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...

Spelt Cinnamon Bun Cake

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

It's said that our sense of smell invokes profound feelings and emotions within us. Baking this spelt cinnamon bun cake put that to the test and confirmed that a tantalising aroma can put my brain into sensory overload. This recipe is loaded with cinnamon and cardamom infused with soy milk to make a sweet bake which is a traditional Scandinavian treat and for good reason, because it's utterly irresistable!
It's said that our sense of smell invokes profound feelings and emotions within us. Baking this spelt cinnamon bun cake put that to the test and confirmed that a tantalising aroma can put my brain into sensory overload.

The Road Less Travelled.
When talking of food, it's easy to lapse into trite, oft-repeated phrases, loaded with food-friendly adjectives. An author's job is to track down the scent of unique expression, rather than propping up the bar with descriptions that we've all heard before. Originality provokes interest, I often ponder over how to construct the description of a recipe, without resorting to the usual suspects of 'simple', 'rich', 'tasty', 'easy', 'quick'. Rich brevity is the key to success.

It takes a deeper analysis of the food, a bear-hug of emotional connection with it and an expansive relationship with the English language to venture beyond the obvious... come and read more...

Spelt Focaccia

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Tender, fresh, homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil. The job of baking bread at home may seem like an onerous task, but when it produces such beautifully tender, flavoursome bread, the ability to bake your own bread begins to feel more like a special privilege.
Twenty-six recipes. That's how many you'll find on my blog which feature spelt flour. With the inclusion of this recipe for spelt focaccia it's a total of twenty-seven on the list. Having created so many spelt recipes, I've become a bit of an expert on this ancient grain and today's recipe has drawn on that knowledge. This fresh, tender, aromatic homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil is simply beautiful and a treasure to adorn your table.

Yes, Italian Food, Again.
I love good Italian food, it holds a highly seductive allure for me, because when it's good, it's magical. The beauty is often in the simplicity of using great ingredients, then treating them with incredible respect. Unfortunately, it has historically seen some shocking handling at the mercy of the UK restaurant trade and via the over-spiced, over-flavoured... come and read more...

Spelt Ginger Biscuits

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Today I'm sharing what might be the very first recipe that I ever wrote down. An easy baking recipe for ginger biscuits which I have now modified to include spelt. These spelt ginger biscuits are so simple that a five year old could make them (and probably has, judging by the writing).
Today I'm sharing what could be the very first recipe that I ever wrote down. It's an easy baking recipe for ginger biscuits which I have now modified to include spelt. The resultant spelt ginger biscuits are so simple that a five year old could make them (and probably has, judging by the writing).
Emancipation.
My parents are clearing their home, having finally taken the decision to sell the house that my brother and I grew up in, after years of my parents living in it alone. Well, I say alone. It has mostly been just the two of them, aside from my occasional sojourns there, when I have been between flats, relationships, or both.

This residential emancipation is divulging a trove of souvenirs and relics, not only from my parent's lives, but also from mine, my brother's and those who went before us. Having lived there for... come and read more...

Spelt Tempura Asparagus with Aioli

Gavin WrenRecipes, Small Bites, Spelt & ancient grains, Starters, Vegetables, Vegetarian

It's time to take advantage of the beautiful British asparagus season, what better way than simple spelt tempura asparagus, served with a delicious garlicky aioli. This may sound complicated, but they are such simple recipes that give a feeling of mastery and sound utterly seductive. These vegetarian dishes make beautiful starters which your guests will be seriously impressed with.
There are recipes in this world which are hurried through the dining room with an aura of devout reverence, as their presence at the table embodies the pinnacle of gastronomic endeavour. I have always held tempura in such lofty esteem, regarding it a delicacy of such immeasurable finesse, that it would be sacrilege for a homely cook of my standing to even attempt it. God forbid.

Yet, after an afternoon of frolicking with flour, ice cold sparkling water and the most beautifully fine, delicately fresh, organic British asparagus, tempura's spell has been broken. I now feel comfortable sharing this delicacy with you, fully believing that it is within the reach of every single one of us, because it is beautifully simple.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you Spelt Tempura Asparagus with Aioli.

Spring, along with the asparagus season, has well and truly sprung. The past few days of high twenties... come and read more...

Spelt Pissaladière with Puff Pastry

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Side dishes, Spelt & ancient grains

A beautiful French tart made with rich, sweet caramelised onions and topped with anchovies and kalamata olives, it's a welcome addition to any meal, picnic or sharing platter. The powerful flavours combine to make a taste sensation like only the French know how, so it's time for you to make room in your oven to bake a spelt Pissaladière!
Twitter brought this blog post to me. Rachel Cousineau at @lovelearncook recently tweeted that she’d just made a Pissaladière and it smelled good. Immediately, my heart was full of love and passion for this beautiful, traditional French tart (the Pissaladière, not Rachel). I needed some. Now. Before I had time to question my motives on that Tuesday afternoon, I was rifling through the cupboard, discovering all the ingredients were present for me to make a beautiful spelt Pissaladière with puff pastry, to consume that day. Sharing it with you, my reader, would be the only right-thinking course of action, so here it is, my beautiful Pissaladière. Caramelised onions. Those words are enough to send my taste buds into a dizzying spiral of salivary excitement. For many years, my go-to Pizza Express choice was a Romana Padana, a delightfully thin pizza topped with goat’s cheese, caramelised onions and mozzarella. It’s just…