Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Tag: food

RECIPE: Haggis Cannelloni

Two weeks ago on the 25th of January it was a very special day; not only was it Burns‘ night, but it was also the birthday of my darling betrothed. With the confluence of these two great annual events came the opportunity to showcase my dazzling culinary skills and create a delicious birthday meal for Kynon. Both of us love Haggis (I stick with the vegetarian option of course), so I decided to make a Haggis based dish with an unusual twist and decided to make Haggis Cannelloni.

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My Mum first made this dish for me years ago, and inspired by it I have since experimented with haggis as a mince substitute on a couple of occasions, creating haggis lasagne and haggis tacos. It’s really quite a simple recipe but it just takes a little time to prepare the various components before assembling the dish for baking. It can be incredibly healthy as well (depending on how much cheese you put on the top), and can be made vegan by exchanging the ricotta for a vegan soft-cheese substitute.

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Vegetarian Haggis is made with lentils, grains and beans so is a great protein-packed food for vegetarian athletes. Lots of spinach also adds a nutritional punch as well.
This recipe will give you 4 hearty servings, or you could stretch it a bit further if you’re serving with accompaniments such as bread and and salad.

Haggis Cannelloni by Rhona Mitchell

Prep time: 20 mins, bake time: 40 mins

Ingredients
250g vegetarian haggis
Box of dry cannelloni
150g fresh baby spinach
40g fresh basil (chopped finely)
150g mushrooms (chopped finely)
2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped finely)
125g ricotta cheese
Large jar of tomato pasta sauce (I used 660g Lloyd Grossman Tomato and Basil)
Bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1tsp olive oil

Method
1. Set your over to pre-heat to 200C. Cook your haggis as per the packet instructions and set aside in a bowl to cool.

20130125_1752512. Finely chop basil, garlic and mushrooms

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3. Heat the oil in a large wok and saute the garlic, mushrooms, basil and spinach until the spinach is completely wilted.

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4. Add the sauteed vegetables and ricotta cheese to your bowl of haggis and mix thoroughly.

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5. Blanch cannelloni in salted water and set aside out of the water to cool.

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6. Fill the cannelloni with haggis mixture using a blunt knife – push the mixture to the middle first of all then stuff each end til they are full.

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7. Place filled cannelloni in a greased baking dish. Fill as many as you like – just make sure you have enough tomato sauce to cover them! I did two layers.

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8. Cover the cannelloni in sauce, making sure no pasta edges are peeking out.

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9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, then add your shredded mozzarella and cook until brown and bubbly – probably about another 15 minutes.

Leave to cool for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven, then serve and enjoy with lots of wine and bread!

Technical Problems

Hi Friends! Unfortunately here at Red Wine Towers our broadband has broken and my plans of posting my Texas update have been thwarted for now.
I can still do a brief update on my phone however so I thought I’d update you all on some of the exciting food I got to eat whilst back Stateside!
One of the problems of being an avid blogger based in the UK is that so many of the produce and products talked about in US healthy living blogs are simply not available over here, and ESPECIALLY not up in Aberdeen which is relatively isolated from the rest of the United Kingdom, both physically and culturally. Veganism? Nigh on unheard of. Almond butter? Nope. Coconut water? Kombucha? Pitta chips? No, nada and nyet.
So naturally I was very excited to try all of these things and more and see if the buzz around the blogosphere about these foods was anything worth writing home about. On my first day in Austin my friend Celeste took me to the Texas grocery chain H.E.B so I could buy some supplies for my visit. I used to love visiting H.E.B when I lived in Austin – the huge amounts of fresh produce available is truly Texas sized and the choice is mind blowing. Wandering around the Whole Foods section I was able to find several different types of nut butters… Jen at Peanut Butter Runner recommended I try Sunflower Butter – I liked this; it was very smooth and creamy and tastes exactly like sunflower seeds. I love cashew nuts so naturally I grabbed some cashew butter – it’s quite sickly but still tasty, i want to try it on some kind of Sourdough bread. Finally I bought some jars of the legendary Almond butter; loved, seemingly, by anyone with a healthy living blog! I bought a big jar of plain Maranatha, a jar of dark chocolate Maranatha and two sachets of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. I had no idea what it might taste like – since it’s made of almonds I thought it would maybe have a marzipan flavour. I was surprised at how runny it was – i had it with a banana and it has a very hard to describe taste…it’s thick and claggy in the mouth with a pasty texture. To be fair I was expecting something lifechanging but it was…moderately tasty. The chocolate one is phenomenal however – it tastes like cake icing! I haven’t yet tried the Justin’s but I’m going to put it on a bagel. VERDICT: NUT BUTTERS = worth the hype. I near exceeded my baggage allowance on my way home ūüôā

