Fermenting turnips and massaging cabbage

Last week, we attended Eco Savvy‘s workshop on fermenting foods, called the Fermentation Station. The workshop taught us how to make sauerkraut and a no-cook chutney, and involved massaging cabbage, a few tears from chopping onions and a presentation into what fermentation is by the lovely Jess, who works for Eco Savvy.

Around 12 people attended the workshop and everyone seemed really engaged. Who would have thought massaging cabbage could be a bonding experience!

There were lots of hand-outs and fliers on the work Eco Savvy do and on fermentation and food waste. Jess had brought along a copy of a book – maybe even a bible – with lots of fermentation recipes. So after the workshop, off to Amazon we went and purchased a copy. It’s called The Cultured Club.

Today, using some turnips Jess gave us that were leftover from her Arran Supper Club at the weekend and some beetroot from our veggie patch, we put one of the recipes to test; pickled pink turnips. For obvious reasons, we can’t share the recipe, but here’s the book’s website if you’d like to find out more.

All we’ve got to do now is wait a couple of weeks for the turnips to ferment… I wonder if they’ll go with haggis and scrambled tofu?!

the cultured club book cover with a turnip
preparing turnips for fermenting
fermented turnips in jars

Vegan breakfast in August?

Roll up, roll up!!! We still have some space in August for some nice peeps to come and visit and get treated to some vegan breakfasts, vegan cakes and sea views. Contact us on [email protected] to book a place. These will go fast. Like vegan hot cakes.

Single nights

  • 1 August (Thu)
  • 9 August (Fri)
  • 15 August (Thu)
  • 14 August (Wed)
  • 19 August (Mon)
  • 22 August (Thu)

Multiple midweek nights

  • 13 and 14 August (Tue / Wed)
  • 27 and 28 August (Tue / Wed)

Weekend nights

  • 17 and 18 August (Sat / Sun)
  • 23 and 24 August (Fri / Sat)

Vegan Haggis Recipe

There is a good vegetarian and vegan haggis article in The Guardian that covers different recipes. So if you are wanting to try out a different haggises (or is it haggi?!), then check out that article.

If you want to know how we make our vegan haggis, then continue reading…

To taste like meat or to not taste like meat?

First of all, our haggis is not designed to taste like meat haggis – just like our scrambled tofu is not supposed to taste like scrambled egg. So the Ferghan Mhor haggis is quite unique, although it shares some of the same characteristics to a meat haggis or vegetarian haggis like the strong peppery taste.

Over the last 24 months, we’ve worked on different versions of vegan haggis. We’ve tried adding cinnamon and other spices, raisins, celery, rice, Marmite, treacle and a list of other foods in order to try and get a unique, peppery taste with the “right” texture.

It’s still work in progress, but the recipe below is what we’ve settled on for just now. It makes enough for about 10 breakfast portions and creates a haggis mix, which you can then do what you want with; for instance, we’ve made haggis sausage rolls.

Good luck!

PS – see bottom of this article for the gluten free version

Ingredients

Texture:

1 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

150g chestnut mushrooms (approx. 4-6 mushrooms)

1/4 cup of green lentils

1/4 cup of red lentils

1/4 cup of pearl barley

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds (these are delicious)

1 cup of pinhead oats

Flavouring mix:

3 x tbsp of muscovado or dark sugar

3 x tbsp of soy sauce (like Kikkoman)

3 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter (like Meridian)

Juice of a lemon (or 4 tsp of apple cider vinegar)

Herbs and spices:

1/2 tsp of parsley

1/2 tsp of rosemary

1/2 tsp of thyme

1/2 tsp of sage

1/8 x tsp of nutmeg

2 x tsp of ground pepper

How to make vegan haggis:

1.Cook the pearl barley for 15 minutes, then add the green lentils for 10 mins and then the red lentils for 5 mins. The pearl barley and green lentils should still have some bite to them i.e. don’t over cook. In a separete pot, simmer the pinhead oats for 5 mins to soften them slightly.

2. Whilst that’s cooking, chop the veg up and prepare the rest of the ingredients (see flavouring below)

3. Saute the onions in 3 x tbsp of margarine (or veg oil) for 5 mins, then add the herbs and cook for a wee bit more, so the flavour comes out.

4. Add the carrots and saute for another 5 mins

5. Then add the mushrooms and cook further for another 5 mins

6. Add the drained pearl barley and lentil mix and the drained pinhaed oats to the pan and keep it on a low heat as you stir in the black pepper and nutmeg

7. Add the pumpkin seeds and mix all together

8. To create the flavouring; mix the sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce and peanut butter all together. Make sure the peanut butter is well mixed in.

9. Take the haggis off the heat and mix in the flavouring well. If you need to add a touch of water then do so. The mix should be wet enough to stick together, but not too wet that it is running. Err on the side of being too dry than too wet, as you can always add a wee bit of water back in.

