Veg out restaurant review- Gusto, West Bridgford

Veg out restaurant review- Gusto, West Bridgford

I’d heard mixed reviews about the new Gusto restaurant in West Bridgford (the site of the former Monkey Tree pub), so it was an obvious place to visit to check out their veggie options.

GustoThese days all the info you need is online, a quick look at their menu and I was pleasantly surprised to see a note about vegetarian cheese. That’s something I don’t see every day. It makes life so must easier as a vegetarian to know which of the cheeses are suitable.

As I was making a booking for a large number we had to pre-book which gave me an opportunity to talk through the veggie options. The restaurant was really accommodating and helpful; their goat’s cheese is veggie friendly so that could be substituted for all the other cheeses. They also suggested an option that wasn’t on their regular menu

 

So on Saturday night 11 of us arrived and we were quickly taken to our table. It was a higher than average table with bigger chairs, and when you’re only small they are a bit tricky and heavy to manoeuvre; needles to say lots of shuffling took place!

gusto inside

To say the place was buzzing is an understatement. It was chocker, but that meant (as with many modern establishments) it was very noisy, making it hard to hear everyone.   The noise levels weren’t helped by the occasional clatter of plates and cutlery being dropped by the staff as they descend the stairs with large, full round trays.

NP Gusto

 

My review is also online at the Nottingham Post and will be in the hard copy tomorrow

http://www.nottinghampost.com/gusto-in-west-bridgford-was-really-accommodating-and-helpful-says-veggie-food-reviewer/story-30277092-detail/story.html

Our order was checked for any changes and after 20 minutes or so our starters arrived. My generously proportioned roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad was delicious and looked very healthy. It also happened to be vegan. The other winners were Caesar salad with chicken, mussels, hummus (with a huge flat bread!) and garlic mushrooms. The pate however didn’t pass muster as it was lacking flavour and would have benefited from more bread, but on the whole we were a happy bunch

 

On to the main course I plumped for a dish suggested by the restaurant that wasn’t on their menu ‘sweet and sour aubergine with polenta chips’. I’m not a big sweet and sour fan (it often tastes artificial) but when the plate arrived it smelt amazing, more Asian spices than saccharin sweetness. It was a whole roasted aubergine that had been cooked to the point of collapse; in my opinion the only way to eat aubergine. And the polenta chips were unbelievable; crispy on the outside soft and squidgy in the middle. A big hit with everyone that tried to steal one off my plate

gusto aubergi

My fellow dinners enjoyed their pizzas (lovely thin crispy bases), roast chicken and meatballs. A couple of friends said their tagliatelle and prawns and the cod and lentils were unexpectedly sweet.

 

We toyed with the idea of having the chocolate and hazelnut brownie, the sticky toffee pudding or the mini doughnuts with cream and chocolate sauce. But in the end we were just too full.

 

Overall the restaurant coped well with a large party on a very busy night and for the most part our food was very tasty. I really enjoyed my vegan meal and would be happy to order that again.

 

A few of things to note though; As a veggie/vegan it would be really helpful to have the ‘V’ or ‘VG’ symbol on the menu when making food choices. It looks like the on line menu has changed and my delicious salad is now longer listed, might be worth checking with the restaurant. And my main course wasn’t on the menu so if you are struggling to find veggie and vegan dishes its always worth ringing the restaurant and having a chat. Gusto in particular is very on the ball and helpful.

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Butternut squash and coconut soup – serves 2, 153 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

This is a really fibre rich soup that will keep you feeling nice and full.  By not using any oil and dry frying the vegetables it makes it very low calorie, so ideal for the 5:2 fasters and anyone wanting to stay healthy.  The coconut milk, as well as adding calcium also brings some sweetness, richness and a velvety texture to the dish

IMG_3386330g butternut squash – chopped into small cubes, but not peeled

130g onion – chopped

300ml stock (made with half a stock cube, half a tsp vegetable powder or vegetable water)

100 ml non-dairy coconut milk.  You could also used tinned coconut milk but the calories will increase by 60 calories per serving

large pinch of dried chilli flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbls of the seeds from the butternut squash

 

 

IMG_3387In a non stick saucepan slowly dry fry the butternut squash. This means having the pan on a low light and allowing the veg to release its own oils and liquid to help with the cooking. This will take about 6-8 minutes to begin to soften and colour

Add the chopped onions and keep turning over so all the veg colours evenly and doesn’t burn. This will take another 5 minutes

Add the stock, chilli and salt & pepper.

