We got a bit panicky around here when we heard it on the grapevine that The Red Cow was closing. For how long? Was it forever? The kids were crying, adults were ready to make placards for a protest - well maybe not that dramatic but it was a major concern. It is a lovely village pub and so convenient. Have spent many good moments at The Red Cow.
A few weeks ago they let us out of our misery and announced they were having a bit of a refurb and to reopen with a new menu. I finally got a free lunchtime to go and try it out. I was expecting it to be just as it was before really, maybe a few changes here and there but wow I was pleasantly surprised as they had decorated and laid new carpet and it looked very welcoming.
The menu was a real treat too as there was a nice range of gluten free options all clearly stated and I opted for a gluten free burger in a gluten free cob! Yes! You know how it feels fellow gluten free peeps, the celebratory punch in the air as finally I can eat a burger. It was lovely complete with salad, coleslaw and chips. I followed up on a dessert of Meringue with cream, lemon curd and raspberries. My son had the other dessert pictured which was a Warm Waffle. It was all very nice and we were served by the very friendly staff there including the manager.
They have changed the ordering system from ordering at the bar to a table service now which is better and they have kept the prices at a reasonable rate too. There is always a bit of a worry with a new refurb that the place stops being family orientated and the prices sore to compensate for the new decor but I'm glad to say this isn't the case and they have stayed loyal to their local customers.
I would recommend to book if interested in dining, we went at lunch time so it was reasonably quiet but I can imagine as word gets around, if it hasn't already that it will get very busy. If you would like more information and to view the menu you can find details on their website at
Leave me a comment below if you have been here and let me know what you thought. Overall I'm very impressed and applaud a good selection of food including a good balance for different dietary requirements. I will be returning a few times I'm sure.
Thanks for reading and please come back for more tomorrow with Autism Support Saturday......take care for now.
While I was away I had some lovely gluten free meals and wherever we went in Inverness they were very accommodating and happy to help with dietary requirements, more so than some establishments around my local area so was very happy. I'm at that stage where I'm always a bit nervous to ask for a gluten free menu for fear of putting anyone out or feeling like a nuisance. I shouldn't as the whole point of my diet is to prevent me from feeling poorly and uncomfortable and most places urge you to to ask about your dietary requirements so it shouldn't be a big worry. Most restaurants have to be aware of all sorts of food requirements now so it's pretty common place. I'm getting more adventurous and quite like testing some places just to see how they differ and to sort out the best places to return to.
In the early days of starting my gluten free diet I would just let it slip especially when eating out as I just imagined a non existent gluten free menu so just made the best of what I could eat, taking a gamble sometimes. They do exist though those menus, the alternative ones as I like to call them now. So never be afraid to ask. I am just going to give a mention to two places we visited in Inverness.
The Chieftan Hotel situated on Milburn Road in Inverness was just brilliant. We were actually recommended to go here by the nice chap from the Premier Inn up the road who hadn't got any reservations for that evening, yes there was literally no room at the Inn. We travelled the few yards up to the next Inn, minus donkeys or big star in the sky for guidance as the Premier Inn keeper gave us the directions we needed. We just rang ahead on the way to see if they could accommodate all seven of us and they did, in the time we had called and the five minutes it took us to get there, we were welcomed at the door and shown straight to our table.
I asked for their gluten free options and a selection of food was given to me. I opted for a chicken dinner with potatoes, vegetables and gluten free gravy. They didn't have any of the gravy but what I did get was a nice little jug of melted garlic butter to pour over, it was so nice and what a great alternative. They seemed so willing to sort something out for me and the whole meal for all of us was a delight. If you would like any more information on The Chieftan Hotel you can go to www.chieftanhotelinverness.com
On our last evening in The Highlands we visited the North Kessock Hotel which was situated just approx 3 miles from where we were staying. On previous visits to this area I had passed the hotel but never visited it. It is a renowned little spot for dolphin spotting and in the past I have seen the dolphins swimming by the Kessock Bridge, a great sight. So I was quite pleased to be able to finally go in and have a meal at the hotel. Beautiful food and very friendly staff.
