Here's Martin's story;
How did you get started?My Sister-in Law, Hilary made a point of telling me that she enjoyed Scotch Pies, but was a bit reluctant to eat them as in years gone by, our other national dish had a bit of a reputation for questionable filling. I supplied her with some empty shells and suggested that she make her own. She then asked for advice on which seasoning to use, then a method, then a finally a recipe for the filling and the lid. It turned out she wasn’t the only one who wanted versatility and control over her own fillings. It snowballed from there and I eventually put together a postal kit with all the products and information together in one presentation case and launched our website – www.diyscotchpie.co.uk - I’ve sent them to every continent on the globe now.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?When you think an idea is going to work, run with it and trust yourself. If you are going to ask other people for advice, talk to someone impartial who you know will tell you what you need to hear, not someone who’s going to tell you what you want to hear.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
As an innovative company that has grown into one that people can trust implicitly. We provide a great product at a great price and would like to expand our range of fillings for the pie kits and also launch some new products too, but this all takes time to build and to do properly. We never launch a product half-cocked. The “Homemade Haggis" kits took 6 months to develop into something we are very proud of and was ready for launch.
I would cook our “Homemade Haggis” Kit filled with venison. It’s tremendous. The venison is slightly “gamey” and just goes so well with the kit. I’d then fill the haggis into our pie shells, top with a wee bit of chicken in a white sauce and lid with a puff pastry lid – absolutely delicious and a real treat!
Rabbie Burns, my namesake. He’s such an enduring figure for Scotland and our heritage. I’d love to find out what his life was really like back then (and whether the rumours are true about his private life!).
Obviously, “Homemade Haggis” on the menu, to see if it compares with the authentic way they made it back in the 18th century. I think he would be quite a dinner companion – I bet he’d have a few stories to tell over a couple of ales.
On the back of the show, Martin kindly sent me a kit so that I could have a go at making my own haggis, which I eventually got round to putting to use on Wednesday evening.
Everything that I needed to make my own haggis was in the box, except for my chosen meat filling. I opted to use lambs mince because I had a feeling that the flavour of the lamb would work incredibly well with the haggis spices.
Following the enclosed instructions, it wasn't long before I had three 1lb haggii ready to be boiled in the pot.
An hour later I had one cooked haggis that looked very much like the real thing.
I served my haggis with buttered cabbage, new potatoes and gravy and both myself and Nicola thoroughly enjoyed our hearty dinner. The combination of spices, that Martin has put together really give the finished haggis a very authentic look, feel and flavour. I still have two haggii stored in the freezer for another time but I'm already thinking about what other fillings I could use when I order my next box, as well as thinking about the wonderful pie filling that can go into my own DIY Scotch Pies.
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