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Next up – Coconut water. This has been hailed as a miracle fluid that hydrates the body quicker than water. The fit blog community love it – It’s essentially the water you find inside a coconut, flavoured, and put in a single serve carton. I bought two – natural flavour and tropical flavour, and tried them both first thing in the morning when I was dehydrated. I really didn’t like it actually – it was slightly thicker than water and the thick clear texture made me retch somewhat. There wasn’t much flavour going on and I didn’t find it refreshing in the slightest. VERDICT: COCONUT WATER = BOKE.
Thirdly – Kombucha. I’ve been seeing a lot of blogs talking about kombucha recently. It’s a fermented tea made with live cultures which are kept in it and retained in the bottle. You can get many different flavours and there seemed to be a lot of Austin companies making and selling it locally. Due to the live cultures in the drink it helps digestion and maintaining a healthy balance in the body…I think. I need to read up on it online. I found it wonderfully refreshing and flavoursome – it wasn’t cheap ($3.50ish a bottle) but if it was available over here I’d definitely be drinking it. VERDICT: KOMBUCHA = WINNER!
Pitta Chips. Now I looooove pitta bread; i’ll eat it at any time of day and I can’t think of a better snack or accompaniment to a meal than a steaming hot pitta and creamy cold hummous. I was excited to see Pitta Chips so I bought a huge sack of them – just as well as they were SO. YUMMY. They’re rectangular and about 3/4 of an inch by an inch, and very thick and crunchy. They were wholemeal and had a wonderful crisp grainy, earthy texture – not greasy at all. I ate them dipped in hummous or salsa…very, very tasty. I’m going to try and make these myself… VERDICT: PITTA CHIPS = HELL YEAH!

Other food notes…let’s be honest, Texas and the South is notorious for it’s food, and you either love it or you hate it. Me? I am in love with Texmex – cheese, chillies and corn chips – what’s not to like?!
– Blue corn chips…not as wild tasting as you’d think. Kinda boring actually.
– Jalape√Īo flavour crisps are still the most amazing thing ever.
– Lemon Pepper – what a great condiment!
– Frito Pie – a Texas speciality; a pie made of Frito crisps, salsa, guac, queso and chili. What the hell?!
– Fried pickles! – after Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point ate some recently and waxed lyrical about their greatness, I knew I had to try them when I saw them on special at a fried food cart. They were coated in a salty batter made with sesame seeds and coconut. AMAZING – but a bit salty. I took some pictures which will appear when the broadband is back.
– Michelada del Sur – an amazing Mexican beer drink. 1/3 tomato juice, hot sauce and lime juice topped up with Dos Equis Mexican beer, served over Ice with lime. Sooo refreshing – I tried to recreate this with Asda tomato juice and Tennants’ lager recently and it failed miserably ūüôĀ
– Migas – My old friend Angharad over at Eating for England recently did a post on Migas after she revisited Austin last year (to get married! To the man she met whilst we were both studying in Austin! She now lives in Minnesota and has an ace food – go check it out!). Migas are a Texmex breakfast food – eggs scrambled with cheese, tortilla chips, onions, peppers and whatever else is lying around around in the fridge and served with the usual trimmings. I had mine at Trudy’s – with a legendary Mexican Martini whilst catching up with an old friend. Sheer Austin bliss.

I think this has to be it now; my fingers are exhausted from typing on my phone but I really wanted to share some of my amazing food experiences with you all!

Vegan Power Fuel

After a brief hiatus, I’m back! ¬†This time of the year at work is incredibly, incredibly busy for me and in between long days and long sessions at the gym I’ve not found the time to blog (for shame!). I’ve been formulating a couple of posts in my head which will go up in the next couple of days, but for tonight I’ve got an awesome recipe which I’d love to share with you!

