Mountain Cafe, Aviemore, Gluten-free, Vegan options in the Highlands

As a coeliac and a vegan I still default to the assumption that I won’t be able to eat out in smaller towns or in places without chain restaurants where I know the options. It makes me so happy when I’m completely incorrect about that and come across somewhere as wonderful as the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore.

We weren’t expecting I would find somewhere to eat in the small mountain town of Aviemore whilst we were tripping through for the weekend but seeing the signs outside which highlighted that gluten free and vegan options were available we went to check.

I actually had a choice of 3 different dishes and felt really reassured by them double checking with the chef and explaining the alternatives. The fact that the menus all had clear indicators of which allergens and dietary requirements were available on every dish was ideal.

I opted for the veggie burger. Made from quinoa and red pepper this is probably in my top 3 GF, vegan burgers. The flavours and textures worked really well and went perfectly with spiralised vegetables, dressing and a banana chutney.

I would definitely recommend the Mountain Cafe for all veggies, vegans, coeliacs or anyone with an allergy as they are understanding and professional as well as serving up some tasty food.

Now to make my way back to the Cairngorms again soon to try the other dishes on the menu.

Perfect Late Summer Chutney 

It’s apple time! To celebrate beautiful moment of the year when my neighbour presents me with a bucket full of apples fresh from their tree and all ready for me to transform into treats. 


This year I’m making a tasty chutney with a load of apples, a little pear and a generous serving of gin. 

Chop the apples and place into a large saucepan or cooking pot along with 2 chopped pears. I’m using my oval Le Creuset dish as it’s perfectly sized. Cover the fruit with demerara sugar, about 200g for a large pan full of fruit. 

Add 500ml red wine vinegar. I’m using red wine vinegar instead of other vinegar as it’s one of the gluten free vinegars suitable for coeliacs. Top with a generous helping of gin. Approximately 100ml. I’m using Arbikie’s gin as, like the vinegar, it’s completely gluten free. 

Switch the temperature up to high so the chutney can start bubbling and then when the liquid is beginning to boil turn down to a low temperature and simmer for about 2 hours stirring regularly. 

The apple and pear will break down forming a chutney of thick consistency. 

Dish into jars and allow to cool. This will be perfect with a gluten free cracker – I can’t wait. 

Mulled Wine Chutney (Gluten Free and vegan too!)

I was lucky enough to be given a huge bag of home grown apples straight out of my next door neighbour’s garden and decided to get some chutney cooked as way to make sure the apples last through the winter.

mmmmm

Last time I made chutney was before I was diagnosed as coeliac and I used to make onion and apple chutney with a malt vinegar but I’ve found a delicious way around this and made a much tastier chutney than I had ever thought about before. As I’m unable to use malt vinegar I substituted with red wine vinegar which got me thinking of one of my festive favourites… mulled wine….

So here goes, my never made before, made up as I cook mulled wine chutney!

I start by peeling and then cubing approx 15 medium and large sized cooking apples, straight into a huge pan. I would love to have my own jam pan and one day I will invest but for now I’m just using a normal big pan, if you have a jam pan do get the use out of it though. Then coat the apple in 500g of brown sugar (I know, but I never said it was a healthy recipe!) stir the sugar through the apple.

Then zest a lemon and a Clementine, I don’t have a proper zester so I use a teeny cheese grater and grate peel into the apple mix. Give the lemon a good squeeze to get some of the juice in there and then segment the Clementine you have zested, as well as a second Clementine and add all the segments in. This will give the chutney a delicious, slightly citrus note which will go really well with the other flavours.

Raisins are a controversial chutney ingredient, some people love raisins in chutney and other people are much less keen. I’m in the first camp so I’m going to pop in 250g raisins in as I love the squishy, tasty mouthful when you hit a raisin.

Pour over 750ml of red wine vinegar which should cover the mixture in the pan and stir thoroughly, pop in 2 whole cinnamon sticks and it is time to get cooking.

Start by turning the heat up to a high setting as to break down the fruit and get a good thick consistency you will need the mixture to bubble. After about 20 minutes when the mixture has begun to bubble turn the hob to down to a low setting (I used setting 2 of 9) and then allow to simmer with the lid on. My chutney then took another 3 and a half hours to cook on the low heat until it hit the right texture for me. You should notice the apple begin to break down and it will become a rich, thick, warm red chutney, make sure you taste the mixture about 2 hours in so you can check it isn’t too sour.

When cooked it’s important to transfer into jars and seal pretty quickly as the heat will create a vacuum which will allow the chutney to store through the winter. I’ve tucked into mine already with some delicious gluten free crackers and I am one happy coeliac with a tummy full of yum.