10. Add some more black pepper if you want. We normally do.

11. Stick the haggis in some Tupperware and leave it in the fridge to cool. The mix should last 2-3 days. It can also be frozen for short periods of time.

Serving suggestions

For breakfast, we cook the haggis mix in muffin trays for 15-20 mins at 200C, but you can just as easily mold it into a shape (like falafel balls) and bake / fry them like that. We’ve had mixed results with trying to make the mix into burgers or sausages (by adding some flour), so if you manage to get some good results please let us know!

The mix can also be cooked in a bread tin or cake tin and served as slices. And you could probably roll it in to a long thick sausage shape like haggis, cover it in foil and bake it. Or could could just put a a good dodd on a baking tray and bake it like that and then add it to a sandwich, slice of toast or even a wrap.

The best way we have had it is in sausage rolls. For the meat eating Scots reading this, it tastes like a bridie. Another tasty way of serving it up has been as a haggis, neeps and tatties layered “cake” (see below). So many possibilities!

Gluten Free and Peanut-free

You can make a gluten free version by using gluten free oats, removing the pearl barley and using gluten free soy sauce. You can also replace the peanut butter with almond butter.

Running and walking around Sannox

If you’re coming to Arran and staying at our B&B and fancy doing some running (or walking), then here are a few routes you can do from the house. Some are long, but can be split up. Here’s a quick list:

Glen Sannox to Brodick (9 miles)

maps of glen sannox to brodick
view of glen sannox and bute from the saddle
Glen Sannox from The Saddle

The path up Glen Sannox is amazing. As you meander by some old ruins, a graveyard and over some streams the Glen opens up with steep mountain faces either side. The Saddle between Glen Rosa and Glen Sannox is straight ahead.

The run up Glen Sannox is deceptively hard. It’s slightly up hill with a gradual increase in inclination as you go. By the time you get to the base of The Saddle it feels like you’ve done some hard work, which you have!

Then you’ve got to scramble up The Saddle approximately 200m in elevation gain and navigate Whin Dyke (below). As they say, the views are rewarding. It was hot and muggy today, so when passing a few walkers who said “it’s a bit hot for running” I was beginning to agree.

whin dyke at the saddle on arran
Whin Dyke

Once you’re at the top of The Saddle the views are stunning and the Isle of Bute can be seen very clearly. Unlike Goatfell, which was hiding behind some cloud.

goatfell with clouds on it
The Saddle

The quickest way to Brodick is down Glen Rosa from The Saddle, which is very enjoyable. Like many of the paths in this area, you need to concentrate, as there are rocks and boulders everywhere.

Marching on by the campsite after Glen Rosa you arrive at Brodick, a good place to stop and get the bus back to Sannox. Or even visit the Coop for a top up of water.

There are couple of ways to Lamlash from here (see coastal path below). An inland route is via Fairy Glen, which is mostly uphill from Brodick towards Lamlash, but a much easier track to run on than Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa.

A few miles up Fairy Glen, you are rewarded with a view back to the mountains and where you’ve come from. The photo says it all…

lookout point to mountains of arran
The Arran Mountain Range

The total distance from Sannox to Lamlash via this route is around 12 miles. A good place to refuel is the Drift Inn, which has some good vegan options.

Sannox to Lochranza (8.5 miles)

Map of sannox to lochranza
view from north sannox
North Sannox

The Arran coastal route along past North Sannox to Laggan Cottage is stunning and a popular but remote area of Arran. From Laggan Cottage, you get the option of carrying on along the coast (see here), which is pretty rocky, or going up hill and over into Lochranza. Some photos of the latter are below.

views to bute from arran
View from hill over to Lochranza from Laggan Cottage

As you get over the hill, you see the Arran mountain range to your left (south). And a bit further on the Boguille appears – the road that connects Lochranza to Sannox.

boguille road connecting sannox and lochranza
The Boguille

Running all the way down to Lochranza from Sannox is around 8.5 miles, so it’s a long one there and back. You can get the bus back from Lochranza too. Don’t forget to stop off at the Sandwich Station if you need some grub.

view from laggan cottage
Laggan Cottage

Lochranza to Lamlash via The Saddle (22 miles)

The 22-miler from Lochranza to Lamlash via The Saddle is a cracker of a run and although technical in places there are a few rest places and view points.

running from lochranza to lamlash

Start off in Lochranza head over the hill towards Laggan Cottage (see above). In early morning, there can be some mist on the hills and you’ll normally see some stags. All very mystical and Scottish.

stags at lochranza
Stags at Lochranza

Heading down the coast towards Sannox, head up Glen Sannox and over The Saddle; a nice stretch of running until you hit The Saddle – or rather, before The Saddle hits you…

running up glen sannox
Running up Glen Sannox

Making our way down Glen Rosa and by the campsite stop in Brodick for a top up of water and then either head to Lamlash via Fairy Glen (See above) or via the costal path (see below).