IMG_3390Cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the squash is completely soft

Add the coconut milk and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Take out a few pieces of the cubed squash, and set aside

 

IMG_3392Blitz the soup with a hand blender or nutribullet and pour into two warmed bowls

 

In another non stick pan add 1 tbls of butternut squash seeds IMG_3391and dry fry i.e. don’t add any oil. Have the heat low and gentle move the seeds around the pan until they start to toast and colour. Remove from the pan

 

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Scatter the seeds over the soup and add the few cubes of reserved squash

Valentines raw food menu

Valentines raw food menu for two

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_9884Why not try something different this Valentine’s day and enjoy a light and energy giving ‘raw’ vegan meal.  Many of the water soluble vitamins are preserved and the dishes are bursting with fibre

I have devised a  light two course menu of courgette noodles (courgetti), with tomatoes and cannellini beans and for ‘afters’ peanut butter truffles.  The courgette is made using a ‘spiralizer’, although you can now buy them already prepared in many supermarkets. Eating courgettes this way means you can enjoy the romance and joy of pasta twirling without the carbohydrate overload.  The tomatoes add some great antioxidants and the beans are a good low fat protein source, and both are a great source of fibre.

The dessert is only slightly naughty; the peanuts provide protein and fibre, the rice is gluten free, the chia seeds are bursting with omega 3 fats and the sesame seeds are a valuable source of calcium.  Finally, the dark chocolate contains some nice mood enhancing endorphins.  Making it an ideal choice for Valentines day

 

Courgette noodles with tomatoes and cannellini beans

 

  • IMG_13812 large courgettes, spiralized (or ribboned with a vegetable peeler)
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil or virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes or ½ chilli de-seed and finely sliced
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tin of drained and rinsed cannellini beans
  • Sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves chopped

 

IIMG_2437n a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together – except the sesame seeds and fresh mint. Taste and add some salt and pepper if needed or a bit more chilli

 

Leave at room temperature for 20 minutes for the flavours to marry together. Scatter over the images-10sesame seeds and mint. Serve in a large clean bowl to share – visualise the spaghetti eating scene in the Lady and the tramp!

 

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For dessert some little bite sized chocolate lovelies!

Peanut butter truffles

 

IMG_1816100g wholenut crunchy peanut butter

10g wholegrain puffed rice – toasted, cooled and lightly crushed

few drops of Vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp Agave, Golden syrup or Maple syrup

½ tsp Chia seeds

½ tsp Sesame seeds

40g Dark chocolate

½ tsp Coconut oil

few grains of rock salt

 

Mix the first six ingredients together. Blend well

Line a tray with Clingfilm and shape the mixture in to small balls. Keep wetting your hands with cold water to stop the mixture from sticking to youIMG_1820

Leave the balls to firm up in for fridge for at least 30 minutes

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a pan over a bowl of hot water or microwave on high for 1 minute

 

peanut butter truffles

 

Remove the peanut balls from the fridge and dip each one in the chocolate. Place on the cling filmed tray to set. Crush a few grains of rock salt over the coated peanut balls.  Leave for a few hours for the chocolate to harden.  Then pop one in your beloved’s mouth and enjoy!

Speedy stir-fry

Speedy stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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To celebrate the Chinese New year why not cook yourself this vegan speedy stir-fry.

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light lunch or a more substantial supper dish.  The peanuts and sesame seeds add protein and some useful minerals like iron and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The wholegrain rice also adds some useful protein and fibre.

