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…

Banana Coconut Cake – dairy free and low gluten

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

Cooked banana coconut cake
Today I have another chapter for you in what has become the low gluten, spelt baking zone of my blog. But this time, I’m not going to give you a long lecture on bananas. No, not at all, I’m just going to stick to the facts and the recipe. But I will say, make sure your bananas are brown and very, very soft before you try and make this cake. And here’s a quick photo of one, y’know, just for reference. OK, that’s better. Cake or bread? So, banana cake, or as most of the world would say, banana bread. Why does everyone call it bread? Does it have yeast in it? No. Does it have water in it? No. Does it look and taste like a cake? Yes. The only trait that many banana ‘breads’ share with traditional bread is baking them in a loaf tin, which by no…

Super chewy oat, mango and cardamon spelt cookies

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Chewy oat, mango and cardamon spelt cookies on a rack
Can I just start this post by saying that these are THE BEST COOKIES I’VE EVER MADE AT HOME. OK, good. When I was younger, not much younger in fact, probably about a week ago, my favourite cookies were oatmeal and raisin. I would happily eat them until I was genuinely experiencing severe nausea. This would be the trigger for me to step away from the pack, reconsider how much I should eat, the nutritional value of too many cookies, then go back and have “just one more”. However, times move on, I’ve grown another week older, but sometimes, certain things don’t change very much. I still have the ability to eat my way through sugar induced nausea, and frankly, oatmeal and raisin cookies still rock the supermarket-bakery cookie world. But the home cooked cookie world opens up all sorts of possibilites and what I’ve got for you here is…

Spelt Hot Cross Buns

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Spiced spelt flour hot cross buns
The almighty spelt hot cross buns So it’s Easter, that means chocolate eggs, rabbits, yellow chicks, and err, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like Christmas, it’s a time of the year where you get complete carte blanche to eat whatever the hell you want. This normally manifests in a wheelbarrow full of chocolate and a big roast dinner, not forgetting the mighty hot cross bun. Did you know that you’re officially supposed to eat hot cross buns for a minimum of two weeks, either side of Easter weekend, and the longer, the better? (only kidding, but it’s a good benchmark). And like Christmas pudding, they taste good at any time of year. As you may have guessed, I like hot cross buns. I also have a thing for spelt flour. In fact, I’m on a ceaseless mission to spelt-ificate everything that I bake, which leads to some great discoveries and…