ABERDEEN RESTAURANT WEEK AT KOI THAI [Ad]

I’m genuinely quite ashamed to admit that since the opening of Koi Thai just over a year ago, it’s taken me until this week to actually pay a visit – especially given that it’s about a minute and a half’s walk from my front door.

Sure we have lockdown to take in to account, but given the buzz that has surrounded this fabulous restaurant located right in the heart of Rosemount since it made it’s debut back in September 2019, I feel like my status as a supposed foodie should officially be revoked for having somehow bypassed it until now.

With Aberdeen Restaurant Week back in full swing and with myself returning as an ARW ambassador to help spread the good word to the food lovers of Aberdeen about where to find the best eats in town, I always make a point of visiting the places that I’ve yet to frequent to try something new – I mean isn’t that the whole point? You’d better believe that Koi Thai was at the top of my list when given the option of where we fancied heading to review for you lovely lot, needing no further incentive than that they, along with loads of other partcipating venues, have three fantastic courses on offer for just £20.

Having gazed through the windows spying the swathes of content diners’ faces whenever I have passed by, it’s always been obvious that Koi Thai boasts a pretty spectacular interior, but its’s not until you actually set foot through the door that you appreciate the extent of the effort that has been put in to the design. Giving an air of true authenticity that transports you away from the bustling but grey streets of Rosemount, to what could could be the centre of a vibrant marketplace in Bangkok.

From the tin roofs with suspended lighting and the street food cart inspired bar area giving you real market place feels, to the beautiful Asian design detailing with murals of elephants and even a giant Buddha on the walls, this really is a beautiful place to enjoy a great meal.

It’s not surprising in the slightest that when the Koi Thai owners made the move from being take away only to restaurant based that they were an instant hit with their existing following based on the merit of their food offering, but with a venue like this is also easy to see why customers were flocking in from the off.

The food…

Now it’s no secret that Restaurant Week is not only a time support your local food scene, but it’s also the ultimate excuse to over-indulge, which was clearly going to be the outcome of our visit here given the extent of the delectable menu items on offer.

Welcomed to our table with complimentary prawn crackers (an instant win in my book!) and a warm greeting from our bubbly server which included a full explanation of the menu and how everything could be adapted to your preferences, we were buzzing to get stuck in. The spice lovers amongst you will be delighted to know that you can up (or lower) the spice level of any main dish depending on how brave you’re feeling.

Tod Mun Khao Poad (G,S,E)

“Deep fried sweet corn blended in red curry paste, served with sweet chilli sauce.”

It’s not an exaggeration when I say that I could eat about a hundred of these tasty little corn cakes. Differing from a classic sweetcorn fritter, these have the most more-ish crispy coating, while the filling holds on to it’s juicy sweetness. For me the dipping sauce really made this a stand-out starter; rather than sweet and sticky, it was light and fresh with just the right hit of chilli to get the tongue tingling. This is definitely a starter I’d order time and time again.

Spring Rolls (G,V)

“Handmade Thai Style Spring Rolls served with sweet chilli sauce.”

Quite possibly the tastiest spring rolls I’ve ever had? I think so! The filling was fresh, fragrant and full of classic thai aromatics and finely julienned veg that quite frankly crapped all over most of the spring rolls full of indistinguishable mystery mush that I’ve had in my time. Encased in light crisp pastry without a hint of excess oiliness, these really were a delight to eat. The same sweet chilli dipping sauce mentioned above was once again the perfect accompaniment.

Panaeng Curry (F,G) 

“The famous Thai curry cooked in Panaeng Curry paste, Kaffir lime leaves, pepper and coconut milk.”

The fab thing about all of the mains on offer at Koi Thai is that with each delicious option you get the choice of chicken, pork, tofu to customise your main. Since I had opted for the famously flavoursome Panaeng curry, I decided that veg would be the best choice to let the flavour of the sauce shine, and boy did it shine! Singing of sharp lemongrass, sweet coconut and punchy spicing (this is a two chilli rated dish), the sauce was tantalising and rich, but not overpowering. The zingy, aniseedy Thai basil garnish really finished completed the flavour profile beautifully.