 

 

 

IMG_36311 packet microwavable wholegrain rice

½ (100g) large onion – sliced

2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks

1 (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens or spinach or kale- shredded

20g fresh ginger – thin strips

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

30g unsalted peanuts or cashews

1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce

1 tsp *toasted sesame seeds

 

 

Heat a wok (or non stick frying pan) until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes add the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water

 

After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger and chili flakes. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg soften slightly

 

In the meantime microwave the rice according to the instructions on the packet (usually 2 minutes).  This step can be missed out, just tip the rice straight into the wok and cook for an extra 2 minutes with a splash of hot water

 

IMG_3639Add the steaming rice to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts, soy sauce and spring onion and again stir to mix

 

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Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving (358 calories) or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal (238 calories). And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds

 

Now you know how simple it is what are you waiting for?! 

* To toast sesame seeds. Heat a nonstick frying pan – don’t add any oil. Add the sesame seeds and keep moving the pan to stop the seeds burning. They will start to colour and go golden brown after 2-3 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow to cool before tipping into a container with a lid. The toasted seeds will keep for 2-3 months

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Serves 3, 340 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_3874This is a great vegan dish to celebrate veganuary.  It’s also a great way to use up some leftover tinned spinach from making your favourite curry (but fresh or frozen is equally as good).  It is also really adaptable; so you can use your favourite beans like cannellini, borlotti, chick peas etc.  If you like it a bit spicier then add more chilli, pepper and paprika

The beans add some really good quality low fat protein, the spinach is a great source of fibre and vitamins – especially A,E and K,  which makes it great for bone health

1 (75g) onion

½ fresh chilli

IMG_3868200g chopped spinach (fresh, frozen or tinned)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp olive oil

1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes

1 tin butter beans

50g pitted olives

1 tsp capers (optional)

½ tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

1 packet dried gnocchi

Splash of lemon juice

Handful of chopped mint

 

 

Fry the chopped onion gently in a pan with the olive oil for 5 minutes until it softens. Add the chilli and chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes

IMG_3871Add the drained tinned spinach (or the frozen or washed fresh spinach), tinned tomatoes and drained and rinsed butter beans and stir thoroughly. Cook on a medium heat until it all starts to bubble, reduce to a simmer and add in the chopped olives (I prefer the green ones), capers (if you are using them) and the paprika.

 

IMG_3869Have a taste and add a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly

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In the meantime put a pan of water on to boil as soon at it starts bubbling tip in the gnocchi. It is ready when each one pops up to the surface. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and tip into the spinach sauce and stir to mix

 

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Add a splash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped mint and serve in 3 warmed bowls

Blue Monday 2017

Blue Monday!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

6389379-largeToday, Monday 16th January is considered to be the most depressing day of 2017; for some pay day is nearly 2 weeks away, dry January is getting harder, credit card bills are dropping on the mat, the weather is miserable etc.  So lets make Monday the 16th January all about being uplifted.  Today’s Meat free Monday recipe has some mood enhancing ingredients, to make you feel better.

Energy balls

Makes 25 – 30, which are approximately 70-80 calories per ball

ingredients200g pitted dates (preferably Medjool)

2 tbls chia seeds

2 tbls oats

1 tbls melted coconut oil

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbls raw cacao powder

100g almonds

100g other nuts (cashew, walnuts, pistachio, hazel, brazil, peanuts)

 

 

  • blendFirstly place all the nuts, oats and chia seeds in your food processor or nutribullet. Blend for 1 minute, until a powder forms and the nuts have crumbled.
  • Secondly add the remaining ingredients. Blend for another minute until a sticky dough forms. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the mixture so it all blends
  • Wet your hands with water and use them to roll the mixture into little balls. Or use a chocolate mould to make different shapes. This short video will show you how its done
  • At this stage you can place them in a container and store in the fridge. Or you can coat them in desiccated coconut, sesame seeds or cacao powder before placing them in the fridge
  • Now that should put a smile on your face!

energy balls

Additions or substitutions

Use pitted prunes instead of dates

Use ginger powder instead of cinnamon

Use toasted puffed rice instead of oats

Use quinoa flakes instead of oats

Use 1 tbls pea, soy or hemp powder instead of oats

Use sesame seeds instead of chia seeds

Use linseeds/flaxseeds instead of chia seeds

energy balls1

 

And these were the energy balls made by a Twitter follower @SNottsExplorer

Snotts

 

Asian Parsnip soup

Asian Parsnip soup – serves 6

This is a great way to use those wonderful sweet and seasonal parsnips. Not only are they full of slow releasing fibre to keep you nice and full but they are also jam packed with immune boosting vitamin C.