I received the gluten free menu which was nicely devised really from the main menu and items that were good to eat were highlighted for me to choose. I chose the Kessock Hamful which was honey roast ham wrapped around prawns in marie rose sauce and served with salad. Just gorgeous and lots of food on the plate, they definitely give good portions up there and good value for money. I passed on a dessert and had a coffee instead but became quite jealous at other members of my family tucking into to vanilla ice cream which was served with warm fudge sauce over the top. It came recommended by the lovely waitress there, bless her, will love her forever! Since I have been back home I have bought Scottish vanilla ice cream and fudge sauce, warmed it in the microwave and chucked it over my ice cream, just delish. No I know, to the slimming world police, it's not good, but I'm having a little break. Start back Monday, don't we all say that?
Over all a great experience and felt as though the warm Scots hospitality just shone through on all our visits so a big thank you. if you would like more information on the North Kessock Hotel you can find them at
If you can recommend any other good places to eat out, wherever you live, I would love to hear about them. It's always good to go on recommendations and I will continue to review any I find here. It's so easy sometimes to be put off by the whole 'eating out' experience because of a dietary requirement but that's a shame because it can stop you having fun and a good time so by passing information on I hope it helps not only you as a diner but to the restaurant owners for feedback.
Thanks for reading and I'll catch you tomorrow for some Autism advice so take care for now........
I love the great selection of food and drink that is available now for people who have to eat a diet free from Gluten and Wheat. It is also improving greatly for other dietary requirements too such as dairy free. I can get chocolate, cake and biscuits and that's all I'm worried about. Not really as yes I do have to remind myself I am on slimming world as well and on a continuous mission to shed my last two stone, always the hardest I know.
What I would love to see though is sandwiches and wraps in supermarkets. I want to pick up a quick bite for my lunch like everyone else, take advantage of the meal deal with my sandwich, crisps and drink for £3! Even a plain salad or one that includes free from pasta would be great, just something I can eat on the go. One place I have seen a sandwich so far is Costa Coffee but they only have only one selection and you get fed up with eating the same thing every time. So please supermarkets, shops and deli's make us a sandwich or two.
I also need more restaurants and eateries to get on board with this diet, most are good and some staff in some establishments are very informative but there are still a lot that are not. It's awful when there is no fixed food on a menu and you have to pick out what you think will be ok and sometimes take a risk. Most places would advise though but have you ever asked a member of staff and they pop off to find you your information only to return with a massive book, like the bible of everything that is included in every meal on the menu. I look at some people as if to say ,ok I will study for this degree in special dietary requirements and should just finish in about a month, will you need this table again in that time? It does make the whole process of going out to eat a bit of a chore, I sometimes dread it when I know we are going out, I shouldn't as it used to be something I enjoy but it does all depend on the restaurant.
McDonalds and Burger King please make a gluten free bun. I'm tired of a salad everytime or sometimes nothing but a brew. I want a big fat burger in a gluten free bun......I want to join in like the rest. I'm sorry but the amount of money they make, you can look into a nice gluten free area and produce us a burger. Otherwise I will just bring my own along, I think I did read that someone had done that if you can bear the risk of cross contamination from some foods.
Bread has always been a funny one on this diet. Yes you have all opened your nice gluten free loaf only for it to drop to pieces and crumble all over the floor. It takes a certain amount of delicacy and special handling to get a slice of gluten free bread into a toaster and thats if it doesn't just disintegrate inside. Pop up in a toaster it will rarely do and the slices are not big enough either, you fear for the poor slice like the first day you send your kids to school. Will they be ok and will they return?
It has improved and there are some good products including bread. I think we have a way to go to get takeaway options or quick convenience food yet but hey who know's what the future holds. I would love to hear about your experiences, have you been able to have a Maccy D's? Found a sandwich shop with more than one option? Purchased a GF Meal deal? Do tell, or if you have any views on how you think we could improve our experiences. That would be great.
Are you a shop who features a GF selection, if so please let me know as I will gladly feature your business. We need to know your are there for us!
Leave a comment below or on my social media.......thanks for reading though I do appreciate it.....come back for more tomorrow if you fancy a read about Autism.
I thought I would just remind everyone why a gluten free diet is necessary for some people. I know I have touched on the subject a little bit before, especially why I chose to switch to gluten free but I think it's important to help people understand that it isn't a fad or a new way to lose weight, it is vital for some people.