With a choice of jasmine rice or noodles to accompany your dish, I had chosen noodles, which was a bit of a rooky error as the curry sauce is not a thick one and would really benefit from having some rice to soak it up, but my ingrained hatred of the scent of Jasmine held me back from making the right choice. Side-note: I tried Grant’s jasmine rice out of curiosity and it was truly tasty and not at all like that jasmine perfume that used to give me the fear. Idiot.

Anyway, this was a seriously appetising plate – my only complaint being that the portion was too big too finish!

Gaeng Massaman – Thai Massaman Curry (F,G,N) 🌶

“Mild curry cooked with potatoes and onion in creamy coconut curry sauce.”

​With a much sweeter and more subtle flavouring, the Massaman curry is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, the Korma of thai cooking if you will. Low in spice but abundant in fresh flavours, the thick creamy sauce lent itself perfectly to Grant’s tofu selection – which incidentally was also cooked to perfection. The coconut flavour was predominant but tastes of cinnamon and galangal also came through for a lovely warming flavour. As predicted following my previous tasting, the jasmine rice was the perfect addition. You live and learn, right?!

Sticky toffee pudding with ice cream

After the mighty feed that we had received with the first two courses, I knew that dessert was going to be a struggle, but when sticky toffee pudding on the menu caught my eye I knew I would give it my best shot. This might not be the most traditional Thai dessert, but it’s one of my absolute favourites so I’m hard pushed to resist one on any menu.

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the sheer size of the gargantuan slice that was presented to me, what a whopper! Coated in sumptuous sweet sticky sauce, the pudding itself was moist and rich without being too dense and heavy, and even the luxuriously smooth vanilla ice cream was divine. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I near enough demolished the whole thing, it was just that damn tasty.

Banana Fritters with Coconut Milk

Expecting the batter covered bananas soaked in syrup that you often see in Chinese cuisine, we were pleasantly surprised to see something a little different emerge. The chef who came out to chat to us after our meal (always a lovely touch) explained that these were a special variety of Thai banana, which explained by they kept their shape and bite beautifully. The texture was satisfyingly chewy thanks to the candied outer, and the coconut sauce that surrounded them made this just a dream to eat.

We can’t thank Koi Thai enough for our amazing meal here. The combination of outstanding food and immaculate and genuinely friendly service left me sure that it won’t be long before we return again.

Don’t forget that the Restaurant Week menu is available right through until the 15th November, so I would advise booking in right away if you want to snap up a table this week. Head to the Koi Thai website or give them a call on 01224 478900 to get booked in. They are offering two lunch courses for £10 and three dinner courses for £20.

You can check out the rest of the amazing eateries also taking part in ARW, along with some fabulous reviews from my fellow blog squad members by heading to the ARW website here.

Until next time,

B x

P.s. This review was part of a partnership with Aberdeen Inspired. The meal was gifted, but all wiews as always are my own.

BREWDOG’S NEW VENTURE – DOGTAP ELLON

Ordinarily when I sit down to write a restaurant review, the first part of the process is a wee intro to the brand; a little ‘get to know you’ time, but today’s post comes from a brand that really need no introduction. Aberdeen born craft beer giant Brewdog is now one of the biggest success stories to come out of the North East since…well, I dunno, Butteries? The self sealing envelope..? Short of the queen of pop and funky hair-doos Annie Lennox, Brewdog basically takes the crown when it comes to most famous exports from around these parts.

Not only now a national treasure with over FIFTY venues in the UK alone, Brewdog is now also storming the globe with four breweries worldwide and a trail of bars from Barcelona to Tokyo. Pretty impressive stuff right?

Now known and visited just as much for their tasty food offerings as their incredible selection of tempting and rebellious craft beers, I’ve come to expect the need to be rolled home in a wheelbarrow after a foodie trip to Brewdog. On the menus you’ll find classic pub grub type offerings to pair perfectly with a nice cold beer, the likes of burgers and pizza’s, but always piled high and with a kick-ass Brewdog twist. With an extensive veggie and vegan offering, I’m never stuck for choice which is awesome. Classic ‘beer’ paired food tends to be pretty meat heavy so it’s always a boost to have so much variety in meat-free options; and for anyone that’s tasted their beyond legendary buffalo seitan wings before, you’ll agree with me when I say who the hell needs meat anyway!

Pint of Lost Lager at Brewdog Dogtap Ellen

Just a short half hour bus strip from the city centre, I was excited for a change of scenery, because let’s face it, going anywhere outwith a five mile radius of your own home is like a trip to the bloody Spanish Med at this point.

