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.

RHUBARB, PEAR & GINGER JAM

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. It seems like the stuff is everywhere you look right now – one of the wonderful things about this time of year. Is it just me or is it one of the most underrated veg (yup – not a fruit!) out there when it comes to comfort food. Think crumbles, pies, cakes, anything that you want to smother with custard (or ice cream if you’re a weird custard hater like me) on a rainy afternoon. Even those delicious rhubarb and custard sweets that I had a mild obsession with as a child, it’s one of those nostalgic flavours, and let’s face it, it’s just bloody tasty stuff.

Homemade rhubarb pear and ginger jam in a jar. Bowl off granola topped with yogurt and cereal.

Recently I drank a bottle of the most delicious Rhubarb and Ginger gin liqueur – YES I DRANK THE WHOLE BOTTLE DON’T JUDGE ME. In fact if you must know, I drank it for breakfast the weekend on my birthday, turning thirty-three is hard ok?!

Anyway… it got me to thinking about this huge rhubarb patch in our garden which I’m ashamed to say has gone neglected for the last few years since we’ve lived here – shocking I know! I suppose it’s one of those things where I’ve always had good intentions of harvesting a batch and whipping up all manner of delicious desserts, but never quite got round to it and next thing you know it’s always become overrun with snails and eventually withered away. Whoops!

Well not this year. Since I’ve spent about ninety-six hours watching cooking shows in the last month alone and and this colourful and easily foraged treat seems to pop up in every other dessert at the moment, I decided not to let it go to waste this time around, I decided to cook some bloody rhubarb!

Hand holding a bunch of fresh rhubarb picked from a garden

Just a bunch of GIGANTIC rhubarb freshly picked from the garden – all snails gently removed…

Make sure you fully remove the leafs as they are actually toxic, and will definitely not make for a yummy pie.

Rhubarb is at it’s peak in April and May, so if you still have any in the garden, get it while it’s still good!

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – I am no Mary Berry, so my first attempt at rhubarb cookery had to be something simple, and you can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned jam…right? Read on for my ‘recipe’ – a term I use very loosely as let’s face it, I don’t actually have a clue what I’m talking about and I can’t be arsed to use proper measurements, so if you do feel like giving this a bash, I’d recommend tightly crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

The Recipe…

Preparation time – 15 mins

Cooking time – 45 mins (ish!)

Ingredients

  • Three large rhubarb stalks ( I told you I don’t measure shit so don’t be asking for grams!)
  • Two small pears
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water

Method

  • After removing the leaves, wash the stalks thoroughly and chop in to 2cm(ish) chunks. Now at this point if you were following a proper recipe, you’d coat in the sugar and leave for a couple of hours, but since we’re following the patented Becca Walker ‘can’t be arsed’ method, I didn’t bother pissing around with that, so it’s your call if you do or not. If not go ahead and chuck in to a pan!
  • Chop the pears in to large chunks (they’ll take break down much quicker than the rhubarb).
  • Add the sugar, lemon juice and ginger. I used the lazy stuff out of a jar – do you see a theme developing here? Heat until the sugar dissolves and is boiling gently. I should probably mention that you should be using about twice the amount of sugar, and that it should in fact be proper jam sugar which contains pectin (a thickening agent), however in an attempt to make this recipe ‘low sugar’, my logic determined that if I used half the sugar, added water and just cooked it for about three times as long it would turn out just fine. Probably.
  • Add the water and boil gently, stirring often for 30-40 minutes – or until thick and sticky!
  • Ladle in to a jar, allow to cool fully any enjoy!

Moroccan style bowl filled with granola topped with yogurt and homemade rhubarb jam

So there you have it, an idiots version of a half arsed rhubarb, pear and ginger jam, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s that this stuff tastes bloody fantastic! It’s great on pretty much anything, but my particular fave is to top any kind of granola (I used apple and cinnamon) with some natural yogurt and a nice big dollop of jam as a delicious and healthy breakfast.

Maybe I’ll learn to follow proper recipes one day, but until then I’ll just keep winging it, and I sincerely hope that they might work for some of you guys too!

