Oatcakes and Haggis Hunter

Has a whole year really passed since our last Burn’s Night supper?

Last year, O brought home a couple of bottles of Haggis Hunter, a real ale from the Harviestoun Brewery. We already knew (and loved) the regular Harviestoun beers from our student days in Scotland, but Haggis Hunter was new to us. It turned out to have a delicious balance of hoppy, tangy and malty tastes, everything that I enjoy most in a beer. We quickly bought up the last remaining bottles in the supermarket and even emailed the brewery to find out if the ale was available for mail order. To our dismay, we discovered that we would have to wait a whole year until the next batch would be produced especially for Burn’s Night.

Forewarned is for forearmed and we were ready for the Haggis Hunter this time around. I’m honestly not receiving any commission for this, but if you can still find any bottles this year, I really do recommend that you buy them up quickly (and send them to me 😉 ).

haggis hunter

Our kitchen improvements have been galloping apace since my last post and we were able to celebrate Burn’s Night yesterday with a traditional supper of haggis, neeps and tatties.

haggis neeps and tatties

Whilst M and T’s slightly less-traditional fish fingers were cooking in the side oven, I baked oatcakes in the main oven of my new Rangemaster cooker.


I found the recipe for the oatcakes in a book of Traditional Scottish Cooking by Eleanor Cowan. The cover claims that her recipes “employ traditional Scottish methods of cooking and preserving food, adapted for the modern kitchen”. Being used to Rose’s precise, trustworthy details, I was a bit off-put by the direction to add a “generous pinch baking soda” to the oatcake mixture … but I took a deep breath and, in the name of my Scottish ancestors, pinched away generously.

Robbie Burns must have been smiling on me last night as my oatcakes turned out beautifully. I’m not convinced I’ll be so lucky next time – I think my success in achieving just the right consistency was more through luck than good judgement!

oatcake and cheese

Scottish Oatcakes (adapted from a recipe by Eleanor Cowan)

100 g/4 oz medium oatflakes
100g/4 oz pinhead oats
100 g/4 oz regular oatflakes
25 g/1 oz butter, melted
Generous pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (I used 1 tsp)
4 to 7 tsps hot water

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.

Combine the oats and stir well until evenly distributed. Weigh out 250 g/10 oz of this mix and reserve the remainder.

Stir the baking soda and salt into the oats, then add then melted butter. Stir until blended.

Add just enough hot water to form a smooth but stiff paste. Form the dough into a ball.

Sprinkle the counter with half of the reserved oats. Place the ball of dough on top and press down with your hands. Sprinkle the rest of the oats on top.

Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness (the edges will crack – just push the bits together again continue rolling). Use a medium-sized round biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Lift them carefully and place them on a greased baking tray.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes (large oatcakes will take longer, but don’t let them become too brown).

Cool on a wire rack before serving with Scottish cheddar, ale and whisky.

Leave a comment


  1. Jeannette

     /  January 26, 2009

    Your oatcakes look great, really professional, and so does your new range cooker. You must be very pleased with it, is it all finished now?
    I must admit, even though I’m married to a Scotsman, I’ve never sampled Haggis, or want to, if it comes to that!!! I was married before I would eat mince, I was always suspicious of what was mixed in with the meat. Now I will eat it but it is not my favourite, only if it is in a nice rich sauce like Bolognaise. Most other Scottish things I do like, especially my OH!

  2. Many of my friends here in Devon give me strange looks when I tell them we eat haggis, Jeannette! I’m sure you’d be pleasantly surprised if you tried it – it’s peppery and warming.

    My new cooker is wonderful 🙂 It’s lovely to have the extra space (5 ‘zones’, 2 ovens and a grill) + a responsiveness comparable to that of gas + the child-safety elements of induction. My husband finds the buzzing noise a bit irritating, but apparently that’s caused by our stainless steel pans rather than by induction per se. Our cast iron pans are silent (and I have to say that I don’t mind the buzzing at all!).

  3. Oh, the cooker range is way swish! ( I swoon with cooker range envy!) How wonderful to have all that room. I can’t wait to see all the tasty things it will cook for the blog… and your family , of course!
    Your oatcakes look spot on. You did a grand job, I reckon.

    I have had Haggis and it’s alright. Personally, I can get more excited about sausages.
    But it’s not horrible, it’s just offal. haha, had to get that in there.

    • As in ‘offally’ good, Melinda? 😉
      We’re planning to move a bookcase into the kitchen, to be filled with recipe books. I hope this new cooker’s ready …!

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