Approaching the building, the sheer aesthetic of the place blows you away before even setting foot in the building. Seriously impressive hand painted murals by artist Craig Fisher cover the walls from top to bottom in an array of neon colours, with depictions of fantastical sea creatures, it’s quite the sight to behold.

Given the current restrictions, we arrived early to be able to enjoy a few beers outside ahead of our meal, because let’s face it, it would have been a bloody travesty not to enjoy a pint or two when it’s as fresh as it gets from the on site brewery. With plenty of outdoor seating all complete with outdoor heaters, we were still able to enjoy a few beers despite the chilliness of the day. There are firepit tables for those extra chilly nights and even an ‘igloo’ type dome with seating and blankets for those who really can’t brave the elements.

Last week when I was invited to a preview day at the new and massively improved Dogtap venue in Ellon, I jumped at the chance to go check it out. Never having actually visited either the original or Overworks brewery location, I was full of anticipation to see how the newly revamped site with fresh eyes.

The beer…

In need of something crisp and refreshing after our journey, I started started with a pint of crowd-pleaser and favourite of mine, Lost Lager (4.7%). Citrusy and bright, this is one of my favourite thirst quenchers from Brewdog. Not wanting to venture in to anything too heavy with a full lunch still to take on, I finished with a Hazy Jane (5%) before heading indoors. This punchy IPA delivers zesty, fruity notes and a delicious tart aftertaste.

Interior view of Brewdog Dogtap bar in Ellon

Now with rumbling bellies and let’s be honest, feeling a little bit boozy (don’t drink beer for breakfast kids), we headed indoors to finally sample some scran. You can’t help but be struck by the stunning design of the bar and restaurant. With all of the classic industrial features found in Brewdog bars, blended with the cosiness of built in fire pits and warm lighting, and even a giant shark suspended from the ceiling, you instantly recognise the typical Brewdog quirk, but this venue really has a ‘next generation’ feel about it.

the food…

Featuring a few of the classics that we all know and love, you’ll also find a bunch of new and exclusive offerings at Dogtap, such as a full sourdough pizza menu and a selection of oak fired chicken that would tempt even the most stringent vegetarian, there’s something for all the family here – even a ‘Hoppy Meal’ option for the little ones.

With a burger craving hitting hard, I opted for the Temple of Seitan burger.

“temple of seitan fillet, crispy kale, sun-blushed tomato chutney & hummus served on a vegan beetroot brioche bun”. (Ve. £9.50)

Pimping my burger with extra cheese and completing it with a side of crisp salty fries and an order of blue cheese dip (the burger may be vegan but I am definitely not!), this was just what the doctor ordered. Forever baffled (but grateful) for how realistic the crispy coated ‘chicken’ fillet is, it’s always a go-to for me. With sweetness from the vibrant beetroot brioche and tangy chutney, and delicious crunch from the kale which magically kept it’s crispness to the last bite, this tasty burger delivered everything that I hoped it would. IT’s a 10/10 from me!

Predictably, Grant went for the Beyond Meat Burger, and why wouldn’t he, because those things are frickin’ delicious.

“beyond meat patty, vegan chipotle slaw, vegan gouda cheese, roasted red peppers, baby gem & pickles served on a vegan beetroot brioche bun” (Ve. £9.50)

Obviously stealing a bite to check it out for myself, this burger also hit a 10 on the tasty scale. How in the blue f**k Beyond Meat create these burgers to be so, well, meaty is beyond me – they’re just that damn good. With crunchy home made slaw and a slice of melty, oozy vegan gouda, and some nice acidic pickles, this provided classically served cheeseburger goodness that you just need sometimes.

Also sampled by our group were the Spicy Meaty sourdough pizza (‘nduja, pepperoni, chilli flakes, fresh red chillies, smashed napoli tomatoes, Scottish mozzarella – £11.50) and the Whole Oak Fired Chicken, (details not yet available online) for which you’re going to have to take our meat-eating pals word for on this, but the reviews were that it was pretty flippin’ tasty. Judging by the look and smell of that pizza though, you can bet your ass I’ll be ordering one from the veggie selection on my next visit, just look at that crisp crust and bubbling mozzarella…

It’s not often that you can make a day trip/family day out of a trip to the pub, but given that Dogtap is so much more than just your average a pub, that’s exactly what you can do here. The awesome building which is entirely carbon negative, features a separate beer school room, a games area with cool old school arcade games on the upper floor and a viewing platform into the packaging side of the brewery so that you can see the freshest cans of Punk IPA flying along the conveyor belt right before your eyes.