2 or 150g small onions

2 tsp olive oil

img_93881 tbls garam masala and ginger/garlic paste

1 tsp chili flakes

1 ½ ltr veggie stock, either made with 3 tsp bouillon powder or 1 stock cube and boiling water

6  or 600g parsnips

Handful of fresh coriander or parsley leaves

Soya/oat cream (optional)

1 tin of chickpeas (optional)

 

In a large saucepan add the oil and heat. Peel and chop the onions and fry in the oil until soft but not coloured. Add the spices and paste* and cook until its smells really aromatic (about 5 minutes). Keep moving the onions and spices to stop them sticking or burning

* You can also use a clove of garlic and 1 tsp ground ginger or fresh ginger instead of the ginger/garlic paste

img_2094-768x1024Add the chopped parsnips (it’s not necessary to peel the parsnips, although you can if you want) and the stock. Stir, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the parsnips are soft.

 

Using a hand blender (or food processor, blender or nutribullet), blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.

This little 15 second video shows you how easy it is to blend the soup

Soup

 

The soup can now be served. However to make it more substantial and to increase the fibre and protein content add a tin of chickpeas (and their water). Finish with a swirl of non-dairy cream

Vegan cookery classes

Vegan cookery classes – Simply veg!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

The benefits of a plant based diet are regularly reported in the media.  But what does a plant based diet actually look like, and if you were thinking of adding more veg and less meat, fish, eggs and diary to your diet what do you cook?

veganuaryWell, I may very well have the answer!   To mark January as Veganuary, on Monday 9th January I am starting a new series of vegan cookery classes in West Bridgford.  Depending on your time commitments they will start on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 11 – 12.15pm, Tuesday from 12.15 – 1.30pm and Tuesday evening from 5.30 – 6.45pm - although the times could be flexible.

veg cookery poster jpeg

 

So what’s in it for you if you sign up?

 

I will provide all the ingredients, equipment and recipes; you will prepare and cook your very own vegan meal, which you can take home for the family to eat and enjoy

donna-testimonial cookeryThis is ideal for all you veggie virgins who want to eat less meat but don’t know where to start.  Its also great for would be students who are about to embark on independent living; after all we all know how cheap seasonal veg can be.

cookery class

cookery class

Maybe you have a vegan or vegetarian member of the family and you’re struggling to know what healthy and nutritious meals to cook them

Or you want to lose some weight, change your diet, feel fitter, then coming to my ‘simply veg’ class could be just what you’re looking for

As a lifelong vegetarian and chef I will share my knowledge, tips and experience and help you to get that veggie vibe.  I have advised clients for a number of years about how to make small but permanent changes to their diet , so the meals are going to be balanced and nutritious.

5 star

Each class will have a maximum of 4 guests, and rest assured my kitchen is up to scratch having recently been award a 5 star hygiene rating.  I am also the proud owner of a H.O.T award (healthy options takeaway)

 

All this for £25 a session, or if you block book all six you only pay for five i.e. £125

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Susan Hart, nutrition coach

So what are you waiting for?

 

Contact details

07946 301338

susan@nutrition-coach.co.uk

 

Cheats mince pies

Cheats Mince pies

mince pieThis is a recipe I made a few years ago when some unexpected guests arrived one Christmas and I needed to make some mince pies pronto! And your guests will never guess the ‘cheat’

It also great for vegan quests.  I have pimped up shop bought mincemeat but you can just open a jar and get cracking

So the cheat is to use wholemeal bread instead of pastry.  Its so simple, quick and easy and you can make as many or as few as you need.  I also keep a few frozen slices of wholemeal bread in freezer bags for those surprise visitors.  And 15-20 minutes later they are settled with a homemade mince pie and a cuppa (or something stronger)

One slice will make 2 circles and 2 star tops i.e. 2 complete mince pies.

So what are you waiting for get rolling!