Brodick to Lamlash via the costal path (9.5 miles)

map of brodick to lamlash route via coastal path

Head out of Brodick and up to Corriegills chopping off left through North Corriegills and on to the coastal path.

The path is a bit mixed once you get on to the coastal path, so it can be difficult to get some rhythm going. It is a bit bouldery in places but enjoyable.

arran coastal path from brodick
Arran coastal path from Brodick to Lamlash
rocky terrain on arran coastal path
A bit rocky in places

Once you get to the junction that takes you right up to Clauchland Hills or straight on around the coast to Lamlash the terrain gets easier – or more runnable. It’s not that difficult to walk; just tricky to run on.

At this point you can head to Clauchland Hills and then down on to Fairy Glen that will take you back to Brodick and then Sannox. Or you can keep on the coastal path and into Lamlash.

view of brodick and arran ferry from clauchland hills
Brodick from Clauchland Hills

Glen Sannox to Goat Fell and back (13 miles)

map of glen sannox to goat fell and back

Start your run at Glen Sannox (see above for more details) and keep going until you can’t run any more. You’re at the base of The Saddle.

view up glen sannox with mountains either side
Glen Sannox

From the main road in Sannox to the base of The Saddle it’s about 2.5 miles and only slightly up hill. You can bike it there too if you want.

rocky climb up the saddle
View up to North Goat Fell

There are different entry points to Goat Fell. From Glen Sannox, the climb to The Saddle is one of the more challenging sections. The toughest section is the narrow corridor that you need to climb up. It’s a good scramble – any steeper and you might need ropes! This selection is called Whin Dyke. Here’s some photos on Google to give you the gist.

As you’ll see, you can’t run it. And if it is raining or wet then it would be much, much harder.

You are not exposed at this section like some other parts of the trail higher up, but it is steep and does need concentration. Note: it’s easier going up!

Once at the top, you are rewarded with views down Glen Rosa and Glen Sannox from The Saddle. To be honest, this is a perfect place to stop for a picnic and then head either back where you came or carry on down Glen Rosa.

Opting for the ascent to Goat Fell, involves some minor ridge running, a bit of scrambling and a couple of “don’t look down” points. There is one specific bit near North Goat Fell that is a little exposed. But once you’re by that the views on the other side before the climb to Goat Fell are magnificent.

near north goat fell
North Goat Fell
the climb to goat fell from glen rosa
Ridge run on Arran

The best bit of the run for me was the descent from Goat Fell towards Brodick Castle. It is technical and requires you to focus on every step. As it was a warm sunny day, there were lots of people out climbing Goat Fell from the castle side. That added to the challenge! A bit like skiing through trees.Once down and off the rocky parts, you run through some trees and over a bridge. A track takes you left or straight on down towards Brodick. The track to the left takes you back to Corrie and Sannox via the Arran Costal Way. It’s away from the coast and through a wide stoney corridor between some large trees, so not that inspiring. The alternative is to carry on to Brodick and get the bus back.

a run through some trees
Route near Brodick Castle

From the start of Glen Sannox up to Goat Fell and then back, it is about 14 miles. It’s a very enjoyable and technical trail run that needs proper footwear and a backpack with extra fuel and clothing should you need it.

Wild garlic in the garden

Today, I picked some wild garlic. Apparently, it grows well on Arran and up until two days ago, I didn’t release we had it in our own garden! Pretty cool.

wild garlic in the ferghan mhor garden

Enter leftover vegan haggis and potato scones from the weekend and hey presto I’ve got a mini Ferghan Mhor vegan breakfast with wild garlic just waiting for me to try out.

wilted wild garlic
Wild garlic about to be wilted

Well… It tasted amazeballs! I wilted the leaves – after thoroughly washing off the bird turd – with some vegan butter and a pinch of salt and pepper and served with the reheated leftovers.

vegan breakfast with wilted wild garlic
Ferghan Mhor vegan breakfast with wilted garlic

When we moved to Arran and started a vegan B&B, we never thought we’d get introduced to such a wide spectrum of food stuff. From growing our own veg to food festivals to foraging for food, moving here has been brilliant!

PS. Thanks to Mara and Arran Supper Club for the inspiration. Big love.

PPS. For more updates on what we’re up to, check out our Instagram page.

Vegan Cheddar Cheese

For the first Corrie Food Festival in October this year, we tried out some homemade vegan cheeses to serve with a range of chutneys and coleslaw. Some recipes worked, some didn’t. But over the last few months, we’ve arrived at this vegan cheddar cheese. It’s the best and tastiest.

There are lots of different recipes for vegan cheese – many include using agar-agar, which is hard to come by on an island. So the cheese we were looking for had to contain ingredients we could get here on Arran and also, when mixed together, would produce the right texture (agar-agar helps solidify the cheese, which is key in avoiding the cheese turning into a cream cheese).

