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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Haggis, neeps and tatties

Cook and serve this classic Scottish meal to celebrate Burns Night (or any other day of the year).

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You’ll need

  • Chopping boards
  • Microwave
  • Plates
  • Pans
  • Measuring scales
  • Stove
  • Peeler
  • Potato masher
  • Sharp knives
  • Cutlery
Recipe card: Haggis, neeps and tatties
PDF – 111.1KB

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Take a look at our guidance to help you carry out your risk assessment, including examples.  
  • Make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers. 
  • Check for allergies, intolerances, fasting, food-related medical conditions, eating disorders, food sensitivities or dietary requirements, then adjust the food items used as needed. This may include making sure there’s no cross-contamination of packaging and no cross-contamination during the storage, preparation, cooking and serving. 
  • You may need to use separate chopping boards, equipment and utensils, such as tongs or toasters, for different dietary requirements, allergies and foods.
  • If you’re unsure, check with the young person and their parents or carers. You can check with the adult directly if it’s a volunteer or helper.
  • Some people may not like certain food textures or tastes and that’s OK. People don’t need to use all the ingredients if they don’t want to, and no-one should be made to try foods if they don’t want to. You can try to find an alternative for them. 
  • Take a look at our guidance on food preparation
  • You could run our kitchen hygiene activities before this session.
  • Always have a hand washing station, washing hands regularly throughout this activity, and taking extra hygiene precautions when handling food. If you're using gloves to prepare food, treat them like your hands. Wash any gloves before using them and in between if necessary.
  • Spray and wipe down all working surfaces and tables with anti-bacterial spray before and after use, and wash any equipment you’re using in hot soapy water.
  • Take extra hygiene precautions when handling raw meat, such as regular hand washing.
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate, having separate equipment for raw and cooked meat, and washing up equipment as soon as it's been used. 
  • Make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it. Always cut through poultry and meat to make sure it's fully cooked, especially when barbecuing food. Make sure it's cooked slowly and thoroughly, and not just done on the outside.
  • Always follow cooking instructions and never use food past its use-by date. 
  • Keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible.
  • At the start of this activity, remind everyone of kitchen or indoor cooking safety rules and how to act safely. Always tie hair back, tuck in neckers and loose clothing, and wear closed toe shoes. Take a look at our kitchen safety tips.
  • You may want to run a demonstration on how to use the equipment safely, such as for cooking or chopping ingredients. You could use our kitchen safety activities before this session.
  • Make sure any cooking equipment or heat sources, such as ovens and hobs, always have adult supervision, including during free time and arrival times. If anyone struggles with sensing danger, you should consider providing extra adult supervision. This could be especially helpful at unstructured times, such as breaks or waiting to cook.
  • Remind everyone to keep their fingers away from any knives. You may want to use blunt, child-friendly knives, or you could also have ingredients pre-chopped.
  • If you’re using a gas stove, tabletop hob plates or a mini oven, make sure it’s on a stable heatproof surface and in a clear and open area, with plenty of ventilation. Gas appliances and sources can increase risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Take a look at our guidance on different cooking methods and carbon monoxide.
  • You may want to put child-safe locks on cupboard doors to prevent access by young people, especially for cupboards containing matches, cleaning products or chemicals.
  • People can work in small groups or as a whole group to bake or cook. Each group should have adult supervision.
  • You may want to be in groups, but everyone to use the same cooking source, rather than having each group have their own.
  • You may wish for groups to make or prepare the ingredients in a wider, more spacious area, then invite each group into the kitchen to cook one at a time. 
  • Remember the groups not using the kitchen or cooking will still need to be supervised, always following the Yellow Card
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients ready. You may want to pre-chop or pre-measure some activities.



Planning and setting up the activity 

  • Remember to give a safety briefing for the cooking equipment and methods you’re using. You may wish to demonstrate the methods or activity before you all start cooking.
  • If you’re planning to cook as part of a normal meeting, it may be best to let people know, so that they come ready to make (and eat!) a meal.

Running the activity 

  1. Gather everyone together and explain that in Scotland, turnips can be called ‘neeps’ and potatoes can be called ‘tatties’. Haggis, neeps, and tatties is traditionally eaten on Burns Night, which celebrates the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns.
  2. Ask everyone to get into groups of between four and six people. It’s best if people with similar dietary requirements stick together – this 
  3. Ask everyone to wash their hands with warm water and soap, then get into groups of five. Each group should collect the ingredients and equipment, then find a space. 
  4. Give each group a copy of the recipe. Each group should collect their equipment, then weigh and measure their ingredients.
  5. Everyone should follow the recipe cards, with adult supervision and adults helping out when needed.
  6. Once they’re ready, everyone should clean and lay the table and serve the food.
  7. After they’ve enjoyed their meal, everyone should help to tidy up and clean.


This activity reminded everyone that one exciting part of being a citizen is being able to shares special things (such as food) with other people. Burns Night (the occasion haggis, neeps, and tatties is traditionally cooked for) celebrates the life and work of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet. Scots all around the world remember him by saying poems, eating haggis, neeps, and tatties, and dancing (often called a Ceilidh). Can anyone think of another time that certain dishes are cooked to remember a person or event? Different people share food for different reasons on different occasions.

This activity also gave everyone the chance to gain practical skills for cooking and serving food. Had anyone tried haggis, neeps, and tatties before? How did today’s version compare? There were lots of different skills involved in making this meal, including peeling, boiling, cooking, or mashing – so well done for giving them all a go! These skills can also be used to make other dishes – can anyone think of an example?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.


Teach young people how to use cooking equipment safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Make sure it’s safe to use and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for use.


Remember to check for allergies, eating problems, fasting or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you’ve suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods. Take a look at our guidance on food safety and hygiene.

Fires and stoves

Make sure anyone using fires and stoves is doing so safely. Check that the equipment and area are suitable and have plenty of ventilation. Follow the gas safety guidance. Have a safe way to extinguish the fire in an emergency.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Increase the challenge by adding a starter or dessert to make a two-course meal. Why not try Scotch Broth, oatcakes, or shortbread?

Depending on the age of your group, they may need more or less adult help with each step.

Make sure you cater for everyone’s dietary requirements. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free haggises are likely to be available in larger supermarkets or specialist Scottish stores, and it’s easy to substitute the butter and milk for dairy-free alternatives.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

You could create Scottish themed placemats or coasters to lay out your table.

You could host a whole Scottish evening and invite friends and family to enjoy the meal you’ve cooked.

As Robert Burns was a Scottish poet, you could learn and say a Scottish poem, or even write your own.

This potato recipe was Scottish, but plenty of other countries cook with potatoes too. Why not try cooking a meal such as saag aloo (from India), maakouda batata (from Morocco) or tapenade skordalia (from Greece)?