Scottish Do

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17. Make (or eat) A Traditional Local Dish

I don't know if real Scottish people eat Haggis- or if it's just something they give to poor, unexacting tourists who have no idea what that thing they are eating actually contains.

One thing I have noticed about vegan haggis however- is that it is one 'mock meat' that omnivores are often actually more willing to eat than the original 'meat' itself. And if people are more willing to eat whatever scary stuff is in processed chicken nuggets than they are to eat haggis- that kind of says something for the scary stuff in haggis. Except I think it's only as processed as it's ever been. 

I've looked at the website- and apparently vegan haggis is made from oats, pulses, veggies, seeds and spices. The exact recipe for the Macsween brand is as follows : 

Oats, Lentils, Rapeseed Oil, Kidney Beans, Onions, Carrot, Swede, Mushrooms, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Salt, Spices, Pepper.

That actually sounds like something that you could make in your own kitchen. I believe that people do make it in their own kitchen. 

I, I am afraid to say, am not one of those people that will make it in their own kitchen. I am a student. Who is terrified of haggis. Even now I've had some. I was not about to make it in my own kitchen. 

I went to the Baked Potato Shop

As soon as I saw the prompts for this years MoFo- I was excited about some of them. Note that I said some. Some - I was positively not excited about. Make a Traditional Local Dish? Seriously- has anybody ever looked at traditional Lancashire Dishes. If I say that the most vegan friendly offering is Butter Pie - which as the name suggests, is potatoes cooked in EXTRORDINATE amounts of butter, encased in soggy non-vegan pastry- does that give you an idea about just how NON VEGAN FRIENDLY local Lancashire food is? I did think about veganizing Parkin, which is a kind of oatmeal-gingerbread-cake. But I didn't get it right first time. And then we couldn't use the water for weeks.... and so no baking.... and so I didn't get any further. So for WEEKS I was panicking about this. Was it going to get to the extent that I was going to have to try veganizing Lancashire Hot Pot? And for those who don't know- that's basically meat and potatoes in meat gravy. Not much scope. Bean and potato's casserole (no matter how much the other ingredients stay the same) will just never be able to be called Vegan Lancashire Hotpot. 

Then I realized that I wouldn't be in Lancashire on the 18th. I'd be in Scotland. I have never been so happy in all my life. Edinburgh- the land that invented oatmeal. (okay- so that may or may not be true... but still..... lot's of oats.) I could made oatcakes. But then I thought.... what's different about me eating oats. I always eat oats. So why not try Scotland's other famous dish - haggis. (the vegan kind of course). 

So I literally just Googled "vegan haggis Edinburgh". And apparently I am not the only person who has Googled that. It came quite high in the suggestions. It comes up second as soon as you get to 'Vegan hag...'. So apparently I am not the only person that comes to Edinburgh and thinks "I need to try vegan haggis". Or maybe not even the only person who drags their new friend on a quest for this tiny baked potato shop with only one table that apparently has vegan haggis. I am very glad of that. And I think that my new friend is still my friend. So all's good. Even if we did get SOAKED. 

So I got to the Baked Potato Shop - which is literally a tiny shop on a side street off the Royal Mile- and it's tiny. There was barely room enough for 3 people to stand. There was one other person ordering a potato. And I guess like so many others- I went to the counter- and like an idiot asked "Hi according to Google you do a vegan haggis baked potato." He didn't kick me out for being such an idiot- just asked what size potato I wanted. 

What- they had OPTIONS when it came to potato sizes? Wow. 

So I picked the small size (cause I'd already had pasta for lunch) and me and my friend explored the tiny shop. Without actually moving all that much (well- at all because there is not where to move). 


We were both used to going to places like this and being offered one veggie option. If it's vegan- wow. That's amazing. There's this cafe back home which is vegan friendly too- but that's the only extent of me going to a shop with vegan options being marked. (that place has maybe 5 vegan options on the menu) (and it's SO FANTASTIC - I'll tell you about it sometime). This place had SO MANY. Like- 20 possible vegan fillings. And 4 vegan sides. And vegan cake. And vegan tiffin. 

They even had 3 different kinds of soy milkshake boxes in the fridge. 

I never even dreamt a place like this existed. 

Consider me and my (also veggie) friend excited. 

The shop also do filled rolls and salads- in case you don't want a potato. 

So.... word of warning. My 'small' potato was MASSIVE. I am seriously debating weather they gave me the wrong size by mistake- but at any rate- even if it was a large potato - it was MASSIVE. 

The other half is in the fridge for lunch. Because I just couldn't eat it all in one go. 

It was about £4. Which isn't cheap cheap- but as was pointed out to me- I got two meals from it- and so it is only like, £2 a meal. Which isn't that bad! And even £4 isn't that bad really. I mean- this is a capital city- and the shop was right off the Royal Mile- and it was REAL GOOD. 

The potato wasn't microwaved (or it could of been - but it had that almost burnt really crispy yummy skin that you just can't get from microwaving). It was crispy and delicious on the outside- and fluffy on the inside. 

And when they say they do the hottest potatoes in town. My oh my do they do hot potatoes. I asked for my potato to be double wrapped - because I was putting it in my bag to eat later. And I got to the next shop with my friend. Everything in my bag was sopping wet because this potato was SO HOT. And even about 2 hours later when I finally got round to eating it - it was practically boiling hot. 

So... hot potato. 

And the haggis? It was weird. It tasted kind of like a cross between veggie sausages and oatcakes. Which I guess it kind of is. After vowing not to do oats for my 'local dish' .... I kind of have in the end. Sorry. 

It was not bad. Even if I am still a bit terrified of haggis. 

And now I need to go eat aforementioned half of a haggis tattie.


  1. Woah...potato haggis? I am intrigued...

    1. Baked potato and haggis. But you can't really tell from the pictures.... It all looks the same! Kind of... blah. And brown.

  2. Potato Haggis ....... Sounds like a very interesting mix.

  3. Potato Haggis ....... Sounds like a very interesting mix.

  4. Ha! Interesting was one way to describe it!