Meat-free and Scottish: Dinner Edition

Is a creating a vegan Christmas dinner using only Scottish products and produce really possible? With more and more people switching to a local plant-based diet this is something that lots of people will be considering this festive season.



Starter:

A delightful starter of vegan haggis bon-bons, is an easy way to appeal to all the family and friends. Regardless of cooking skills, these bon-bons are very simple to make. Using Simon Howie Vegetarian Haggis as the central ingredient, it's is not too difficult to acquire and can be found in many different locations. All you need to do is mix a flour, starch and water slurry before rolling some of the haggis into little balls and covering them in your favourite breadcrumbs. Next a quick shallow fry and there you go - a small but elegant vegan starter that guests can pick at whilst you prepare the main.


Main:

The basis of most vegan Christmas dinners are the vegetables. Luckily for all the plant-based foodies, Scotland produces an abundance of root vegetables at this time of year. There are many local producers and farmers that are stepping up their game to ensure that Scotland has organic and home-grown vegetables. One farm group stands about the most. It is called Glasgow Locavore. The majority of their produce comes from Chapel Farm in North Berwick, Edinburgh. This charming family- run farm is owned by the Elder family and has been run by them since 1952. In 2000 the family made a switch to organic farming and joined the Scottish Organic Producers Association. The optimum location, meticulous farming, and fertile soil means that the vegetables are bound to taste heavenly and only contain goodness. Locavore deliver boxes of fresh organic vegetables and are running over Christmas. This time of year, the boxes include Marfona potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, red-cabbage, and brussel sprouts. A perfect selection to make a host of roasted carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. Using Scottish rapeseed oil, salt and rosemary to give them a crisp finish. It is an excellent dish to add to your main course.



To further the main course, I would suggests using Sgaia food meant alternative to keep as much into the Christmas tradition as possible. They have a small but quality selection of meat-style products that are perfect for ant roast dinner. Although not shaped like a turkey, I would recommend the Original Flavour Vegan Steaks. The steaks are both flavourful and succulent and would pair well with any wine. Lightly fried with garlic and rosemary, these steaks will make any vegan Christmas dinner hearty and filling. If you are feeling adventurous add some fried onions spiced lightly with cumin to add depth to your main course. It was a rogue choice that really filled out this hearty main and complemented the roasted vegetables as well. As a side to this main course, I would recommend the Hebridean mustard company Mustheb. They have a range of artisan mustard filled with natural seasoning and produced in Scotland. A dash with the vegan steak would not go amiss. Or even mixed in with finely sliced red cabbage from the Chapel farm, to create a fresh side to go with the main.



Desert:

For dessert it depends how crafty you want to be, apple pie can be made vegan very easily, simply use diary-alternatives when making the pastry. Another option would be to settle down with a bar for Almighty Foods vegan chocolate as you finish your wine.


Cocktail:

One of my favourite cocktails is a Penicillin. It is both easy to make and easy to drink. It is the strange American cousin of a Scottish hot toddy. It was created in New York in 2000, it is a fresh and sweet cocktail that can be enjoyed between courses or as an aperitif. The heavy ginger flavour cleanses your palette and gives you a little boost to banish those winter colds. The recipe is below.


To make a vegan Christmas dinner using only Scottish produce would be satisfying and delicious. However, for the sake of flavour I believe a few small sacrifices would have to be made. In regard to small things such as a sprinkle of cumin or a dash of honey. It is hard to find products such as these that are both Scottish and vegan. Therefore it can be a challenge but not an impossible one, if you are committed and willing to be adventurous.