Arrogance in the Food World

Gavin WrenFood Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

Arrogance in the food world
When it comes to food, we’re all equal.

Eating is a basic unifying experience within humanity. It stands alone, as a unique ritual which the global population, hopefully engages with on a daily basis. Every single living person’s existence depends upon hunting, gathering, buying, cooking or ordering to ensure a steady supply of energy, and these processes require interaction with the outside world.

Obtaining food can be fraught with danger, such as dodging herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Serengeti, or boldly sailing across Columbia Bar, ‘the graveyeard of the pacific’. However, these experiences pale into insignificance when compared to the condescension of Rex Goldsmith, The Chelsea Fishmonger, when attempting to buy organic salmon on a Wednesday morning in south west London.

Quite how perilous SW3 might be pivots entirely on your understanding of aquaculture and wild-capture...come and read more...

Spelt Tarte au Citron

Gavin WrenBaking, Desserts, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Using the spelt sweet shortcrust pastry (pâte sucrée) which I posted previously, filled with a beautiful, lusciously thick lemon curd, it makes a beautiful spelt tarte au citron with crisp, sharp flavours and that soft, crumbly, sweet spelt crust. It's a beauty of a patisserie recipe perfect for afternoon tea or a post-prandial dessert.
It's been a confusing week. But today's recipe is a gem. Using the spelt sweet shortcrust pastry (pâte sucrée) which I posted previously, filled with a beautiful, lusciously thick lemon curd, it makes a beautiful spelt tart au citron with crisp, sharp flavours and that soft, crumbly, sweet spelt crust. It's a beauty of a patisserie recipe perfect for afternoon tea or a post-prandial dessert.

The Human Experience
I've experienced the full breadth of human emotion from happiness to sadness, fear to anger. Monday began with buoyancy, entering a week full of possibilities. Freelance work to arrange, personal photoshoot to organise, job application to complete, review and submit, exhibition display to create, personal artwork project to finish, blog posts to write on top of having made evening arrangements every night from Monday...come and read more...

Finding the Heart of my Blog

Gavin WrenBlogging

Ganesha God of New Beginnings
Why do I blog?
I'm surely not the first to ponder this and I doubt I'll ever be the last. It seems a rite of passage for bloggers to go through an existential crisis around their future, at some point in their blogging career.

Today, I blog for the same reason that I began blogging, to give me an independent outlet for my creative urges, free of clients and briefs. A place where I can explore my ideas, unleashed from the shackles of outcomes and expectation.

Unwittingly, I may have created shackles of my own.
The Blogging Treadmill
The dreaded treadmill, when blogging shifts from a joyous, carefree path of self-expression into a burden of routine and schedules. The weekly post deadlines, the content planning, the social media scheduling (although I keep this to a bare minimum of three tweets a week, only advertising my...come and read more...

Spelt Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Pâte sucrée)

Gavin WrenBaking, Basic Ingredients, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Today's recipe is spelt sweet shortcrust pastry, otherwise known as pâte sucrée, a staple ingredient for your culinary knowledge banks, a sweet base which can turn it's hand to many creations in the kitchen.
Today's recipe is spelt sweet shortcrust pastry, otherwise known as pâte sucrée, a staple ingredient for your culinary knowledge banks, a sweet base which can turn it's hand to many creations in the kitchen. Both sweet shortcrust pastry and it's savoury sister are the foundations of some of the loveliest sweet and savoury baked creations. Just consider where we'd be without tarts, pies and quiches? Anarchy, that's where.

The pastry in this recipe makes a stunningly tender, soft and sweet crust. It's delicate when cooked, with a beautiful buttery warmth which crumbles into submission when eaten.

I'm keeping the words in this post short because the recipe below is LOADED with pictures to help you find your way through this simple yet essential recipe. If you've found this page, you're probably here for one thing - amazing pastry! Enjoy!...come and read more...

Spelt Eclairs with dairy free Crème Pâtissière

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Spelt eclairs are a beautiful baked treat made with my spelt choux paste and stuffed with my dairy free pastry cream. Don't be afraid, these hollow buns are a patisserie favourite which can extend your knowledge of baking without stressing you out!
When writing the recipe for these spelt eclairs, I wondered if people will think it odd that I'm using a dairy free filling in pastry which contains butter. Weird, huh?

However, it's not as odd as it may appear.
Boundaries of Tolerance
I experience an intolerance to lactose. This means that if I drink a pint of milk, or worse still, if I consume a mountain of whipped cream, I will get anything from mild discomfort up to severe stomach cramps and nausea.

Products such as butter and yoghurt contain far less lactose than milk or thick cream. Therefore, people such as myself who experience a variety of physical symptoms from consuming lactose can often consume amounts of yoghurt or butter without any significant negative reaction. I eat yoghurt every week and have never noticed discomfort from doing so.

I seem to be able to eat butter, with...come and read more...

Spelt Choux Paste (Pâte à Choux)

Gavin WrenBaking, Basic Ingredients, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Spelt choux paste (otherwise known as Pâte à Choux) is an amazing pastry which puffs up when cooked, leaving hollow buns or pastries which can be stuffed, filled and topped however you desire! Whether it's eclairs, profiteroles or a croquembouche which you want to bake this weekend, you can extend your patisserie skills with this amazing spelt pastry.
Suddenly, inspiration hit me. I want to make a croquembouche, a spelt croquembouche and it needs to be a massive one made up with loads and loads of little spelt choux (pronounced 'shoe') balls.

Croquembouche is one of the most spectacularly decadent culinary creations in existence. It's a celebratory sweet used in French cuisine at special occasions, comprising choux pastry balls into the hundreds, stuffed with cream then piled high in a cone shape and bound together with large splurges of caramel. It's the kind of recipe that should have The Samaritans' phone number attached, especially if you're making it to a deadline, or for the first time, because I could easily induce some kind of nervous breakdown.

As the saying goes, there's no use trying to run before I can walk. The first step in this adventure is to make, and become comfortable with choux pastry. Also known as...come and read more...