200ml slightly reduced lamb or beef stock (alternatively a decent proper gravy)
150g carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
150g swede, peeled, roughly chopped
150g potato, peeled, roughly chopped
Maldon salt, freshly ground black pepper
Unwrap the haggis from its casing. Place a large saucepan on the hob, moderate heat, put the stock in the pan. Crumble the haggis into the pan with the stock. Over a gentle heat allow the haggis to completely crumble into the stock, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, cook the carrot, potato and swede in a pan of salter boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes – don’t overcook the vegetables. Drain through a colander, return to the pan and really dry out the roots, do this over a very low heat, continually stirring with a wooden spoon, take care not to let the roots colour on the bottom of the pan. Do this for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain off any further water and mash with a potato masher in the pan. Don’t blitz in a processor – you want an unhomogenised texture. Season, mash and melt in the butter.
Spoon the haggis mixture into a large Pyrex style dish. Think Shepherd’s Pie. Alternatively, into separate ramekins. Spoon the mashed vegetables on top, spread evenly with a fork. Place oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the topping starts to burn.
Serve with a wee dram of Islay Malt Whiskey.
Ham hock terrine
2 ham hocks
1 onion, peeled
1 leek, washed, left whole
1 carrot, peeled
1 celery stick, washed, left whole
1 spring of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 black peppercorns
Wash the ham hock well under running cold water for a good hour. Alternatively soak the hock in a bucket of cold water for 24 hours, changing the water 4-5 times.
Find a suitably sized pan to accommodate the ham hock and vegetables, herbs and peppers. Cover with cold water and bring it to boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5-6 hours until the meat falls off the bone. During the cooking process skim off scum that floats to the top.
Once cooked, remove the ham hocks, strain the cooking liqueur and discard the vegetables. Return the liqueur to the pan and reduce by half.
When a ham hock is cool enough to handle remove the outer rind and fat. Carefully flake the meat from the bone, discard any fat so you are left with lean strands of ham. Put the shredded ham hock in the bowl, add the chopped shallots, parsley and pepper. Add a couple of tablespoons of the reduced stock – which is very gelatinous and will help stick and bind the ham together.
At this stage you could load the ham hock into the terrine, pour a little of the reduced gelatinous stock over, weigh the terrine down & set it in the fridge. Alternatively fill little ramekins, pour over a little stock and let them set. But we like to roll the mixture into the sausage, with a surprise piccalilli centre.
Place a sheet of cling film on the work surface, make a rectangle of the flaked ham hock on the film about 12 cm x 8 cm and 1.5 cm thick. Spoon a line of piccalilli down the centre. Using the cling film to help, carefully wrap the ham around the piccalilli, when you’ve achieved a sausage shape, wrap it very tightly in cling film (think ‘sweet wrapper’ style twists at each end of the sausage). Refrigerate for 12 hours to set.
4oz shredded suet<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
2oz self-raising flour, sifted
4oz white breadcrumbs
1 level tsp ground mixed spices
¼ level tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Good pinch ground cinnamon
8oz soft dark brown sugar
1oz mixed candied peel, finely chopped (buy whole peel if possible and chop it yourself)
1oz almonds, skinned and chopped
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
Grated zest ½ large orange
Grate zest ½ large lemon
2½fl oz Guinness
2 large eggs
You will also need a 2 pint pudding basin, lightly greased.
Begin the day before you want to steam the pudding. Take your largest mixing bowl and put in the suet, flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar. Mix these ingredients very thoroughly together. Gradually mix in all the dried fruit, mixed peel and nuts, followed by the apple and grated orange and lemon zests.
Now, in a smaller basin, measure out the rum and Guinness, then add the eggs and beat these thoroughly together. Next pour this over all the other ingredients and begin to mix very thoroughly.
This is the point at which to make those wishes!
The mixture should have a fairly sloppy consistency (it should fall instantly from the spoon when tapped on the side of the bowl). If you think it needs more liquid add a touch more Guinness.
Cover the bowl and leave overnight.
Next day pack the mixture into the lightly greased basin, cover it with a double sheet of silicone paper (baking parchment) and a sheet of foil and tie it securely with string (you really need to borrow someone’s finger for this!). It’s also a good idea to tie a piece of string across the top to make a handle. Place the pudding in a streamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 8 hours.
Make sure you keep a regular eye on the water underneath and top it up with boiling water from time to time.
When the pudding is steamed let it get quite cold, then remove the seam papers and foil and replace them with some fresh ones, again making a handle for easier manoeuvring. Now your pudding is ready for Christmas day. Keep it in a cool place away from the light.
To cook: Fill a saucepan quite full with boiling water place a steamer on top of the pan and turn it down to a gentle simmer. Put the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover and leave to steam away for 2¼ hours – you’ll need to check the water from time to time and maybe top it up.
To serve: Remove the pudding from the steamer and take off the wrapping. Slide a palette knife all around the pudding then turn it out on to a warmed plate. Place a suitably size sprig of holly on top.
Now warm a ladleful of brandy over direct heat, and as soon as the brandy is hot ask someone to set light to it. Place the ladle, now gently flaming, on top of the pudding. When at the table, pour the brandy slowly over the pudding, sides and all, and watch it flame as the assembled party cheer!
When the flames have died down, serve the pudding with rum sauce or brandy butter.
If you want to make individual Christmas puddings for gifts, this quantity makes eight 6oz small metal pudding basins. Steam for 3 hours; then re-steam for 1 hour. They look great wrapped in silicone paper and muslin and tied with an attractive bow and tag.
To make this recipe gluten free: replace the suet with either gluten free or vegetarian suet. Use gluten free white flour and breadcrumbs made from gluten free bread, and replace the Guinness with the same amount of sherry.
NOTE: if you’re using gluten free flour you will need to add 3 pinches of baking powder to the 2oz of gluten free white flour.