There’s even a sizeable beer museum for you hardcore craft beer nuts to get a wee bit of the Brewdog story firsthand.

Whether you’re in it for the beer, the food, or the element of being a tourist in your own city for the day, I wholeheartedly recommend a trip to Dogtap to check it out for yourself. I can’t wait for my next visit already. Dogtap in now open to the public, and you’ll find all of the awesome regular food deals such as 2-4-1 veggie/vegan Mondays too!

Have you been to visit Dogtap yet? Leave me a comment to let me know what you thought!

Until next time,

B x

*We were invited to this preview day with no obligation to post, so as always all views are my own.

New menu at The New Greentrees [Ad]

Over the last few years The GreenTrees pub has become something of a regular haunt, mainly due to the fact that the BF worked there for many years, and so we often pop back so that he can catch up with friends and regulars.

A favourite of many Dyce inhabitants, the Greentrees is one of those good old fashioned locals, with a bar, lounge, restaurant and function room all in one. While it’s always an enjoyable visit, sinking a pint or five over a few games of pool, I’d be lying if I said that it was the food menu that kept us coming back time after time when in the mood for a bit of gastronomy; it’s always been good hearty pub-grub. For many years now, the menu has been exactly what you’d expect from a traditional bar such as this, with classic crowd-pleasers such as fish and chips, steak and ale pie and lasagne, and the ever popular carvery on a Sunday, so when I was invited along to try out the newly revamped menu, I wasn’t expecting major transformation, but boy was I wrong!

Vegetarian food at The New Greentrees Aberdeen

With the promise of an expansive new vegan and vegetarian menu, I was more than a little intrigued to see what was in store for us. For me the test of any good eatery is always the merit of their, usually solitary and often bland as hell, veggie option, but thankfully it looked like we were going to be spoiled for choice here.

The new menu comes courtesy of Argentinian head chef Javier who has taken charge and dreamed up a more exotic and varied menu featuring dishes that wouldn’t be out of place in a high end restaurant, mixing British ghastro pub classics with dishes from around the continent. You can tell instantly that this is a man who is truly passionate about food, and has travelled the world to learn his trade. Having lived on a vegan diet himself for some time, I’m delighted to say that the vegans/veggies out there have been well and truly taken care of.

Javier has also made it a top priority of his to source as many ingredients as possible locally, tracking down top quality beef from Aberdeenshire, and veg from local suppliers. He understands the importance of supporting local businesses, but also the incredible quality of foods home grown in Scotland.

Even the bar snacks menu is seriously impressive, with a selection of baskets on offer, featuring the likes of ‘Battered scallops with chips and garlic mayo’ (drool!) and ‘pate with pickles and bread and butter’. They have seriously elevated the standard greasy and usually beige bar snack!

The food…

It’s safe to say that we were thoroughly spoiled with our trip to the Greentrees, getting to sample not just a couple, but SIX different dishes to allow us to fully explore the menu – and yes, I had to be rolled home afterwards…

Of course we we went entirely veggie; it was an absolute treat to have so many genuinely enticing meat-free options on offer, but the rest of the menu sounds equally delicious, with dishes likes of ‘Chicken Shnitzel with wild mushroom sauce’ and ‘Scottish lamb cutlets with mustard and rosemary mash’ on offer.

Here’s what we thought about each and every fabulous bite.

Vegan & Vegetarian food at The New Greentrees Aberdeen

To get our bellies warmed up for the main event, we began with the soup of the day, a delicious and aromatic sweet potato, coconut and chilli soup.

Subtly spiced and silky smooth, this was the perfect introduction to the feast that lay ahead of us.

We could hardly believe our eyes when shortly afterwards, three stunning plates of food arrived in front of us – this was going to be a challenge alright, but one that I was going to do my bloody best to rise to! Straight away I was struck by the artistic presentation, these were some seriously gorgeous plates of food that sang of careful consideration and pride of plating.