The cheese we settled on is very close to these two recipes: vegan cheese ball and smoked jalapeno cheese, so we’re not claiming the vegan cheddar cheese as our own! The recipe and instructions below outline how to get that cheddar zing with the right texture (minus the agar-agar).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cashews
  • 2 sun-dried tomato pieces (let oil run off of them)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of miso paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 cup of coconut oil melted

How to make vegan cheddar cheese:

First step – soaking

Put the cashews in some cold water for a few hours – don’t leave it too long, as they get too soft

cashews in water
Soak the cashews for three hours

Second step

Put all the ingredients (except the yeast and the oil) into a container for you to blend up. We use a hand blender, but you could probably use a food blender too.

Two things to be wary of: make sure you let the oil run off the sun dried tomatoes and be careful not to add too much cider vinegar (once the mixture gets too running, it’s hard to recover from that).

Third step – blending

Use the hand blender to blend the ingredients together. You’ll probably have to scrape the inside of the blender out a couple of times, as the paste gets quite thick. The trick here is to blend it enough that the paste starts to come through the slots in the hand blender.

If you’ve ever made peanut butter, you will notice that there is a point that the peanuts stop being ground up peanuts and turn into butter – it’s like magic. Blending the cashews with other ingredients in this recipe is a bit the same. Hint: If you think it needs blended more, it probably does.

cashews being blended
We use a hand blender to blend the cheese mix

Forth step – the yeast

Get a spoon and add the nutritional yeast to the paste. Mix the yeast in with the spoon – don’t blend it. The trick here is to dry the paste out using the yeast because blending it keeps the paste moist, so use a spoon to mix it in. If done right, the mixture should stick together as a dry paste. If you over mix it, it will get moist again.

vegan cashew cheese mix with yeast
The mixture should be dry and stick together

Fifth step – add the oil

Melt some coconut oil in a pan and make sure it’s about 1/8 of a cup’s worth. Get your spoon, pour the oil in and stir the oil into the mixture. Avoid chopping through the mixture too much. You want to move the mixture around the bowl and it should stick together cleaning the jug as you go. The best way to describe this is through a photo. Below, you can see that the side of the jug are “clean”.

vegan cashew cheddar cheese mix
The sides of the jug are clean

If you mix it too much, or the mixture is too wet, then you won’t produce a solid mass and the mixture will stick to the sides of the jug.

Six step – maturing

 The cheese now needs to mature and solidify. Don’t hang around. Get a plastic container and put a bit of parchment paper on the bottom of it, so that the cheese doesn’t stick when it’s time to remove it. Cover the container and stick it in the fridge for a day.

parchment paper in tupperware
Add some parchment paper so the cheese doesn’t stick
vegan cashew cheddar cheese in plastic container
Vegan cheddar cheese before maturing

Once the cheese has hardened, cut around the sides with a knife and turn the cheese up side down. It should be a solid block – BUT WAIT!!! Don’t eat it just yet. Wrap it in parchment paper and stick it back in the fridge to harden some more. If you wait a week, and assuming you’ve mixed it right, then the block should be nice and firm.

Naturally, it melts when you take it out of the fridge, but both your vegan and non-vegan friends will be impressed with how it looks, tastes and feels. It’s also gluten-free!

matured vegan cheddar cheese
A block of matured vegan cheddar cheese

PS – interested in other vegan recipes? Check out how we make scrambled tofu every morning!

Vegan food on Arran

When we moved to Arran in February 2018, looking for a house and somewhere to live was hard work. So trying out the local vegan food on Arran was a nice pastime and way to relax 🙂

Since our first day, we’ve been taking snaps of vegan options available nearby to us in Sannox, and on the island in general. The list of what we’ve found is below. It’s not a definitive list, and we’ll add to it and change it as we go – not to mention posting photos on Instagram – but we hope this helps you with your quest to find vegan food on Arran!

Corrie and Sannox

The Corrie Hotel is only 20 minutes walk away from Ferghan Mhor. And they serve a standard hotel type menu with vegetarian options. For a vegan option – that’s not chips and salad – you can phone ahead. We’ve had a vegan curry (2018) and a Thai burger (below) and lentil soup (2019)

thai burger and chips corrie hotelAbout 50 yards away from Corrie Hotel is Mara, a fish bar and deli. There is always a vegan option (falafel tacos and / or vegan kedgeree) and sometimes the chef does either chips or hasselback potatoes that are to die for. It’s also a good place to go if you fancy a nice coffee – they serve Dear Green from Glasgow – and they also sell local bread on premise from Blackwater Bakehouse.