Until next time,

B x

THE WANDERING BARTENDER – COCKTAIL CLASSES THAT COME TO YOU [AD-GUEST]

When I think of cocktails, there are very few negatives that spring to mind – but if I really rack my brain I could come up with just one…that I don’t have my own personal bartender to serve them to me in the comfort of my own home. Well thanks to The Wandering Bartender, you can make that dream a reality.

The brainchild of Mark Herbert and partner, the Wandering Bartender is the most fantastic enterprise offering cocktail making masterclasses that come to you. Hen parties? They’ve got you covered! Team building events? Always better with gin, right?! Whether it’s a birthday, engagement, or just a Friday night in with the girls, TWB will bring you all the fun of a night on the tiles at any venue of your choosing, and you’ll even get a bit of education thrown in there for good measure 😉

When myself and the rest of the blogging gang were invited along to try out a masterclass for ourselves, the answer was a very definite yes. When we were invited along to try out a cocktail masterclass at a castle no less… the answer was a resounding ‘HELL YES!’. The Barn at Barra was to be the setting for the day, so having a reason to dress up a bit swish as we made this stunning wedding venue and it’s scenic surroundings our home for the afternoon, added to the excitement even more.

The event was shaping up to be a pretty epic collaboration, with sponsors such as Hotel Chocolat donating delicious sweet liqueurs, Aelder Elixer providing their rosehip rum liqueur & elderberry elixir, Lind and Lime for their lime infused gin, The Bitter Truth who produce a delicious golden falernum, Snawstorm for their unique Scottish Vodka, and Walter Gregor’s on craft tonic water.


After a warm welcome, a cold crisp gin and a little catch up time, it was time to get down to business. On the menu for the day were a 1930’s Cosmopolitan, a Chester Jester, a Bramble and a Disaronno sours (an absolute fave of mine!). During the super fun and interactive class, Mark took to the bar, sharing his expert knowledge with the group, and testing our own knowledge along the way. With over ten years experience and having worked in cocktail bars all over the world, it’s safe to say that this guy really knows his stuff!

Learning the origins of the cocktails and ingredients along the way, we began to feel like cocktail connoisseurs ourselves, but we were all dying to get down to the most fun part of the day, getting hands on and having a go at making them ourselves. Mark gave us some pretty impressive and skilled demos, and it wasn’t long before the search for volunteers to give it a bash ourselves was on. Can you take a guess at who was first in line, hand waving in the air ‘pick me!’ style..?!

A couple of gins in and full of all of the confidence of 1988 Tom Cruise, I dragged the BF up with me to get my shake on, and it was so much fun! We rustled up a couple of mean Cosmo’s with a gin twist, and the best part was we got to enjoy our own creations afterwards too, delish.

Everyone in the group got a chance to take to the bar whisk up their own tasty beverages under Mark’s expert advise and guidance, with top points going to anyone that managed not to spill and make a mess. After mixing up a storm, it was time for a break to enjoy our creations.

Just when we thought that this afternoon couldn’t be going any better, the gentle reminder that food was also on the agenda set our stomachs rumbling, and probably not a moment to soon with the drinks going down a little too well…

Now the expectation was for a few bar snacks, maybe an olive or two, but what we were met with was the most astonishing smorgasbord of divine looking deli food I had ever laid eyes on!

Food provided by @byplatter

I mean seriously, have you ever seen such a stunning display of delicious delicacies?! It was almost too beautiful to eat…ALMOST.

Byplatter who provided this phenomenal spread are the most incredible catering company who provide sumptuous grazing tables tailored to you, comprised of seasonal and locally sourced produce. Platters include artisan cheeses, chutneys, charcuterie, breads, deli foods, sweet treats, you name it, and you absolutely must give them a try the next time you’re hosting an event that required relaxed dining, because now that Byplatter have landed, pitiful buffets full of soggy sandwiches can be a thing of the past.

What an unbelievable combination of artfully prepared cocktails and fantastic food, all in the most stunning location imaginable. I’ve definitely had worse afternoons…

Huge thanks to The Wandering Bartender for having us along for an unforgettable afternoon. If you would like to book your very own cocktail masterclass with TWB (which I highly recommend you do!) you can do so by getting in touch via Instagram HERE or facebook HERE.

Until next time,

B x