Indian Tapas Meets Craft Beer At Crossing The Rubicon, Glasgow

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Crossing The Rubicon opened on Glasgow’s Great Western Road at the end of 2016, and in my mind is the most exciting addition to the West End’s dining scene in some time. It is from the same family as Drygate Brewing Co, so if you love craft beer and exciting beers from around the world this place is definitely worth a visit.
As for the food they specialise in curries, serving small plates, and they have a really impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes to choose from.

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Last week I was lucky enough to attend a bloggers evening at Crossing The Rubicon where we were treated to a fabulous showcase of some of the restaurant’s popular dishes… #bloggingtherubicon

I left this event with the biggest of smiles on my face following a feast of beautiful, delicious, fresh, and flavour-packed dishes. I thought I would share with you here some of my favourite dishes from the evening…

To begin, we munched and crunched through some poppadoms and pickles. There was a delicious little pickle of shredded apple with chilli and lime that was bursting with contrasting flavours and textures, and was the perfect accompaniment to the poppadoms.

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Poppadoms & Pickles

Next up we had a selection of vegetarian pakora and some black pudding and crispy chicken pakora. The crispy chicken pakora was the star of this show – delicious velvety chicken encased in a crispy coating of batter. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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Black Pudding Pakora & Crispy Chicken Pakora

We were then served some hot buttered chapati with an array of vegetarian and vegan dishes. The Chana Chat was a beautiful cold salad of chickpeas with lemon and herbs, bursting with fresh and zingy flavours.

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Hot Buttered Chapati & Chana Chat

The Dhal Makani was a rich and buttery lentil dish which was warm and comforting, like a hug in a bowl (am currently Googling Dhal Makani recipes for tonight’s dinner alongside writing this post!). I neglected to get a good photo of this dish, so just get down there and order yourself a pot!

I really loved the Crispy Tofu Mutter. The light crispy tofu was perfectly complimented by a deep, rich, pea and cumin curry.

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Crispy Tofu Mutter

This Roast Carrot and Sweet Potato Korma was perhaps my favourite dish of the night! Rich, sweet and creamy – what’s not to love?! But really… korma has the potential to be sickly sweet, yet this dish is executed perfectly and was a firm favourite amongst my fellow food-loving bloggers!

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Roast Carrot & Sweet Potato Korma

From the meat dishes on the menu we tried the Tandoori Butter Chicken and a Venison Madras. The Tandoori Butter Chicken was perfection… the tomato and butter masala was full of flavour, rich and buttery, and most definitely worth a return visit.

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Tandoori Butter Chicken

Just when we though we couldn’t fit any more food in to our very well looked after tummies, a Vegan Chocolate Pot arrived at the table. As I plunged my spoon in to this little pot of chocolate I thought this is going to be too dense, too rich, too much… oh how I was wrong! Yes, it was dense in texture, however it melted on the tongue with heavenly bursts of orange and subtle little explosions of chilli. This was the perfect ending to a night full of flavour-packed dishes.

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Vegan Chocolate Pot

I thoroughly enjoyed this huge selection of dishes we were lucky enough to try, and I have already picked out some dishes from the menu that I will be returning to try, such as the Ox Cheek Bhuna and the Lamb Achari Saag. I should also mention how impressed I was with the selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes on the menu. This is the perfect spot to take your vegetarian and vegan friends to.

I really hope that you pay Crossing The Rubicon a visit if you are local to Glasgow. The food was packed full of flavour, the staff were lovely, and the beer selection was huge!

Huge Thanks to Crossing The Rubicon for inviting us along to try your dishes. You’re a lovely, talented bunch, and I wish you all the success! See you soon…

 

Juice Garden – New Menu Preview

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Born out of passion and frustration, The Juice Garden was created to serve as an alternative to the conventional fast food outlets in our cities.
Our aim is to be the place to turn to in our cities when seeking a healthy alternative, we vow to make being healthy cool again.
#healthyisthenewsexy – http://www.juicegarden.org

With every New Year comes promises of a cleaner, healthier lifestyle. Sticking to healthier meal options is easy (will-power allowing) to do at home, but it can be tricky to find the healthier option when eating out.

Just before Christmas I attended an evening at Glasgow’s Juice Garden to preview dishes from their (soon to be launched) new food menu. Chef Sarah explained that the dishes from the new menu that we were to taste were all classed as raw food (organic, unprocessed, and uncooked food). I had no experience of raw food dining previously so was excited to see what was on offer.

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Enjoying a delicious cold pressed juice from Juice Garden’s extensive juice menu

To start our evening off we were treated to breakfast!