If you are on a gluten free and reading this then you know your reasons and no doubt you will have read up on every blog, book magazine and no doubt joined Coeliac UK to take advantage of their useful website and information. It's a brilliant organisation and has food guides, a guide of where to eat out, a self assessment test just so much help whether you are diagnosed with Coeliac disease or not. I'm not diagnosed officially but I still found them useful for information about what I could eat and drink. There website is www.coeliac.org.uk
According to Coeliac UK there are three main reasons for changing to a gluten free diet.....
Coeliac disease is a well defined, serious illness where the body’s immune system attacks itself when gluten is eaten. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food. Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease.
Wheat allergy is a reaction to proteins found in wheat, triggered by the immune system and usually occurs within seconds or minutes of eating.
Non coeliac gluten sensitivity is when symptoms similar to coeliac disease are experienced, but there are no associated antibodies and no damage to the lining of the gut.
It is very important to rule out Coeliac disease and a Wheat allergy before considering gluten sensitivity. If you visit your GP they will give you the appropriate tests and advice. You do have to bear in mind that to get an accurate result you would have to be including gluten and wheat at the time of testing, only start the diet after receiving your result and advice.
So what symptoms may you experience?
Possible symptoms may include: (according to Coeliac UK)
There's a lot isn't there? Some symptoms make be very similar to other conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) so it is very important to see you GP and rule out other possibilities.
For me personally I knew I was having problems with certain things which I ate. I did go for the initial blood test for Coeliac Disease but tested negative. I had tried cutting gluten and wheat out a little at the time and tried to return to it before the test but I don't think I gave it enough time, and I was a bit reluctant because I had improved health wise. This is why I say to you keep all the gluten and wheat in your diet to receive an accurate result.
I know I feel better without it. I have noticed a significant difference in the way I feel and my energy levels have increased. If I do accidentally eat the wrong things I do suffer quite a bit as my previous symptoms rapidly return.
So if you have any concerns please take a look at the Coeliac UK website www.coeliac.org.uk I think it is the best website I've seen for information and guidance and go from there. Take a look also even if you have no diagnosis or you are someone supporting a relative or friend as you can receive a greater understanding as to why we have to follow this particular diet.
Thanks for reading and I will be back tomorrow with Autism Support Saturday.
Oh the Great British favourite, bangers mash and beans. I love this meal and yes we call sausages around here, bangers! It is such a simple but fulfilling meal and one that doesn't often fail to be a great choice for the kids too.
Free From sausages tend to vary from different manufacturers, I tend to have the frozen Slimming World variety as they are free from syns as well. For me not the most tasty but I think I like the idea of not having to count them as part of my diet is a bit of a winner as far as I'm concerned. These babies pictured above were from Sainsbury's frozen section and are ok, they are a fair size and very tasty. My favourites so far though would be Tesco's frozen sausages and the Richmond Gluten Free variety as they just seem to resemble something more to the traditional sausage I used to buy before going on a gluten free diet. I'm yet to try more though.
That's what we tend to do when going on a free from diet is to compare it to the 'gluteny' products we had before. I never realised how much gluten plays a massive part in the consistency of food, well not until it's taken out. It doesn't really effect the taste as it is an ingredient that mainly deals with how everything holds itself together rather than the taste but it can be very different from the real thing, shall we say. I love it when opening some products such as cakes and pastry items how they just collapse when out in the open, it's as if the packaging was keeping them altogether, you tend to handle some items like they are the most fragile thing in the world. The challenge is to get a pie onto the plate in one piece or butter a scone without most of the scone ending up on your knife. It warrants an olympic gold medal and a massive standing ovation if successful, yes it's that much of an achievement.
So what is available in the free from sausage world?
Well there's quite a selection and most of the supermarkets have a great variety and check the ingredients as some products may not be labelled as gluten free but are free from the baddie ingredients. I've just selected a few for you here;
Slimming World Syn Free Pork Sausages
Sainsbury's Free From/Gluten Free Sausages
Tesco Free From/Gluten Free range at
Richmond Gluten Free Sausages
Heck 97% Sausages Gluten Free and Dairy Free
Waitrose Gluten free sausages
Dohertys Gluten free Sausages in Asda
There are some lovely sausages available at farm shops and local butchers in all sorts of tantalising flavours so check out your local shops too and always ask for their gluten free options.
If you have tasted different varieties or have a favourite then feel free to leave a comment below.
Enjoy and thanks for reading.....catch you tomorrow for Autism Support Saturday.