Vegetable Grill Stack

This artfully arranged stack of gorgeous grilled aubergine, courgette and baby potatoes layered with oozy melted brie and drizzled with a tangy tomato compote really hit the spot. Bursting with flavour thanks to the herb oil and balsamic glaze garnish, this dish wouldn’t have been out of place in a high end restaurant. It was almost too pretty to eat…but not quite, and boy was I glad I ate it! With dishes as flavoursome as this, it’s easy to forget that meat was ever on the menu.

Grilled Goats Cheese Salad

Though simplistic in nature, this salad was possibly my favourite dish of the night. The generous round of freshly baked goats cheese was perfectly offset by the sweet delicious pear and tart raspberry dressing, with none of that more-ish goats cheese going to waste thanks to the soft brown bread served alongside it. This really is a dish that I could eat over and over again.

Wild Mushroom and Pea Risotto

I’d like to take a moment here to just say YUM.

All to often risotto’s are the easy way out when it comes to imagining a veggie option, but this one arrived here with a purpose. With the fully present earthy woody flavours of wild mushrooms and the sumptuous texture of a lovingly prepared risotto all pulled together with spot-on seasoning, this dish is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Elevated comfort food at it’s finest. Can I eat this all over again please?

Greentrees Halloumi Burger with Chilli Sauce

No sooner than we had just about managed to polish off the first four dishes (diet absolutely starts Monday…) Javier appeared once again brandishing a lethal looking halloumi burger, insisting that we just HAD to try it. Well, it would have been rude not to, right?

With a more than generous hunk of halloumi grilled to perfection between a sweet brioche, it was crisp on the outside, and soft and chewy in the middle, just the way it should be. The chilli sauce was sticky and sweet, with a decent kick, and offset the salty savoury halloumi perfectly. Complete with the classic burger serve of homemade slaw, fries and salad, this was a triumph of a burger offering, and one I’ll be ordering time and time again when we next visit.

For all of the non veggies out there, the beef burger is sure to satisfy, hailing from Inverness and 28 days hung it’s bound to be super tasty, and offers a variety of awesome toppings to choose from.

Churros.

Need I say any more? I mean just Churros – if you’re not a fan then we need to have serious words.

Actually I do need to say more, because not only was this sweet, doughy, crisp Argentinian classic fried to perfection and drizzled with delicious chocolate sauce, there was also chocolate INSIDE the churros. I don’t know what kind of voodoo this is, but I’m 100% here for it.

The New Greentrees have seriously outdone themselves with this new menu thanks to Javier’s inspired input, so for all us city dwellers looking for somewhere different to dine out now and then, the short trip to Dyce to check out ‘The Trees’ as it’s usually referred to by locals is well and truly worth it. Family friendly and with something for everyone, there really is no excuse not to pay a visit and try out the incredible new menu.

Head to the facebook page to check out the full menu for yourself by clicking HERE or give them a call on 01224 799990 to book a table.

Serious thanks once again to The GreenTrees for inviting us to try out their fabulous new fare, we’ll be back again soon for sure!

Until next time,

B x

*** EDIT – this meal was gifted pre-lockdown, so menus and menu items may now be different to those shown in the review, check out the facebook page or get in touch with The Green Trees directly for any queries! As always, all views are my own.

SUMMER STYLING WITH LITTLE LIES [Ad]

Shopping small with independent brands has never been so important, now is absolutely the time to be championing new and local companies who like most of us out there, will still be struggling to readjust and recuperate from the effects of lockdown. Amongst the seas of fashion conglomerates firing out fast and disposable trend based garments more rapidly than you can keep up, it’s easy for the little guys to get left out and fall behind – they have to work ten times harder to make a success of their businesses because let’s face it, it’s a dog eat dog world out there.

One such small business that’s out there thriving and making serious waves right now, and one that I’ve had my eye on for a very long time is Dundee based boho brand Little Lies. This is one badass company with a ‘hell yeah!’ attitude and the spirit or rock ‘n’roll at heart.

