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 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...

Dairy Free Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)

Gavin WrenBaking, Basic Ingredients, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Sauces

Dairy Free Pastry Cream, otherwise known as Crème Pâtissière is a sticky sweet custard filling for eclairs, profiteroles, doughnuts, cakes and any other patisserie or bake you care to make! It's made with just eggs, dairy free milk, sugar and flour, which gives a lusciously silky sweet sauce to create a sweet treat or dessert for your friends and family.
I'm tackling a patisserie basic today, luscious crème pâtissière, that thick, sweet, yellow cream found in the most amazing patisseries treats and tarts. This version here has undergone a lactose free tweak, making a dairy free pastry cream that everyone can enjoy.

"Krem pat"
Don't worry, I've not adopted a peculiar language or speaking in tongues. It's how I first heard crème pâtissière referred to during a croissant making workshop. The instructor was demonstrating other uses for the lovely, flaky, layered, enriched dough, working through pain au chocolat, before mentioning we could make pain au raisin.

He suddenly shouted across the kitchen to his assistant "Can I use some of your krem pat?". She said "sure! It's in the walk-in". As I blankly wondered what the hell this krem pat was, he went on to explain crème pâtissière, or pastry cream as it's also known.

I love...come and read more...

How To Sprout Mung Beans

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Recipes, Salads, Vegan

Once you've learned how to sprout mung beans you'll be converted to these incredibly nutritious legumes, being crammed with protein, carbohydrate, low fat and high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They're fantastic to have in salads and there's a lovely pleasure in seeing them grow as you sprout them over a few days!
Over the last month I've become infatuated with creating hearty, delicious salads for my lunches, based on delightful sprouted mung beans. Salads needs to be wholesome and filling, I have little truck for a bowl of leaves and a dressing, I want something substantial. They need are a good base, a nutritionally sturdy underpinning, hence my love of legumes as the base for my salads this summer. Once I knew how to sprout mung beans, I became a convert to them!
Leguminous Lunch.
I began the summer using tins of chickpeas, kidney or black eyed beans, yet quickly became tired of the tinned burden when shopping, not to mention the space they take up on my shelf. I needed something fresh, healthy and less tinned.

I've been using Mung beans for years in curries and occasional salads, since being introduced to them via some Indian recipes and an... come and read more...

Delicious & Simple Red Onion Chutney

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, No Added Sugar, Recipes

Today's recipe harks back to the simplicity of great cooking, using the bare minimum of ingredients to create a simple red onion chutney which tastes utterly beautiful. This simple relish contains all of the delicious zingy sweetness that a good chutney should have. It's utterly beautiful slapped atop splinters of crusty bread alongside a summer spread of meats, fish, salad or during a sun drenched picnic.
Today’s recipe harks back to the simplicity of great cooking, using the bare minimum of ingredients to create a simple red onion chutney which tastes utterly beautiful. This simple relish contains all of the delicious zingy sweetness that a good chutney should have. It’s utterly beautiful slapped atop splinters of crusty bread alongside a summer spread of meats, fish, salad or during a sun drenched picnic.

Earlier this week, I decided to make a red onion chutney, jam, marmalade, whatever the hell you want to call it. I’m going with chutney, I think jam or marmalade needs more sugar and less vinegar. Anyway, my first port of call was research – to the internet! Barrages of recipes, flavours and ideas had quickly engulfed my reading list proposing a vast range of styles and names for a red onion relish. People were extolling the benefits of multitudinous ways of making this simple... come and read more...

Balsamic Roasted Peppers

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Recipes, Side dishes, Starters, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Balsamic roasted peppers are a mediterranean treat made with red, orange, green or yellow peppers, gently braised in the oven with garlic, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil until they become soft, sweet, richly flavoured slithers of pepper. Perfect for a salad, a picnic or to be served alongside cheese, charcuterie and olives as antipasti. Alternatively make ahead and store them in the fridge until you need them.
Today’s post is about creating luscious slithers of pepper, roasted with balsamic vinegar and garlic to create rich, sweet antipasti style balsamic roasted peppers. These are incredibly easy to make if you forego the peeling, but if you want the ‘perfect’ experience then you need to peel them, just make sure you’ve dialled in your patience levels on that particular day. Confrontation. I woke up early today. I’ve got a meeting with a website developer about a the ongoing development of the bloggerskillsacademy site I’m creating. The whole process has drifted slightly and I feel we need to kick some life back into it and get on track. I get nervous about confrontation with people, so having to exhibit some doubts about the way things are progressing seems like a mammoth hurdle to me. I get up early anyway, my alarm goes off at 5.40am, at which point I jump…