Thursday, 20 September 2012

MacSween Vegetarian Haggis - a review

I contacted various companies a while back when I had been looking for a sponsor to allow me to attend the inaugural food bloggers conference on September 1st. One of the companies I contacted was MacSweens, now while they were not able to help me out at the time they have come back and offered me one of  their products to taste - a vegetarian haggis.

Macsween of Edinburgh, a third generation family company, who has been at the forefront of haggis and black pudding production for almost 60 years, has responded to customer concerns by removing the nut content of their vegetarian haggis whilst maintaining the well-loved taste and texture of the award winning product using sunflower & pumpkin seeds, along with fresh vegetables, beans and locally milled oats.
This new recipe, which will be in shops by the end of September, was (blind) tested by employees of the Vegetarian Society who commented that the haggis was ‘nuttier’ despite the change.
Jo Macsween, Director of the company commented
“Our vegetarian haggis has been around for almost 30 years and is enjoyed by veggies, vegans and carnivores alike. Removing the nuts has opened up the enjoyment of this product to those concerned about nut allergies, which, of course, we are delighted about. We ran lots of tasting sessions, gained feedback from customers and tried out different recipe variations to ensure that we were still producing the same, great tasting product, that our fans enjoy.”
Macsween vegetarian haggis, which is suitable for vegans and approved by the Vegetarian Society UK, was the first commercial vegetarian haggis to be produced. It was created in 1984 by John Macsween to celebrate the opening of the Scottish Poetry Library and now accounts for 20% of all sales.

Now I dont eat "proper" haggis as my husband would call it,too spicy for my liking,  but was quite happy to give this a go, so as my husband is the haggis connoisseur he has written the review.

As you probably are aware my OH, Elaine, on occasion on this blog has had the pleasure of sampling and reviewing a fair number of products including foodstuffs from various manufactures.Over the years we have tested all sorts of strange (in my opinion) foods and ingredients, we have had eggless egg, milkless milk, flourless flour, and I think at one point even chocolateless chocolate. However the strangest thing to date, again in my opinion and one that brought thoughts of sacrilege and revolution to my mind was Vegetarian Haggis!

Now as a Scotsman who in my time has eaten more Haggis than was probably good for me over more years than I care to remember I almost fell into a state of shock.
As an Ayrshire man born and bred and living just a few minutes from the Bards birthplace I had visions of Rabbie turning in his grave.

However in the interests of fairness and the fact it needed to be reviewed I decided to give it a try so to keep things traditional and again in fairness to the product it was decided to have it with Neeps and Tatties (turnip and potatoes)

It was cooked in the microwave for the recommended time of 8 minutes and upon emergencing it certainly looked and smelled like a traditional Haggis, the colour was spot on and the texture was fine when it was forked on to the plate, however the big test was yet to be undertaken, the taste!

It was with a certain trepidation that the first forkful was slowly lifted towards a mouth that was not to say the least expecting a culinary delight. How wrong could I have been!
Everything about this Haggis was absolutely perfect, the taste the texture and the smell, I can honestly say I would not have known the difference had I not been told it was a Vegetarian dish.

served with tatties, turnip and sweet potatoes

I can highly recommend this product to anyone who has never tried Haggis perhaps because of what it is traditionally made with to give it a go, they will not be disappointed.
On a personal note however on the 25th of January (Burns Night) I will solely for traditional reasons be having my Haggis with meat in it but at any other time of year I would be more than happy to have this served up on my plate.

 Believe me coming from him that is praise indeed. I thought it reminded me very much of white pudding, which I love but never buy. 

With the second haggis we were sent I decided to make for want of a better expression a haggis quiche.

Rolled out 1/2 pack short crust pastry.
placed cooked and sliced potato, turnip and sweet potato in a layer round the pastry.
top with some cooked peas.
Open the haggis and break down with a fork, then scatter haggis on top of vegetables.
Mix 2 eggs with 4 oz milk and season to taste. Pour over the haggis and vegetables. 
Cook at 180oC for approx 15 mins until pastry cooked and egg mix set.

vegetarian  haggis quiche

Serve hot or cold as preferred.

I would buy this again and thoroughly enjoyed it.

We were sent 2 haggi (haggises?)to try out but the recipe ideas and thoughts are our own.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more - very pleasant surprise to a lover of the "real thing". Also mistook the seeds for nuts until I read the ingredient list. BTW the Simon Howie version is also pretty good.


Nice to see you stopping by. Thank you for your comment and I hope you stop by again.