Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Tag: vegetarian food

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

**Edited to add – Sadly Cue BBQ shut down in September 2016, with the effects of the Oil downturn in Aberdeen being cited as the cause**

When an email landed in my inbox inviting me to try out Cue BBQ, Aberdeen’s newest BBQ joint, I was understandably hesitant. As a vegetarian for over two thirds of my life, unsurprisingly I tend not to frequent such meat-focused establishments by choice. In my past experience on the rare occasions when I’ve joined friends for dinner at BBQ restaurants, my choices are usually limited to potato salad, coleslaw, fries and perhaps a token item like a veggie burger if I’m lucky. Put simply – it’s just not my kind of thing.

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

This invitation was a little different, however; the event had been organised for a group of Aberdeen Bloggers by Just Julia, and I really wanted to meet some of the other ladies in person after tweeting with many of them for a while. A quick glance over the menu looked very encouraging, and I was reassured that vegetarians would be well catered for.

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

We were welcomed with jars of a refreshing Pimms cocktail whilst we learned a little more about the restaurant concept. Owned jointly by Aberdeen restaurant group Beetroot Restaurants Ltd and Angus & Oink sauces, Cue BBQ opened to the public on the 2nd February 2016. After a road trip, Chris, Scott, and Malissa decided they wanted to bring the diverse culture of barbecue cooking commonly found across the Southern states of the USA all the way to Aberdeen, and create a relaxed, family friendly, traditional barbecue joint.

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

Great attention has been paid to the decor and getting the restaurant vibe just right. Colourful murals are splashed across the walls, filament lightbulbs hang from the ceilings, and seating is either at individual tables or at the higher ‘Ledge’ pit-stop tables, designed for eaters on the move.

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

We were treated to a tour of the kitchens to see the enormous smoker; unique in Scotland and shipped all the way from America… imagine the team’s frustration when it arrived and they couldn’t fit it in through the front door?! Luckily with the quick hire of a crane and the removal of a second floor window, the behemoth was located carefully into its new home.

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

All meat is slow smoked in an authentic American ‘low and slow’ style, and is sold to the eater by weight, directly from the smoker. I’m told it’s all very, very tasty.

So; onto the good stuff! What can a vegetarian expect to feast on at Cue BBQ? Let me tell you – there’s a lot…

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

On this tray we were able to sample four dishes which are all available as both main meals and sides, and pride of place in the middle was the massive Monster Mushroom Burger. In the dishes were Big Mamma’s Mac n Cheese (deliciously rich and flavoured with pumpkin and thyme), Texas Rootin’ Tootin’ vegetable chilli (aromatic and smoky), Pit Boss Clay Pot BBQ Beans (fruity, saucy and very smoky), and Dirty Rice (a delicious addition to the beans or chilli). As for the burger; I wish I had a can of coke or similar to give perspective, but the size of the patty was absolutely huge. A ‘mushroom burger’ in a restaurant usually means a SINGLE portobello mushroom with salad in a bap, accompanied by a ridiculous price tag. This burger is an original in its field however, with the huge patty consisting of smoky cooked mushrooms and vegetables fried in panko breadcrumbs, served with pickled mushrooms, relish and salad.

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

On to another tray of delights, and here we have a selection of some of the other side dishes available to accompany your meal. Potato salad, Red House Slaw, Rainbow Unicorn House Pickles (my favourite!), Coleslaw, and Cornbread muffins. Cornbread isn’t something that you often find outside of America, and it was one of my favourite things to eat alongside a bowl of chilli back when I lived in Texas. The guys have absolutely nailed this recipe, and eating it brought back great memories.

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

There is also a range of tacos – vegetable, pork and fish – which explode everywhere with deliciousness as you enjoy them. I especially enjoyed topping these with some of the Angus and Oink sauces which were on the table as well. If you find one you particularly like, you can even buy a jar to take home with you. My favourite was the ‘Red Dawg Apache’, but the ‘Voodoo Mango’ was pretty special as well; just watch out for the kick!

Cue BBQ Aberdeen

Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat any more food, taster trays of desserts arrived. Anyone who knows me knows that my ‘pudding stomach’ is a very real thing, and it doesn’t matter how much I’ve eaten, I will always have room for dessert. We got to try slices of the Bannoffee pie (creamy decadence),  Pecan pie (sticky and spicy) and the Key Lime Cheesecake (refreshing and juicy).