Now, first thing’s first: I’m no food blogger. I read the beautifully crafted posts by the ladies behind my favourite healthy living blogs such as Emily at the Daily Garnish, Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point, Meghann at Meals And Miles and my friend Angharad over at Eating for England, and I wonder how on earth they can put together and blog about such aesthetically¬†appealing¬†dishes, whilst keep their kitchens so neat and maintaining their sanity and inspiration! Mad props to them and everyone else on my blogroll who writes about food as creating this one post has ¬†taken over my entire evening. Anyway; the long and short of it is – my kitchen’s a tip, my presentation is nothing special and the photos are a bit dodge; but the recipe’s a cracker so give it a shot!

So – what are we making tonight? Well it’s a recipe from my tried-and-tested, failsafe post-workout refuel menu. I go to the gym/fitness classes/for a run straight after work and usually end up back home around 7.30pm; close to 12 hours after I leave the house in the morning. When I get in I am always starving, but since it’s late in the evening for eating on a week night (I usually hit the hay around 10pm) I like to eat a fast,¬†nutritious¬†meal that’s going to refuel my aching muscles but doesn’t consist of anything too heavy. I’m talking about grains, pulses, nuts, steamed vegetables, tofu, faux-meat products etc etc – usually all in a bowl. I like eating out of a bowl, I find it oddly comforting.

I don’t have a name for this creation, but I announced it on Facebook last night as ‘Amazing Vegan Power Dinner’ much to the amusement of my¬†carnivorous friends¬†who stated the name itself was a contradiction in terms. Vegan? Power dinner? In the same sentence? Well have a read of this and the nutritional information at the bottom and maybe I’ll prove you wrong!

First here’s me in the kitchen after a typical sweat-fest in the gym, repping my Alma Mater on my t-shirt. The first thing I do is get my drink on – I absolutely love chilled sparkling flavoured water after the gym – 0 calories, none of the chemicals of fizzy drinks and very cheap!

First can I suggest you put some tunes on while you gather your ingredients? I recommend Planet Rock if you have a DAB.

This is what you need to get (right to left):

  • 200g firm tofu (Cauldron is good – I use half a pack)
  • Olive oil (2tbsp)
  • Soy Sauce (2tbsp)
  • Oyster mushrooms (half a box)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Broccoli
  • Black Beans (1/2 a can)
  • 1/2 an onion
  • Bag of baby spinach
  • Minced garlic (1tsp) Or use fresh stuff if you’re so inclined and have the time.
  • Minced ginger (1tsp) As above.
  • Large red chilli
  • BBQ sauce/marinade (a good squirt – I like Maxchup brand, found in Chinese/Thai supermarkets)
  • Tikka masala powder.
  • Chopped walnuts (missing from picture! Oops)

Whilst rocking out to some ageing rock music, the first thing you need to do is press your tofu. I learned this from the blogging world – I could never work out why my tofu fell to bits when I cooked it!

Grab your whole lump of drained tofu and a clean, dry glass cloth.

Wrap that little bad boy up like a parcel and find yourself a heavy tome. I find that the Littlewoods catalogue works wonders. Also, my cocktail bible which is suffering from a lack of use recently due to No-Booze-January. (I’m doing well by the way – 18 days! But more on that later)

Balance your books on top of the tofu and leave it whilst you continue to rock out and prepare your feast.

Next – get your olive oil in the wok on the hob at a very high temperature. You’ll know when the oil is really hot and ready when it’s smoking. Also – chop up your onion nice and small. Next? The chilli.

Now – I’m really not interested in any noise about missing the chilli out as you don’t like hot food, or you’re scared of chillis or any of that rubbish. Look at this beautiful thing; vivacious, red and ripe, and ready to give your dish a wonderful kick. Relax – it’s not going to kill you. The hotness calms the longer you cook its flesh so stick it in at the start if you’re a wuss – or just sear it in the pan at the end if you’re real hot head like me.

Chop it like so Рtake the top and tails off and cut neatly down one side. Open it up like a book and give it a good smell; pause a second and respect the chilli Рhave you ever seen a more beautiful shade of red? Now with a sharp knife gently remove the white flesh and the seeds from inside.

Then slice as you wish – I prefer thin semi-circular slices but whatever. Now – go and wash your hands! I’m serious! Go and do it, now. You can do so much danger to yourself and others with chilli residue on your hands – I got some stuck down the back of my nail last night and it felt like someone had stuck a needle down there all today

Next: the Oyster mushrooms. I prefer these to ordinary mushrooms for stirfries as they have such a lovely velvety texture and add a slightly nutty taste to any dish.