Makes 6 mince pies

3 slices of wholemeal bread

6 teaspoons (120g) shop bought or homemade mince meat

2 tsps of your favourite tipple (brandy, rum, sherry etc) – Optional

1 cooking or eating apple washed, cored but not peeled

1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice

2 tsps oil

large pinch of sugar

extra cinnamon, mixed spice or nutmeg for dusting

pastry cutter1 pastry cutter 3″ or 78mm wide

1 star cutter

1 rolling pin

bun tin

 

Pre-heat the oven 220C/200C fan/gas 7.  Grease the bun tin using a small amount of oil and some kitchen roll

Using the rolling pin roll out and flatten each slice of bread.  Make it large enough so that you can cut out two circles and two stars*

 

Place the circles in the bun tins and press down so they line the tins.

Chop the apple in to small cubes or grate on a course grater

img_9116In a bowl add 120g of mincemeat, chopped/grated apple, cinnamon or mixed spice and alcohol (if using).  Mix together and spoon in to the bread cases

Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining oil carefully over the stars.  Place a star on top of the filled pies sprinkle with extra cinnamon and a few grains of sugar

img_9122Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-12 minutes until the tops look nice and toasted.  Eat hot or cold, either by themselves or with some soya cream or custard

They should be stored in an airtight container and will keep for 4 days

*The left over bread can be used to make bread sauce, homemade stuffing, make a shop bought stuffing go further or frozen until you decide what you want to do with it!

IMG_2168

 

 

Merry Christmas! 

 

 

 

Chestnut, leek and cranberry terrine

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Christmas chestnut, leek and cranberry terrine – serves 2

IMG_4635This is a delicious and very festive recipe for all the vegans, veggies and non veggies gathered around the Christmas table.  Once cooked it keeps in the fridge for up to three days and freezers really well.  It is also really adaptable in that if you don’t like leeks you could use parsnips or carrots, and if you don’t like cranberry sauce you could use mango chutney.

The quantities can also be doubled or tripled depending on the number of guests.

 

 

If you have a favourite vegetarian show stopper then why not share it with?

 

1 tbls of reduced sugar cranberry sauce,

80g leeks – washed and cut into batons to fit the width of the loaf tin

1 tsp vegetable oil,

½ (50-60g) onion chopped,

½ tsp chilli flakes, 1 garlic clove, Salt & pepper

10g sage leaves , 5g thyme– finely sliced,

60g of cooked chestnuts (vacuum packed),

30g each of mushrooms (sliced), fresh spinach (washed), chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts, peanuts or cashew nuts), wholemeal bread,

Large pinch of mace or cinnamon

 

ingredients

 

  • Pre heat the oven 180C/160 fan oven/gas 4
  • Heat the oil in a medium pan and add the onions and mushrooms, cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes.  If the pan dries and the veg starts to stick add a drop of hot water.  Stir in the chopped garlic, sage, chilli and salt & pepper cook for a further 2 minutes then tip into a bowl.
  • In the same pan add a small amount of boiling water and cook the leeks for 4 minutes until soft.  Drain well and line  (width ways) the bottom and sides of a greased and lined (greaseproof paper) dish.   A foil container, the type takeaway food comes in is a perfect size.  Pack the leeks in tightly to cover the bottom.  Any left over leeks can be chopped and added to the cooked onion mix.
  • Put the spinach in a microwavable bowl (no need to add any water) and heat on high for 30 seconds just to wilt the leaves. Or place in a colander over the cooking leeks
  • Chop the chestnuts and hazelnuts.  This can be done by hand or in a food processor or nutribullet. whiz up the bread in the processor/bullet too.  Add them all to the bowl of cooked onion; add the mac/cinnamon and some of the leek water to bind it all.  Mix with a large spoon.
  • Place ½ of the chestnut mixture on top of the cooked leeks in the loaf tin; press down well with the back of the spoon.  Add a layer of wilted spinach.  Then spread the cranberry sauce on top of the mix. Repeat with the remaining chestnut mixture, pressing down with the back the spoon.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove the foil and loosen the sides with a spatula before turning out onto a plate.  Any left overs can be wrapped and frozen

 

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Now how tasty does that look!

 

 

*NB the terrine can be made, covered and chilled the day before