Note: there is also a tea room at Corrie Golf Club. It sells traditional food, but the handmade chips are pretty tasty. A chip butty and soup is £5.

vegan taco at mara in corrie
Vegan taco at Mara Fish Bar, Corrie (2019)

Lochranza

Heading north from Sannox to Lochranza is The Sandwich Station near the ferry terminal. There are always two vegan options on the menu plus they sell damn good soup. The sandwiches here are amazing and served on local bread.

sandiwch at the sandwich station in lochranza
Beetroot sandwich at The Sandwich Station (2018)
sweet potato with lime pickle sandwich
Sweet potato and lime pickle sandwich at The Sandwich Station (2019)
Aubergine and spiced onions on focaccia at the Sandwich Station (2019)
Aubergine and spiced onions on focaccia at the Sandwich Station (2019)

Whilst you’re in Lochranza, you can also visit the Whisky Distillery for lunch in the aptly named Casks Cafe. Normally they have a soup that is vegan (you need to ask) and you can get a salad sandwich (with chips, of course!). If that doesn’t float your boat, then just head downstairs and get some whisky!

Although we’ve not been, the Stag’s Pavilion is also in Lochranza, which now has a vegan and vegetarian menu (2019). You need to book Stag’s four weeks in advance. Here is the menu.

Vegan and veggie menu at Stag's Pavillion 2019
Vegan / veggie menu at Stag’s Pavillion (2019)

West Coast

As you head further round the island to the west coast, you get to Pirnmill. There is the Lighthouse Restaurant here (not tried it and but as of 2019 they don’t have vegan options, but one guest phoned ahead and the chef prepared a meal). If you continue on for a wee while (assuming you are driving) you’ll see signs for Cafe Thyme (at the Old Byre). OMG… they do these Turkish pizza type things (called Pides) and have vegan options. They taste fab.

Turkish pides at Cafe Thyme
Vegan Turkish pide at Cafe Thyme (2018)

Continuing on you come to Machrie and Blackwaterfoot. We’re not too sure about eating options, but you can get soya milk in Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot, so it’s a good place to stop for a coffee and sit in the lounge staring a the sea. Blackwater Bakehouse is also in Blackwaterfoot (check the opening times – and that the bread you’re buying is vegan, as some of it is not).

Brodick

Back over on the east side of Arran, and heading further south from Sannox and Corrie you get to Brodick. Next to Arran Aromatics (now called Arran Sense of Scotland) and Arran Ceramics there is a cafe called Janie’s Cafe, which do a vegan cake – YESSS!!! Go on – you could walk from our place (5 miles), walk off your vegan breakfast and then top yourself up with a cake!

janie's cafe oreo chocolate cake
Vegan Oreo Brownie from Janie’s Cafe (2019)
janie's cafe vegan flapjack
Vegan Flapjack from Janie’s Cafe (2019)

Just before you get to Janie’s Cafe and Arran Aromatics and near the Arran Brewery, there is an old building called the Wine Port, which is open during the day. In July 2019, we had the vegan chilli and it was very tasty.

vegan chilli at the wine port arran
Vegan chilli at the Wine Port (2019)

Carrying on further into Brodick you get to Crofters, which has a number of vegan options. They specifically state on a sign in the window that they have “vegan options”, which kind of gives you confidence and a warm fuzzy feeling inside 🙂 We’ve had a veggie burger and mushroom stroganoff in 2018 and in August 2019 they had vegan nachos, a vegan salad and lentil soup on the menu (nachos below).

fidllers vegan burger and mushroom stroganoff
Veggie burger and mushroom stroganoff at Crofters in Brodick (2018)
Vegan nachos at Crofters
Vegan nachos at Crofters (2019)

Near Crofters is Wooleys the bakers, which sells lovely bread – just check it is vegan though. And then carrying on a bit you get to Little Rock Cafe. This place is the bizzle. It’s also very busy… Handily enough though, if it’s too busy you can jump on to the crazy golf right in front of the cafe. Go on… let yourself go… Go crazy. Little Rock Cafe has a few options (baked potatoes and that kind of thing). They also do a good sandwich and veggie burger that can be made vegan. Plus Dear Green coffee. And as of 2019, some vegan energy balls provided by Rebel Coco (beetroot, peanut butter and cacao flavours).

little rock cafe vegan sandwich
Vegan sandwich at Little Rock Cafe (ask for sun-dried tomatoes instead of feta) (2019)
Peanut butter and beetroot protein balls at Little Rock (2019)
Peanut butter and beetroot protein balls at Little Rock (2019)

Brodick is also home for the Auchrannie, Arran’s 4* resort, which has a number of restaurants. One restaurant is the 1869 and has a vegan menu.

vegan menu at the 1869
Vegan menu at the 1869 (2018)

Another restuarant at The Auchrannie is Cruize. We went with family in March 2019, and were pleasantly surprised with options. Below is a vegan pizza and a vegan platter.