“Little Lies is inspired by great tunes and beautiful things. We love seventies boho style, anything to do with Led Zepplin and all things festival. Our name comes from the classic Fleetwood Mac song, which cements our brands musical influences. Stevie Nicks in the seventies is our classic Little Lies customer. Amazing boho style with her own stamp. “

Little lies is a brand for all the rebels out there. Those who don’t conform to the masses and who take no bullshit in life. It’s a brand for all the free-spirited wild things out there, and it has music at it’s core. Think band tees, Glastonbury essentials, floaty dresses and fabulous sunglasses. If ever there was a brand that catered to about 90% of my wardrobe must haves, this is it!

Needless to say I was buzzing off my wee chops when they got in touch about working together. Their collection of carefully considered and curated pieces is an everything that a rock ‘n’ roll gal needs in her life, so choosing just a couple of pieces to feature was a near impossible task, because I want EVERYTHING on their site.

The Little Lies philosophy is one of sustainability and showing the garments you choose to buy the love and care that they deserve. It’s all to easy to get sucked in to throw-away culture that fast fashion encourages these days, but with these timeless pieces you’ll be wearing them for years to come, and feeling like a fucking rockstar every time you do.

With this in mind, I eventually picked two pieces that spoke to me about the spirit of summer, and ones that I knew I could style in a million different ways , and which would continue to give a totally awesome and unique vibe every single time.

Songbird Kimono Sleeve Top – £36

If there was ever one single staple item that could get you through any possible summers day scenario, it’s this little beauty right here. Festivals? Hell yeah. Beers in the sun? Absofuckinglutely. Sunday dinner with the in laws? Sure, why not, the dads will love it.

With gorgeous intricate crochet detail and the most dreamy floaty sleeves, this top is just a perfect little slice of boho pie, and I adore it.

This top is one size, but thanks to a draw string under the bust you can pull it in for a more shapely fit.

Think About Me Wrap Dress – £44

Another floaty sleeve number? Me? Never……

Ok so I have a thing with sleeves. Is it any wonder when the dress they’re on is as gorgeous as this little floral ditsy number?

This would be just as perfect dressed up with a pair of heels to a boozy brunch as it would styled with a pair of chunky boots and a hat at a gig shaking your thing . It’s got EVERYTHING.

Sizing on this one runs from 8-10, 10-12 to 12-14. I chose the 10-12 which leaves a bit of wiggle room, but the great thing about this is that it also has a drawstring to cinch the waist.

There is absolutely no doubt that these variations of these outfits will be on repeat steering me through the rest of the season for as long as the sun shines. We’ve simply GOT to start loving more and wasting less when it comes to the garments we choose to invest in.

Psssst…did you know that Little Lies have a Plus size range too reaching a size 28? Hell yeah to making every babe count!

Not only do Little Lies curate the most awesome collection of rock ‘n’ roll badassery when it comes to your wardrobe, but the also do a whole bunch of other cool stuff too. Homeware, accessories, jewellery, you’ve got it babes.

Here are a few of my top picks for from the site…

Metal Bison Skull Wall Decor – £34

Western style is just bloody cool, right? I’m dying to bring a little bit of the West in to my home too and this incredible silver anatomical bison skull is the ideal was to do it. It’s very firmly on my shopping list!


Straight To Hell Studded Biker Jacket – £98

Got a problem? Nah, didn’t think so. Trust me when I say that no one is going to fuck with you when you’re wearing this insane jacket! The best part? It’s faux leather, so the vegans can be badass too.

Available in sizes 8-22.


Sand Concho Fedora – £22.

Because I need another hat like a need a hole in the head…but boy is this one pretty. The perfect neutral to go with absolutely anything, and just look at that straight up cowboy detail on the trim. Swoon.


Led Zeppelin ’77 Band Tee – £25.

Every good rock chick needs a good band tee, and they don’t come more rockin’ than Led Zeppelin. Wear with literally anything, or better still, wear with nothing.

Availlable in sizes S – XXL.


Gold Snake Earrings – £16.

Don’t be a snake in the grass. Wear them on your ears and make a real statement instead. I’m a sucker for gold jewellery and this pair has got me all rattled up.

Not only do Little Lies have an incredibly cool website where you can browse for what seems like forever getting some serious style inspo, but you can also visit them at their store at 17 Union Street, Dundee. Road trip anyone?

Click HERE to check out the range yourself!

Until next time,

B x

*PRODUCTS IN THIS POST WERE KINDLY GIFTED, BUT THE VIEWS AS ALWAYS ARE MY OWN!