I rolled home fit to burst and singing the praises of Cue BBQ to a very jealous husband. I’m so glad I decided to come along and visit Cue BBQ as the vegetarian offerings actually far surpass many other restaurants in Aberdeen. When you’ve eaten one beetroot and goats cheese tart you’ve eaten them all – and don’t even get me started on the omnipresent mushroom bloody risotto!  It’s safe to say we will be back very soon, and what’s more; on the weekends they even do an all day BRUNCH!

Thank you so much to Cue BBQ for having me and the Aberdeen Bloggers for the lovely company!

Cue BBQ – http://www.cuebbq.co.uk/ – 1 Alford Lane, Aberdeen – 01224 589109

RECIPE: Haggis Cannelloni

Two weeks ago on the 25th of January it was a very special day; not only was it Burns‘ night, but it was also the birthday of my darling betrothed. With the confluence of these two great annual events came the opportunity to showcase my dazzling culinary skills and create a delicious birthday meal for Kynon. Both of us love Haggis (I stick with the vegetarian option of course), so I decided to make a Haggis based dish with an unusual twist and decided to make Haggis Cannelloni.

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My Mum first made this dish for me years ago, and inspired by it I have since experimented with haggis as a mince substitute on a couple of occasions, creating haggis lasagne and haggis tacos. It’s really quite a simple recipe but it just takes a little time to prepare the various components before assembling the dish for baking. It can be incredibly healthy as well (depending on how much cheese you put on the top), and can be made vegan by exchanging the ricotta for a vegan soft-cheese substitute.

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Vegetarian Haggis is made with lentils, grains and beans so is a great protein-packed food for vegetarian athletes. Lots of spinach also adds a nutritional punch as well.
This recipe will give you 4 hearty servings, or you could stretch it a bit further if you’re serving with accompaniments such as bread and and salad.

Haggis Cannelloni by Rhona Mitchell

Prep time: 20 mins, bake time: 40 mins

Ingredients
250g vegetarian haggis
Box of dry cannelloni
150g fresh baby spinach
40g fresh basil (chopped finely)
150g mushrooms (chopped finely)
2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped finely)
125g ricotta cheese
Large jar of tomato pasta sauce (I used 660g Lloyd Grossman Tomato and Basil)
Bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1tsp olive oil

Method
1. Set your over to pre-heat to 200C. Cook your haggis as per the packet instructions and set aside in a bowl to cool.

20130125_1752512. Finely chop basil, garlic and mushrooms

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3. Heat the oil in a large wok and saute the garlic, mushrooms, basil and spinach until the spinach is completely wilted.

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4. Add the sauteed vegetables and ricotta cheese to your bowl of haggis and mix thoroughly.

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5. Blanch cannelloni in salted water and set aside out of the water to cool.

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6. Fill the cannelloni with haggis mixture using a blunt knife – push the mixture to the middle first of all then stuff each end til they are full.

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7. Place filled cannelloni in a greased baking dish. Fill as many as you like – just make sure you have enough tomato sauce to cover them! I did two layers.

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8. Cover the cannelloni in sauce, making sure no pasta edges are peeking out.

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9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, then add your shredded mozzarella and cook until brown and bubbly – probably about another 15 minutes.

Leave to cool for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven, then serve and enjoy with lots of wine and bread!

Minor Progress and a Recipe

I do apologise for the large periods of silence around these parts lately. I’ve been stretched rather thinly in the real world so unfortunately when that happens blogging tends to be put on the back burner, but I’m happy to report that all is well and it’s good busy, not bad busy!

I’ve been having minimal trouble from my knee and ITB issues. I really think the sports massage treatment I had last week did a great job – what exactly it did I am not sure, but I’m certainly feeling the benefits. I went out on Sunday with the intention of doing 6 miles along the Deeside Railway line, but I felt so relaxed and happy that I decided to keep going and in the end ran 11 miles in 1:35. That’s 8:40 pace!! It was one of those runs where I completely found my groove and was able to push out mile after mile at a decent clip. The weather was a little odd however – I was wearing a tank top and shorts with sunglasses as it was sunny when I left. At mile 9 when it started pelting hail and snow, I began receiving some very odd looks from dog walkers and other people hurrying home…

We’ve been plagued with really bad weather recently and I have to admit my shorter runs have suffered – it is not possible to squeeze in short runs in between day and evening work when it is pouring with rain. I frequently work front-of-house at concerts so looking presentable is a must – not easy to do after taking an alfresco shower in the great outdoors.