Vegan pizza at The Auchrannie
Vegan pizza at The Auchrannie…
Vegan platter at The Auchrannie
…and the vegan platter at The Auchrannie (2019)

In October 2018 (after the first time version of this article), a new place opened up in Brodick called The Parlour, which is owned by Arran Dairies. The Parlour has a number of vegan options including soup, sorbet and vegan pizza.

vegan pizza at The Parlour
Vegan pizza at The Parlour (2019)

Stop the bus…

THEY SELL VEGAN STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM TOO.

Vegan strawberry ice cream
Vegan strawberry ice cream (2019)

Another couple of options in Brodick – especially if you are looking for a local pint – are Brodick Golf Course and The Ormidale Hotel. The golf course menu changes, but this year (April 2019) we had some parsnip soup, which was well deserved after a walk from Sannox over the saddle! The Ormidale menu changes too, but we’ve had a vegan curry there before – and more importantly (!), they do curly fries (you can request them to be fried in vegetable oil).

parsnip soup at brodick golf course
Parsnip soup at Brodick Golf Course (2019)

Lastly, in Brodick there is the chippy – amazing chips! – at the ferry terminal called Hooked and Crooked, which is quite often queued out the door. Before the chippy, there is the Douglas Hotel. We’ve had soup in hotel bar before (2018). There is a curry on the bar menu and a nut roast too (both, as of 2019).

Lamlash

Moving on from the Capital City of the Kingdom of Arran, the next town and second to the throne is Lamlash with views to Holy Isle. There are a couple of place’s we’ve eaten here.

UPDATE  Sept 2019: The Drift Inn has changed hands, so below might not be accurate (it’s the same chef though, we think).

The first place in Lamlash is The Drift Inn, which does a mean beetroot and chickpea burger made onsite (sometimes with and without a roll depending on stock) – note that the burger seems to have changed to a sweet potato burger now (2019). They also have veggie haggis, neeps and tatties and on occasion the veggie special on the board will be vegan – or a vegan version available. The Drift Inn has a good vibe and a selection of Scottish drinks and an army of gins, whiskies and other spirits that might tickle your fancy. They also do a mean soup. Roasted pepper soup photo below.

vegan beetroot burger from the drift inn
Vegan beetroot and chickpea burger at The Drift Inn in 2018 (sometimes they have vegan rolls)
Sweet potato burger
Sweet potato burger at the Drift Inn (2019)
Roasted pepper soup
Roasted pepper soup at the Drift Inn (2019) – this is the bomb

The other place in Lamlash is the Pierhead Tavern – or PHT. The menu changes, but we have had vegan food in there that was very tasty. It’s probably best phoning ahead to see what is on the menu. Below is a stew from 2018 and most recently (October 2019) a vegan bean burger (with vegan cheese) and a chocolate and orange torte.

vegan stew at PHT
Vegan stew at PHT (2018)

 

Vegan bean burger at the PHT (2019)
Vegan bean burger at the PHT (2019)

 

Orange and chocolate torte at the PHT (2019)
Orange and chocolate torte at the PHT (2019)

Lastly, the Old Pier Tearoom has recently started making vegan sausage rolls (2019). These are worth a visit to Lamlash.

Vegan sausage roll
Vegan sausage roll at Old Pier Tearoom (2019)

Whiting Bay

The next town south from Lamlash is Whiting Bay, which does have a few options – some of which we have tried out. There is a cracking cafe called the Coffee Pot that does a falafel burger (see below) and some homemade vegan cakes. Felicity’s also has a couple of vegan options and we’ve heard good things about the curry, so it’s on our list to try! Below is a photo of some pizzas they sell – with and without vegan cheese.

Vegan pizza at Felicity's in Whiting Bay (2019)

The Shore opened in March 2019 and have emailed us to say that they will be doing vegan options soon (see second photo below).

Coffee Pot falafel burger
Coffee Pot falafel burger (2018)
Vegan Victoria sponge
Vegan Victoria sponge at The Shore (2019)

Whiting Bay also hosts Bay Kitchen and Store, where you can buy fresh produce, bread and supplies not to mention a tasty soya cappuccino. Well worth a visit in our opinion.

Other Options

Arran has a number of other villages, so there may well be other vegan options on the island that we’ve missed. Lagg Hotel and Cafe Velo at Kilmory have a couple of options for instance. The three bean chilli is pictured below.

Three bean chilli at Lagg Hotel
Three bean chilli at Lagg Hotel (2019)

In June 2019, the new distillery at Lagg opened, which has some vegan food on the menu. In August 2019, we had the veggie burger and an Asian noodle dish a bit like ramen.

Asian noodles with tofu Lagg Distillery
Asian noodles with tofu Lagg Distillery (2019)
Veggie burger at Lagg Distillery
Veggie burger at Lagg Distillery (2019)

Our tip: always check opening times and menus by phoning ahead. The chefs change regularly, so new dishes are added and old dishes are retired.