COOKING WITH FRESH MEX [Ad]

Serious question time – is there anything better than Mexican food?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be a lifelong pizza gal (I’m not forgetting about you boo), and generally I’m a fan of most cuisines from around the world because let’s face it, I just really like FOOD, but there really is just something fabulous about Mexican food. For me it’s all about the super fresh produce, layers of deep smokey flavours, and of course, a good old whack of belly-warming spice.

When it comes to comfort food it just doesn’t get better than a good burrito or a big old pot of chilli, and one of my favourite places to get my tortilla wrapped fix is Fresh Mex in Aberdeen. Since 2015 they’ve been working their asses off to rightly assume their throne as the head honchos of Tex-Mex food, serving ‘nacho’ average grub to the masses from their burrito bar in central Schoolhill, Deliveroo, and more recently also from the Adams bar on Holburn Street.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that since the start of this crazy Lockdown, all of our fave restaurants and diners have been putting their heads together to come up with amazing and inventive ways for us to be able to enjoy their dining experiences and amazing products at home, and not one to miss out on the trend, Fresh Mex have come up with a pretty fabulous way for you to have some fun in the kitchen and create some awesome Tex-Mex recipes of your own at home. Enter Fresh Mex Seasoning Kits!

The kits…

Fresh Mex have taken all of the classic seasonings and spices that they use in their flavoursome recipes and created these incredible and easy to use aromatic kits that can lend themselves to just about any Tex-Mex recipe, so when they got in touch and asked me to have a go at creating some of my own recipes at home, the answer was a resounding , , sí!

Here are the two seasoning kits and what they’re all about:

TEX RUB – SWEET & SMOKEY SEASONING KIT – £2.50/50g

‘Bring the authentic taste of Texas to your table with our quick & easy to use Tex Rub! Just add our seasoning mix to meat or vegetables to create a dish that’s bursting with FRESH, sweet and smokey flavour.’

MEX RUB – SWEET & MILD SEASONING KIT – £2.50/50g

‘Bring flavour inspired by the bustling streets of Mexico to your kitchen with our quick and easy to use Mex Rub. Just add our seasoning mix to meat or vegetables to create a dish that’s bursting with FRESH fiesta flavour!

Both kits are free of artificial flavours and preservatives, and are vegan friendly, hurray! The possibilities are endless with these expertly assembled mixes, but for me it there was only ever going to be one option…BRUNCH! The meal that combines two of my favourite eating experiences, breakfast and lunch, made all the better with some smokey and spicy paprika filled goodness, and washed down with a Fresh Mex Lime Lager, this was going to be a pretty perfect Sunday.

Now of course these rubs are going to be insanely good for meat and fish dishes, but as always it’ll be veggie all the way for me, and it’ll just just as bloody good, I guarantee it 😉

The recipes…

HUEVOS RANCHEROS (V)

If you ask me, Huevos Rancheros (or ‘ranchers eggs’) is about as close as it gets to perfection when it comes to a delicious Sunday brunch. Traditionally eaten for breakfast by Mexican farmers, this is a hearty dish designed to keep you fuelled up for a hard days work – but is equally good for if you plan on doing nothing more than sitting on your ass sipping a few cold beers on a sunny afternoon – we don’t judge.

This is an incredibly flavoursome baked egg dish consisting of a rustic tomato and bean base, usually served on a tortilla, but for the purposes of this recipe I’ve skipped the tortilla in favour of a side of tasty AF sweetcorn fritters (stay tuned for the recipe for those!).