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Left – raw banana crepe filled with berries and banana served with raw raisin bread and coconut yogurt and strawberry sauce
Right – Quinoa and chia seed porridge

I was instantly impressed by the depth of flavours and variety of textures that Sarah has achieved with these raw food dishes. The raisin bread was beautiful, and I suspect my Little Squirrels would devour this. The quinoa porridge was smooth and comforting, reminiscent of a rice pudding, and warming with a touch of cinnamon and deliciously moist raisins.

Next, on to mains…

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Left – activated teriyaki almonds, raw pumpkin & carrot falafel served with a spiced cashew dipping sauce
Middle -raw pizza
Right – raw lasagne

The highlight from the mains selection was undoubtedly the raw lasagne… courgette with a creamy, garlicky pesto and a smooth sundried tomato sauce. The raw pizza was incredibly tasty. The ‘roast’ vegetables are actually dehydrated, and the effect was just  like roast vegetables, with a beautiful intense flavour. The little pumpkin & carrot falafel were fluffy and light, and I loved the spiced cashew dipping sauce which was like a creamy Thai-style sauce.

I was feeling quite full after such a large selection of dishes to try, but I managed to find a little room for these amazing raw desserts that Sarah and her team prepare…

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Left – a selection of chocolate orange and chocolate mint slices, ‘Mars’ bars, and ‘Bounty’ bars
Right – close up of the ‘Mars’ bar

The Mars bar was delicious… I loved the ‘caramel’ and was amazed that this was made from dates. The chocolate orange and chocolate mint slices were beautiful. I love these flavour combinations, and these tasted just like Matchmakers!

I was blown away by the flavours that Sarah brings out in her dishes. Vegetarian and vegan food, never mind raw food, has an undeserved reputation of being bland and boring. Sarah’s dishes blow that myth out of the water. I had no prior experience of raw food dining, but I was really impressed with what can be achieved with the skill and creativity that Sarah and her team possess. So, if like me, you are looking for the healthier option when dining out, without compromising on flavour, this New Year then drop in to Juice Garden (locations in Renfield Street and Byres Road), and let me know what you think!

 

 

Delicious Cheesy Mixed Veg Pasta For Little Ones

Pasta

I am always on the lookout for new meal ideas for Little Squirrel. Recently I came across this fabulous website which is just packed with recipe ideas for baby and toddler… One Handed Cooks.

Last week I tried out their Cheesy Carrot & Broccoli Pasta.
Pasta has become a firm favourite with Little Squirrel, especially since I started using kids pasta shapes. The pasta shapes seem softer then regular pasta when cooked, and easier for the little one to manage.

So this recipe went down pretty well, and was quick and easy to make. However, Little Miss Squirrel picked out and discarded every single bit of broccoli that was in her dish (like mother, like daughter).

Then, just the other night Mandy of Sneaky Veg posted a picture on Instagram of a delicious looking Pasta and Peas dish that flicked a little lightswitch in my head… substitute the broccoli for peas! Well, it was a huge success. Little Squirrel demolished this generous helping of pasta in less than 10 minutes…!

From this to this in less than 10 minutes!

From this to this in less than 10 minutes!

I tend to make bigger portions than I think she will eat, as quite often a lot ends up on the floor, but she completely hoovered this up (bar a couple of mouthfuls I might have had 😉 and a little bit of debris on the floor)!
This veg combination has a lovely sweetness which is just delicious with the gooey melted cheese… mmmmmm!

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 baby/toddler-sized portion of pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 small carrot or half a large carrot, grated
  • approx 5cm of a leek, halved lengthways then finely sliced, washed and drained
  • 1 tbsp frozen peas, boiled for 3-4 minutes and drained
  • a handful of grated cheddar cheese
Method
Start by cooking the pasta.
Once the pasta is ready, drain and set to the side.
In a non-stick pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then add the grated carrot and sliced leek.
Sauté for 3-4 minutes on a moderate heat.
Lower the heat and add the pasta, peas, and cheese, and stir.
Once the cheese is beginning to melt, decant on to a plate, and allow to cool to a temperature that is safe for your little one. (The cheese bind the veg to the pasta, making it harder for little fingers to pick out the veg).
Dish up, and watch it disappear!!!
Satisfied Squirrel

Satisfied Squirrel

Vegetarian Chilli

Veg Chilli

I am not vegetarian myself, though eat and cook vegetarian most of the time, as I don’t want to cook separate meals for myself and Mr Hungry Squirrel (who has been vegetarian for 21 years).
I am always on the lookout for super tasty vegetarian meals, though this recipe has been part of my repertoire for many years now. I really enjoy cooking this chilli as it is so simple, yet incredibly tasty!
This is the same recipe I would use for regular chilli, though I substitute Quorn mince for beef mince.

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 350g pack of Quorn mince
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • 250ml lager
  • pinch of crushed chillis
  • 1 400g tin of kidney beans
  • bunch of chopped coriander

Method

Veg chilli ingredients

Heat the oil in a pan, then gently soften the onion, garlic, and green chilli for 5 minutes.