Cheers for just now.

Go fly young vegan adventurers.

Pssst – If you eat any vegan dishes on the island, please drop us an email and let us know – we’d also love to add your photo to the photos below. Cheers!


Edits

28 October 2019 – added PHT burger and torte

17 October 2019 – added protein balls at Little Rock

11 October 2019 – removed Glen Isle vegan menu and added Felicity’s

13 September 2019 – Update about Drift Inn and Glen Isle

18 August 2019 – added vegan nachos at Crofters

12 August 2019 – added Lagg Distillery

29 July 2019 – added Corrie Hotel Thai burger

17 July 2019 – added the Wine Port

5 July 2019 – added vegan menu at the Glen Isle Hotel

26 June 2019 – add Stag’s Pavillion menu

15 June 2019 – added more photos

13 April 2019 – added Brodick Golf Course and The Ormidale Hotel

28 February 2019 – added the The Shore in Whiting Bay

10 December 2018 – added The Coffee Pot, more about Auchrannie and added The Parlour

15 September 2018 – added some photos

Scrambled tofu

We’re into week 4 of our vegan B&B and have served up a number of fully cooked breakfasts – not to mention a healthy dose of pancakes. Overwhelmingly, the scrambled tofu has been the winner so far. Loads of folk have asked for the recipe, which was totally unexpected.

It’s a funny thing, this tofu stuff. It’s hard to do it well, doesn’t look that appetising and, well, doesn’t taste of much on it’s own. A common frustration is that tofu is too wet, so we weren’t sure how scrambled tofu would go down – we’ve not had the greatest of experiences either.

However… brace yourself; things have changed…

Scrambled tofu on toast

Our scrambled tofu

We tested a number of scrambled tofu recipes and have tried lots over the last six months. We like a good fully cooked vegan breakfast ourselves, of course! A couple of recipes worth mentioning are from the Buddhist Chef and the Vegan Society. This one from the Greatist is good too. They are all tasty.

As we serve vegan haggis with the breakfast, it was important for us to avoid making the scrambled tofu spicy or peppery or too full of flavour – the haggis has quite a kick to it already! So we tried different things; adding and removing ingredients to the recipes above and tinkering around with the quantities.

In the end, we arrived at a scrambled tofu recipe that tastes great on it’s own, and even better served with vegan haggis. It’s simple to make, easy to buy the ingredients and goes down a treat! Even better – it has been tested on lots of non-vegans, who seem to love it more than the vegans!

Quick tip: make it fresh and make sure you dry the tofu

Ingredients (makes two portions)

  • 140g of tofu (we use Tofoo)
  • 1 x tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 x tablespoon of dark muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1 x small shallot diced
  • 1 x small tomato diced
  • 2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

How to make it (takes about 20 minutes)

  1. Get your tofu and drain it by squeezing it. Let it sit for a bit, as it will dry just sitting.
  2. Mix the turmeric, sugar, parsley and soy sauce together in a ramekin or small bowl. This is the flavouring. If the tofu is dry, you can add a little water to the mix.
  3. Sauté the shallot in some vegetable oil for 3 minutes
  4. Add the tomato and cook for another few minutes. It should create a reddy / brown mix.
  5. Crumble in the tofu making sure you don’t break it up too much and cook for a couple of minutes
  6. Add the flavouring and mix in well. Keep mixing by turning the tofu over. Keep it on a low – medium heat until the flavouring and liquid is absorbed by the tofu. Should take 5 minutes.
  7. Let the tofu sit in the pan on a low heat for another few minutes to cook it further
  8. A couple of minutes before serving, mix in the nutritional yeast

The end result

The tofu should be fairly firm and dry. If the tofu is still quite watery, cook it for longer (or start again and dry it out more!).

Enjoy.

Quick tip: to make it gluten free, make sure the tofu is gluten free and use gluten-free soy sauce

Update

Since writing this post, we’ve tried lots of different scrambled tofu in cafes and restaurants. Some of dishes have tasted very similar to scrambled egg (or at least what we can remember it tasting like!). For the avoidance of doubt, this scrambled tofu recipe is in no way supposed to taste like scrambled egg. That’s by design. Egg stinks. Fact.

Vegan B&B Survey Results

reasons for being vegan - vegan bed and breakfast survey results

Welcome to the new Ferghan Mhor blog!!! We’re now up and running as a vegan bed and breakfast and it seems like an age ago that we ran the online survey – which a whopping 565 people responded to. Thanks go to Islington Impact Hub, Vegan Scotland and Vegan Glasgow for sharing it with their communities!

As promised, we wanted to share a summary of the results, so without further ado, let’s get into it…

Intro

The objective of the survey was really to find out which things we should prioritise for the B&B and which things we should drop as ideas.