I think I may have lost some of the blinding optimism of my last post – Baker Hughes is now only 9 days away and the prospect of knocking out six sub-8 miles on the trot is as scarey and alien as ever, but perhaps not completely out of reach. I am mindful of the fact that there is another 10k shortly after Baker Hughes (The Running Shop Beach 10k, on 12th June) which is entirely flat and without the crowds of Baker Hughes so that may well be a better bet for me to achieve my sub-50 goal, but I am still out to destroy my PB of 52:36 on May 20th and celebrate the start of my 3rd year of racing with a strong race.

It’s been some time since I’ve posted about food on the blog, so to make a change from endless narcissistic chat about my 10k training I’d like to share this recipe with you which I created and enjoyed this week. As a vegetarian ‘athlete’ I get asked quite frequently what on earth I eat to fuel my running, and honestly the answer depends on what I’m training for. In general however, I try to eat a diet as full of as many different fruits, vegetables, grains and pulses as possible, I tend to steer clear of dairy and eggs as much as I can (although I am not vegan) and am concious of sneaky added salts and sugar that can creep in to my diet when I’m not looking.

Processed food in general is a no-no for me, and instead of buying ready meals to eat throughout the week when I’m short on time, I prefer to make a big pot of something at the start of the week which will last a few dinners. This particular dish is a prime example of a typical meal which I enjoy; except this was given an unusual twist when I got the chance to use a somewhat unusual ingredient…

Last weekend my gentleman friend and I were enjoying some unnecessary and indulgent food shopping around some of the boutique specialist premises in the West End of Aberdeen and we came across this Garlic Beer. My love for unusual alcoholic beverages is well documented here, so unsuprisingly I picked up a bottle of this when I saw it on the shelves at Hammerton Stores. When I took it to the till (alongside bottles of Brewdog Paradox Jura, Bitch Please Islay Cask, several smelly cheeses, vegetable pates and a loaf of locally made bread…) the server asked me if I was going to cook with it! The thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but then later in the evening when we tried the beer it seemed like quite a good idea.

I poured a small glass to try it – it’s very, very aromatic and smells just like freshly crushed garlic. It tastes immediately like a hoppy IPA but follows with an intense garlic flavour which sticks around in your mouth for some time. It is certainly not a session beer! I have to admit I struggled to finish the small glass and immediately got to thinking about how I could use the rest.

Garlic Beer and Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:

  • Box of chestnut mushrooms
  • 2 x medium onions
  • 1 x pepper
  • 1 x large courgette
  • Bag of quorn chunks or similar (I used Asda’s own brand)
  • Half can of Chickpeas (drained)
  • Small can of sweetcorn
  • Can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 pint of GARLIC BEER!
  • 300ml Vegetable stock

Method:

Heat a decent swig of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and lightly fry onions until soft.
Add chunkily chopped mushrooms, courgette and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
Gently add half of the beer and the vegetable stock and cook for further minute or two.
Add can of tomatoes, sweetcorn, chickpeas and quorn chunks, stir well, add spices and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes.
Add remainder of beer and simmer until desired sauce thickness is reached.

Spices

This recipe is fairly adaptable in that you could season it in many different ways – I went for a spicy Cajun flavour but you could as easily add a blend of Indian, Middle Eastern or Italian spices to creat a completely different dish. I mixed approximately 1tsp each of garlic powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, chilli powder and thyme into the pan, alongside a couple of dashes of liquid smoke. Being a huge hot-head I also used around a tablespoon of my current hot sauce of choice, 100% Pain.

I served this with cous-cous and wholemeal pitta bread. It was amazing and this pan gave me two more dinners. You could easily replace the Garlic beer with your favourite Stout or IPA perhaps, if you can spare some that is. I will certainly be trying beer in more of my recipes – it gave the stew a unique flavour and depth which was very enjoyable!

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