Haggis Pie with Neeps and Tatties top

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A thing of beauty: Haggis Pie with neeps and tatties top

This Haggis Pie with neeps and tatties top is the end result of a quest to find the perfect way to eat haggis.

While scouting around for other ways to eat it, I thought about combining the neeps and tatties element with the Haggis, into a Haggis Neeps and Tatties pie. Delia had the same idea too, so I used her recipe as an inspiration, with a bit of added Nigel Slater, and a dash of me…

Serves 3

Haggis Pie with Neeps and Tatties top

Ingredients

  • 1 x 450g Haggis
  • 400g Swede
  • 400g Floury potatoes
  • 100g Spinach
  • Knob of butter
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 30g Cheddar

Method

  1. Cook Haggis as per instructions (usually about 1hr 15 mins in oven). Slice open and allow to cool.
  2. Chop swede into chunks, and boil until tender (about 15-20 mins). Then mash with an added knob of butter (this might be best done in a small food processor). Set aside.
  3. Peel potatoes (reserve the peelings) and chop into chunks. Boil potatoes with peelings (adds loads of flavour) either loose or in a muslin – until tender (about 20 mins). Drain, discard peelings, and dry the potatoes – either by leaving in pan covered with tea towel and lid, or in an oven at low heat for about 10 mins. Mash with a potato ricer and add butter or oil. Beat with a wooden spoon till light and fluffy.
  4. Tear spinach leaves, and stir into the potato mash. Set aside.
  5. In a buttered baking dish, smoothly layer with the haggis, then swede, then potato. Top with the grated cheese, and then bake in oven at 200°c (180°c fan ovens) for about 40 mins, or until top is a lovely golden brown colour.

Allow to rest for 5-10 mins, then serve with extra veg of choice, such as steamed carrots.

Are You a Feminist?

Many men are confused about whether they are feminists or not. Here’s a flowchart to help you.

Flowchart: Are you a feminist?, are you a feminist, minimise, feminism

What’s the real meaning of ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’?

What’s really going on in Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’? Is there a deeper meaning?

Having read it MANY times, and over analysed it, I’m pretty sure it’s not about a Tiger coming to tea…

the tiger who came to tea analysis, the tiger who came to tea meaning, the tiger who came to tea subtext, the tiger who came to tea meme
‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr, published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.

After a bad day of parenting, who hasn’t wanted to blame the tiger for all the things you haven’t done around the house.

And some days, I have certainly fancied cracking open the beers early. Potty training springs to mind. But moving beer o’clock to before all the household chores are done is a clearly risky proposition.

Look at the dad’s face in this picture. He looks a bit like he’s heard this all before. All credit to him, he goes along with it anyway.

 

Pink is for Girls. Why do people think it shouldn’t be? Girls love pink!

Pink is for girls?

Pink is a girls colour. Why do people think it shouldn’t be? Girls love to dress in pink, to play with pink toys, to have pink rooms filled with pink things – it’s just a fact that pink is for girls. They still have plenty of choices – just as long as it’s in pink.

While it’s unlikely that girls do indeed have a predilection for pink, the marketing-industrial complex is very clear: “Pink is for girls”, and they keep churning out their wares targeted at them.

It’s all too easy to have or buy our girls ‘plenty’ of pink things. The big problem is one of smallness – the focus of what these things are remains relatively narrow, and this is potentially limiting our girls imaginations, opportunities, and ambitions. It’s for us as parents, and our children themselves, to set any parameters – not those trying to sell us things.

I completely buy into this line of reasoning. I avidly support the aims of campaigns such as Pink Stinks and Let Toys Be Toys. I like to think I am very studious about not buying pink things for my daughter.  I am very clear with family & friends, ‘Please don’t buy her anything pink’ (she still gets pink pressies of course, and we are very grateful for peoples’ generosity!).

Anyway, I’m a total hypocrite, because when I see cool things for my daughter – that also happen to be pink – I’m powerless to resist:

Farrah Fawcett
To cool not to dress her in…
And again...
…and still going many months later.

And how can I complain about a pressie tee like this:

We love Spidey...
We love Spidey…
...so much it's exhausting.
…so much it’s exhausting.
Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl hat from Wellington
Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl hat from Wellington

And always on the lookout for apparel with cool & confident female role models, this hat ticked all the boxes – well, apart from the non-pink one. And it just went so well with that cardigan…

Tricky eh? So despite all my great intentions, far too often I still ended up dressing my daughter like this – not what I intended at all when the great parenting adventure began.

And she’s not even at pre-school yet. I’m guessing it’s only going to get much worse when peer pressure kicks in – currently her cultural icons include Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Toy Story, and Totoro.  I fear it’ll be all Angelina Ballerina and Peppa Pig before too long. So I’m beginning to think I need another front of attack against pink. Or do I?

In my early teens, I happily wore my pink Pringle jumper, or a pink tee under a suit jacket (the Sonny Crockett look). It was the eighties, and that was the style (as much as a teenage geek knows about style). But as the nineties dawned, I felt like a fool for wearing a ‘girls’ colour, and I swore an oath – I really did – to never wear pink again.  And I haven’t.

As the years marched on, I pitied those fools who came into work with a pink shirt, or the people with grown up jobs wearing pink ties. I wouldn’t even wear shirts that were red and white patterned – because from a distance, they looked pink.

Pink was a girl’s colour, and I didn’t want to wear a girl’s colour.

Except pink ISN’T a girls colour. That underlines this whole issue. It’s just a colour like any other, and perhaps I need to embrace that rather than always fight it.

I think it’s time for me to break my oath, or make a new one: I need to wear pink.

In fact, I would like all men need to wear pink, and it would be great if parents could dress our sons in pink too. If the all-powerful marketing-industrial complex is going to continue to tell our girls that pink things are the only things for them, we need to subvert that. One way is encouraging our boys – and men – to play and dress pink too.

So I at least need to add pink to my wardrobe. Because pink isn’t a girls’ colour. It’s just a colour like any other. I reckon it might even suit me. Like it does my daughter.

New Zealand Play-Dough

Why spend £££ (or $$$) on buying loads of Play-Doh, when you can make your own Play-Dough at home for far less. This was the best recipe doing the rounds at various playgroups in New Zealand when we lived there.

500g flour
550g salt
4 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp oil (don’t be stingy or it won’t bind)
500ml boiling water
1tsp food colouring(s) of choice

Mix these all together and then knead until it becomes play-dough!

It tends to start off looking as though it’s not going to be the right consistency, but just keep on kneading and the magic will happen…

NB: When using green food colouring mixed with other colours, the mixture can become really sticky and impossible to work. I have had to throw it away. No understanding why, but narrowed it down to when using green and another colour. If your mixture isn’t binding then that *could* be the problem. If you want green then try mixing blue and yellow colouring instead.

(Recipe courtesy of Richard, via Petrina, in New Zealand)