As mentioned, a massive 565 people completed the 10 minute survey and out of them 82% were vegans, 8.5% vegetarians and the remainder were in transition of some sort. There were a few carnivores not in transition, which we welcome too 🙂 Thanks everyone for your time.

As far as the reasons for being vegan, not surprisingly 72.5% cited animal rights and ethics as their number one reason. 14% of folk said it was also (or solely) for health reasons with the remaining 13.5% raising environmental concerns. So there you have it; ANIMALS, WE LOVE YOU!!!

What’s important in a vegan B&B?

Not many surprises in the “what’s important to you” section – especially, given that the world isn’t flushed with vegan options – the top most important aspect of the B&B were “vegetarian / vegan considerations”.

Second most important was location (check out this page) and third was friendly hosts (check out this page). So hopefully, we’ve got that covered 😉

Other options were privacy, luxury, price, eco-friendliness, child-friendly, child-free, dog friendly, dog-free and pub / restaurant nearby.

The one we’re particularly pleased about was that “dog-free” scored the highest “NOT IMPORTANT” score. More to come on this at a later date when we rescue a pooch!

The vegan breakfast

At Ferghan Mhor, we’re offering a self-service breakfast plus the option of a cooked breakfast or pancakes.

Survey options in the self-service breakfast included cereals, granola, fruit juice, plant based milks, plant based yoghurt, fruit bowl, fruit salad, toast, jam / peanut butter and Marmite.

The biggest shock horror was that Marmite was ranked the highest “not important”. Clearly Marmite needs to up its game! (We love it here!).

Anyhoo… The top three were plant based milks, toast and jam / peanut butter. Not really a surprise there. However, the thing we were really keen to understand was what people thought of the cooked options.

We asked respondents to rate the importance of a fully cooked vegan breakfast, porridge, overnight oats, pancakes, breakfast burrito and smashed avocado on toast.

The top three were: fully cooked breakfast, smashed avocado on toast and pancakes. We decided to do the fully cooked and the pancakes (see the menu).

Some of the comments on the breakfast options were interesting around treats. One respondent said:

“My first instinct was to choose ‘very important’ for all of the cooked breakfast options above – they all sound delicious! But in the end I went for the more complex options (pancakes, burrito etc) as I think when you stay at a B&B it’s lovely to have a treaty breakfast – something you wouldn’t make for yourself. I regularly make porridge and overnight oats, so would be unlikely to choose those options at a B&B.”

Overnight oats was rated the highest “not important”

Some other things that came up in the comments were the importance of good coffee (we are using Dear Green), a selection of herbal teas (tick!), low carb options and gluten free and allergy considerations (see our ingredients page – more to come on this too).

Lunch and evening meals

So on to something that we have chopped and changed our minds about: providing a packed lunch and evening meal, which we have decided not to do at the moment despite 63% respondents saying they were interested and 35% saying they were maybe interested in the lunch and 75% interested and 25% maybe interested for evening meals.

Top three foods in packed lunch were a sandwich (90%), cake (82%) and fruit (65.5%) and an acceptable price ranged between £5 and £7.

We never specified specific foods for the evening meal, but asked for some comments in relation to food in general. Some requests included; knowledge on local pubs / restaurant with vegan options (working on it), locally sourced (trying our best), treats on offer (we do cakes daily!) and vegan haggis (tick!).

Vegan bed and breakfast facilities

Which facilities to provide is a hard question to answer. Everyone looks for different things relative to their own situation and preference. Even since opening a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had lots of requests for different facilities.

The top three “most important” from the survey were towels, tea and coffee and Wifi. Interestingly, a guest living room ranked the highest “not important”. That’s handy, as we don’t have room for one!

Other facilities that were mentioned in the survey by respondents (in no order) were:

  • Hairdryer (and maybe hair straighteners)
  • Iron
  • Things going on / events
  • Cloak room / drying room
  • Board game, books, playing cards
  • Reducing waste / zero waste
  • Alcohol
  • Private bathroom
  • Children’s play area
  • A jacuzzi and hot tube was mentioned a few times!

Lastly, car parking was only mentioned once, but we wondered if that’s probably a given?!

Rates

Last but not least, we asked survey respondents how much they would be willing to paid for a room with a shared bathroom, a room with a private bathroom and an ensuite room. Here are the results.

  • £60 for shared bathroom
  • £80 for private bathroom
  • £80 – £100 for ensuite bathroom

We think that’s fair and was inline with our thinking before sending the survey out.

So there you go, that’s the results from the survey we created in April this year. Thank you to everyone who took part and donated their time. And thanks to all those that have provided feedback over the last couple of months on our ideas, food, rooms, set up, garden. The list goes on.

Turns out that setting up a small two bedroom vegan B&B is something that people are willing to help with and happy to share their views on. We opened officially on 19th July and are loving the experience so far.

If you’d like to come and stay in our vegan bed and breakfast on Arran, then you can check availability on Airbnb (here or here).