Dark & fiery ginger cake

Gavin WrenBaking, No Added Sugar, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, The World of Food, YouTube Food Videos

Dark and fiery spelt and rye ginger cake
This cake is an absolute winner. A real, bona fide winner. It’s because of this cake that I won the Blognix Retreat Scholarship competition, being the recipient of a free ticket to the weekend blogger conference/retreat which is held at a spa hotel in Northamptonshire during February next year. The competition simply asked entrants to make a video only 90 seconds or less, explaining why they should win the scholarship. In an underhand tactic, I went for the achilles heel and made the subject of my video that universally loved object, cake. I’ve always had a policy on cake that it’s a universally appreciated phenomenon, something that holds intrinsic value to everyone. In the front of my recipe notebook there’s a space to put contact details, where I have my name and phone number. Below that is a ‘REWARD $’ section and I’ve completed it with the word ‘CAKE’. It’s…

Hot melt sun-dried tomato and mozzarella muffins

Gavin WrenBaking, Breakfast, Recipes, Small Bites, Spelt & ancient grains

hot melt sun-dried tomato and mozzarella muffins
I’ve got a muffin hangover today. In fact, that’s a lie, I deserve to have a muffin hangover today, because I ate… errr, six muffins last night, instead of my dinner. If that had been six of the supermarket’s in-store bakery, not-quite the finest double chocolate efforts I might not be so chipper about it, but the muffins I ate were actually really wholesome, soft, crumbly little cakes with very little sugar or unhealthy bits, so I feel absolutely great. There’s a very good reason for this muffin related excess and it’s all in your interest, so let me tell you why… Today’s recipe is another one I’ve had kicking around in the back room of my mind for a while, along with making muffins with no added sugar. When it came to my recipe testing session yesterday, in the true style of an impatient child I opted for sweets…

Lemon & ginger spelt fruit bread

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, No Added Sugar, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

spelt fruit bread
I have a personal rule regarding food that I make food for the blog, a promise to myself that I will not over-eat. Sounds simple, eh? You might think so, but sometimes I make dishes for the blog at peculiar times of the day or end up with way more food than I need, and I really don’t like wasting food. So, rather than engage in some kind of bacchanalian feast with it all, I try to do the right thing and save it for later, freeze it, or just eat it as my next meal. This is because at 37 years old I weigh nearly 5 stone (30kg) less than I did around my 30th Birthday and there’s no way I’m letting that weight sneak back in without me noticing. This soupçon of personal restraint provides me with an infallible indicator of a recipe’s success, and that’s if it…

Wholemeal Fresh Spelt Pasta

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Food Techniques, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, The World of Food

wholemeal spelt pasta tagliatelle
I’ve made homemade pasta previously, from silky whisps of fine tagliatelle to carefully manipulated, pillowy ravioli. It’s one of those things that’s a domestic indulgence, because shop bought, dried pasta is so good and easy to cook that it’s hard to justify the time and effort required in making your own. But, in the true spirit of indulgence, it is also incredibly satisfying to make this simple ingredient and if we always chose the quickest, easiest, ready-prepared method, we might all turn into mindless zombies. Despite this previous experience of homemade pasta and the fact that pasta contains so few ingredients, it ended up quite a tricky recipe to develop. Balls of pasta, eggs shells and flour very nearly adorned the kitchen window as I tried to rationalise dryness, stickiness, toughness and splitting, so that I could explain it to you. The end result really is quite a rough (rustic?)…

Pesto aubergine tart

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Aubergine pesto tart
By now you’re probably thinking “errr… what’s the deal with this guy and aubergines?”. I’ll admit it, I’m sponsored by aubergines. They called me up from their field based HQ and asked if I could write about them endlessly. In return I get sod all, because they’re a bunch of plants, have no currency nor do they possess suitable ID to open a bank account to store or transfer money. They even asked me for exclusivity rights to break up my talks with the poddington peas about a mutual tie-in. Ok, maybe that’s all fantasy. Maybe. In reality, I just like aubergines, they represent something very summery to me. So on those rare occasions that the weather turns the temperature up slightly, casting sunlight towards us and beaming a gentle, welcoming smile upon our faces, I cook aubergines. I’ve extolled their virtues for quite some time in dishes such as…

Fruit loaded mini cherry clafoutis

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, Desserts, No Added Sugar, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Mini cherry clafoutis with no added sugar
It’s food based confessional again, this time I’ll confess that I didn’t eat strawberries for thirty years. Damn, that sounds like a long time. I have a slight recollection of eating berries as a young child, but spent my teens, twenties and some of my thirties professing that I simply didn’t like berries, currants or any fruit in that genre such as grapes. Cherries also fall under that large sweeping generalisation, as they’re far too berry-like to be in any other fruit group to my mind. Then, a few years ago I was shaking off some old (bad) habits and was encouraged to test the boundaries of my wild new leaf turning exercise by eating a strawberry. Part of me wondered if it was a textural thing. Berrys are quite mushy, whereas the fruits I liked (apples, pears, oranges… errr, pineapple) had a perceived texture or zing to them. I…