Add the green pepper and sauté for a further 3 minutes.

Add the Quorn mince and stir until well combined, then add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, vegetable stock, lager, and crushed chillis, stir and then simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes.

Next add the kidney beans, and simmer with the lid on for a further 10 minutes.

Remove the lid now, and simmer for 10-20 minutes to reduce.

Add some chopped coriander just before serving.

Veg chilli process

I serve this with rice and a liberal sprinkling of grated cheddar, and a side of guacamole

Veg Chilli Serving Suggestion

This serves 4 hungry squirrels!

Pesto Bean Bake – A Vegetarian Delight

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I have to Thank my good friend Alex for introducing me to this recipe. This is quite simply one of the tastiest vegetarian meals I have tried recently.
I made this over the Christmas holidays for Mr Hungry Squirrel, and my Sister-In-Law and niece who are both vegetarian, and it went down a treat. Even the meatiest eaters of my family loved it!

Beans

Beany Goodness

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • a bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton of passata
  • 3 heaped tbsp green pesto
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (I use baby stock cubes, so Baby Squirrel can join in)
  • 2 400g tin of beans (I like to use 1 tin of mixed bean salad, and 1 tin of haricot beans)
  • breadcumbs
  • grated cheddar and parmesan
Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Pesto Bean Bake Ingredients
Heat the oil in a large pan, then gently soften the onions, celery, spring onions, carrots, and garlic with the lid on for around 5 minutes. The vegetables should be soft, but not coloured.

Add the chopped tomatoes, passata, crumbled stock cubes and pesto. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until all the vegetables are really soft.  

Add the beans, mix thoroughly into the stew, and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Pesto Bean Bake Method

Place into a gratin dish and leave to cool slightly.

Pesto Bean Bake Dish

Once cooled, cover with breadcrumbs, and then sprinkle a liberal helping of cheese on the top.  

Pesto Bean Bake Topping

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. 

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Dig in, and enjoy!

PS – This would serve 6 hungry squirrels!

Carrot & Lentil Soup… A Baby-Friendly Recipe

Carrot & Lentil Soup For Babies

Now that Baby Squirrel is eating pretty much anything we put in front of her (mostly), I am keen to cook more meals that both Baby Squirrel and Mr Squirrel and I can enjoy.
This soup is just perfect, and is easily transformed into a meal for the adults in the household with the addition of some simple ingredients. Read on to find out more…

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 80g red lentils, rinsed
  • 500ml stock, made with baby stock cube

Method

In a large pan heat the olive oil on a high heat, then add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots.
Stir well, so the vegetables are coated with the oil, cover, reduce heat and sweat the vegetables for around 10 minutes.
Next, add the lentils and stock, bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for around 20 minutes.
Blend using a food processor/blender…

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For the little ones, I serve this as is, or use some toast fingers dipped in the soup.

With the addition of a little salt, pepper, croutons and grated parmesan, this makes a lovely meal for Mum and Dad too… mmmmm!

For the adults...

For the adults…

This is a lovely warming soup for an Autumnal/Winter day, and freezes well for those days where baby won’t let you put her down!

Chobani Yoghurt & The Perfect Guacamole

Chobani Hamper

Shortly after I attended the fabulous cocktail & dinner event hosted by Chobani, I received a fabulous package in the mail from them. Inside was a hamper with a selection of Chobani yoghurts to try.

If you like your yoghurt thick and luxuriously creamy, then this is the yoghurt for you.  I am definitely a fan of the Chobani plain yoghurt.

As for the fruit yoghurts, I passed these on to a friend, Alex, to try. I prefer a blended fruit yoghurt myself, however the feedback from Alex was very positive…

“The passionfruit one was the business! It took me back to Thailand as they had passionfruit and yoghurt at the hotel we stayed in every morning for breakfast.
The fruit yoghurts taste really natural and fresh. I am definitely a convert!”

I had been hoping to experiment with the plain yoghurt in my baking, however baking is nigh on impossible at present with a faulty thermostat and cooling fan in my oven. Hoping to get this resolved soon!

However, inspired by Becky from The Olive Dragonfly I decided to give the guacamole from the Chobani recipes a try. I added a little more coriander and more lime juice – love these flavours!

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, halved, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 225g Chobani Fat Free Plain Strained Yoghurt
  • a bunch of coriander, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt, to taste

Method

Put the chopped avocados in a medium bowl and roughly mash.
Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.
Et voilà!

Chobani Guacamole

Chobani Guacamole

It was DELICIOUS, and the perfect accompaniment to my Vegetarian Chilli… (post coming soon)!

Vegetarian Chilli & Chobani Guacamole

Vegetarian Chilli & Chobani Guacamole

I will definitely be using this guacamole recipe again… quick and easy, and deliciously creamy.