Preparation time – 5 mins

Cooking time – 30-35 mins

Serves – 4

Ingredients

Flatlay of ingredients needed to make Huevos Rancheros using the Fresh Mex Sweet and Smokey Tex Rub
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • FRESH MEX Tex Rub
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (or passata if it’s all you had in the cupboard like me!)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1 tin of mixed/black beans (any will work!)
  • fresh coriander
  • 1/2 lime
  • 4 large eggs
  • To Garnish – 1 medium avocado, 1 spring onion, coriander, sharp cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C
  2. Bring a couple of spoons of vegetable oil to a medium heat in a large pan. Finely dice the onion, garlic and chilli and add to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is nice and soft.
  3. Chop the fresh tomato and yellow pepper in to roughly 1cm pieces and add to the pan along with a decent whack of roughly chopped coriander. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Time to get the Tex Rub involved! We went with about 1 1/2 tbsps because I love a lot of flavour, but this is a powerful mix so start small and taste as you go along if you’re not feeling too brave,
  5. Add tinned tomatoes and your drained and rinsed beans along with a fat squeeze of lime and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer your tasty mix to an ovenproof dish, crack your eggs on top with even spaces between them (i.e one per quarter if you’re using a square dish). Season eggs with salt and pepper and whack the whole lot in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes (just check that your eggs are cooked – they should still be a little runny!)
  7. Once cooked, garnish with slices of fresh avo, chopped spring onion, grated cheddar and more fresh coriander, plus an extra sprinkling of your Tex Rub for good measure and serve immediately!

SPICY SWEETCORN FRITTERS (Vg)

One of my all time favourite brekkies is a stack of golden sweetcorn fritters topped with avo and a poached egg with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, you just can’t beat it. It’s sweet, it’s savoury, and it’s just flippin’ delicious. When it came to dreaming up my perfect Tex-Mex Brunch, I knew that these tasty little cakes of goodness were going to be the perfect accompaniment – with a Fresh Mex twist of course!

Get to work on these guys while your Huevos are baking away in the oven.

Preparation time – 5 mins

Cooking time – 6 minutes

Serves – 4 (or two if you’re extra hungry!)

Ingredients

Flatlay of ingredients needed to make sweetcorn fritter recipe using Fresh Mex Sweet & Mild Mex Rub
  • 200g sweetcorn
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • coriander
  • Dairyfree (or regular!) milk
  • plain flour
  • salt & pepper
  • FRESH MEX Mex Rub
  • To garnish – lambs lettuce, cherry tomatoes, coriander, lime wedges
  • To drizzle (optional, but tasty!) – mayo & yogurt (vegan or regular), lime, Mex Rub.

Method

  1. Finely dice the chilli and spring onion and crush the garlic. Roughly chop a small bunch of coriander and add everything to the sweetcorn in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, make a batter mix by adding about 50mls milk to about 100g seived flour and mix until smooth. Season with salt & pepper and about 1 tbsp of your Fresh Mex Mex Rub and mix again.
  3. Add the batter mix to your fresh ingredients a few spoons at a time – (my ‘measurements’ are rough as hell so better to start slow and judge it as you go along!) Your mixture should be thick enough to hold together without being too runny or sloppy.
  4. Bring about 1cm of vegetable oil to a high heat in a large flat pan, and when hot, carefully spoon your mix in to the pan, evenly spaced apart. Your fritters should be about 12cm in diameter.
  5. Fry for about 3 minutes on the first side until golden then flip and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes on the other side. Remove and allow to sit on some kitchen roll for another minute before serving.

Optional but awesome… While your fritters are sitting, scatter some lambs lettuce and some sliced cherry toms on to a serving platter. Serve the fritters on top. In a small bowl, mix a spoon of light mayo, a spoon of low fat yogurt, a large squeeze of lime and 1 tsp of your Smokey Tex Rub and mix well. Drizzle over the fritters, add a couple of lime wedges and go to town on those bad boys!

As a wee extra (because I love me an excessive amount of food lube!) we whipped up a delicious Avocado and lime dip to serve alongside everything. Just add 1 medium avo, about 100mls low fat greek yogurt, two garlic cloves, the juice of a whole lime, a small bunch of coriander and some salt and pepper to a blender and job’s a good ‘un! Oh and don’t forget to sprinkle a little of your fave Fresh Mex spice rub to serve 😉

Now all that’s left to do is gather your crew round the table, crack open a cold Lime Lager, dig in and enjoy! This really is the perfect brunch for sharing with friends or family, so get stuck in and have a good time.

Recipes cooked using Fresh Mex seasoning kits. Huevos Rancheros, Mexican spiced Sweetcorn Fritters, avocado and lime dip.

If you want to give creating your own Fresh Mex recipe a go, you can pick up the seasoning kits, either by ordering online, or you can pick them up at a whole host of locations by clicking HERE. You can even order the super refreshing Lime Lager here too!

If you give this recipe a try or come up with some of your own, I’d love to know so don’t forget to leave a comment.

Until next time

B x

Note – the products in this post were gifted, but the opinions and recipes are my own!