You can just tear the big ones apart and leave the small/medium sized mushrooms as they are. Avoid cutting these up in any dish as you’ll loose their special flavour when you cook them.

Your final vegetable is broccoli – my reigning favourite! Use as much or as little as you like – we’re going to give this a quick steam in the microwave to loosen it up first. I used about half a head of broccoli, but then how big is the head? How long is a piece of string.

So there’s your vegetables prep’d. To steam your broccoli you don’t need anything fancy – I just use an old take away carton with a splash of water, and then cover the top with the lid loosely. Easy.

I steam it for 1min in a 1000W microwave, so adjust accordingly for your machine. Whilst that’s on the go you can fix your tofu. Unwrap it and it should look a bit like this:

Cube it, and then scatter your Tikka Masala curry powder over the top.

Give it a good (gentle) rub with your hands to make sure every surface is covered.

I love this spice mix – it’s such a great time saver and gives a great light curry flavour to many things I cook. I’m a real spice fiend, and as mentioned above; a total hot head. ¬†I mean; have you seen my spice rack¬†shelf?

I’m a firm believer in avoiding packet sauces for oriental meals – they are always full of sugar/salt and MSG. I really enjoy creating my own spice blends and finding unusual hot sauces in pokey little international supermarkets. See that bottle of Sriracha on the right with the green lid? You can’t get that in Aberdeen, so the last time I was in Newcastle I took a trip to the Thai supermarket and bought three 750ml catering sized bottles to take home with me. That’s right – a litre and a half of sriracha. That was just under a year ago and it’s about time to stock up again ūüôā

Anyway – time to stick it all in the pan. The oil should be smoking by now, so chuck in your onions and stir briskly. Then put in the tofu and any leftover masala powder.

Add chopped chilli’s, mushrooms and walnuts and stir for another minute or two.

There should be a little bit of juice going on in the bottom of the pan – to this add a teaspoon each of minced ginger and garlic.

Stir stir stir. Make sure everything is mixed nicely, and then get the steamed broccoli and black beans in as well. Drain the black beans first.

Next comes seasoning.

The assorted flavours of the ingredients themselves prevail in this dish – the nutty mushrooms, the strong onions and tasty broccoli, so you don’t need to add very much at all. At this point I put in a swig of BBQ marinade and a few drops of liquid smoke to give it a lovely hickory flavour (which compliments the chilli wonderfully). Add soy sauce to taste – I use this instead of salt, usually about 2 tablespoons.

The pan should be steaming up a storm now, so it’s time to add the last ingredient; the spinach.

There’s no need to be delicate about it – just bung the whole bag on top of the vegetables. It might look huge but spinach reduces about 1000% once it’s cooked so just fold it in to the mixture until it starts to wilt.

A good grind of black pepper and we’re done!

Served in a noodle bowl of course. I garnished with a¬†swirl¬†of Sriracha as well but that’s perhaps just my taste. Next? sit your tired ass down on the couch and fill your face whilst watching crap telly.

The end result is a myriad of flavour and textures – soft tofu, delicate mushrooms, crunchy nuts and a spicy kick. 5 portions of vegetables and totally vegan. Boom.

Nutritionally what’s the score? According to Dailyplate.com:

Kcal – 692, Fat – 30g, Sodium – 1420mg, Carbs – 62.3g Fibre – 18.4g, Protein – 45.17g, Sugars – 15.2g.

I’m not a nutritionist so I won’t make any wild claims, but the dish packs a hell of a lot of protein – roughly half of the daily recommended intake for an adult female. One of the first “bingos” that vegetarians and vegans have to deal with it “Where do you get your protein?!” which stems from the belief that the best source of protein is meat. ¬†This is not the case obviously – a plateful of this packs double the amount of protein in your average steak (23g) and also more than an average chicken breast (36g). It also has zero cholesterol, and the fats come mainly from the walnuts which are packed with essential omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins.

That’s all I’m going to say on the subject of vegetarian/veganism for now – I don’t believe in preaching about my choices, but rather encouraging people to learn about their food and make informed decisions for themselves. Maybe some readers will have learned something about typical vegan food from this post – I only wish I could have let you try it!

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