Smoked mackerel omelette with horseradish

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

smoked mackerel horseradish omelette
I don’t really like roast dinners. I’m sure that’s heresy in some quarters, but it’s the truth. From a young age I eschewed gravy on any roast dinner (yes, I know, I’m a heathen), preferring to retain the integrity, structure and substance of my food, rather than reduce it to a plate of sloppy gruel that could be consumed via a straw. This doesn’t mean I like my food dry, I just favour the legion other inspiring sauces and condiments made available to us, such as mint sauce, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise (on roast potatoes and chips, of course) and horseradish. I’d even say that I prefer the flavour hit of horseradish sauce to the flavour of roast beef. Of course beef has more depth, character and nutritional value, but horseradish will never fail to get the attention of your taste buds tout de suite in a way little else does.…

Anchovy sweetcorn butter

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Recipes, Side dishes, Starters, Vegetables

Anchovy butter with sweetcorn
Some people have similarities to vegetables. I don’t mean that in a rude, insulting way, but in an genuinely characterful or aesthetic way. People can look like aubergines, eggs, asparagus, all sorts of things. My girlfriend seems to think I look like a sweetcorn and apparently I have an affinity with them as they (my sweetcorn family) all wave at me as we drive down country roads lined with fields of tall sweetcorn plants. I do admittedly have a certain understanding of sweetcorn, because when I was young, my Dad used to grow rows of them on his vegetable patch in our garden. As a youngster I learned how to tell when they’re ready to pick, waiting for the silky strands to darken and checking the corns are milky when pierced. Of all the vegetables that sprung from that patch of land, sweetcorn was the homegrown vegetable which I noticed…

Chargrilled aubergine bites

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Recipes, Small Bites, Starters, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Chargrilled aubergine rolls
As I’ve had a bit more time on my hands this year I’ve been spending it doing the things I enjoy, one of which is burning aubergines. Rather than being some kind of sado-massochistic lachanophobic (fear of vegetables) passtime, it’s an activity that actually enhances this abundant fruit of summer. Not too long ago I shared my recipe for baba ghanoush, a dish whose success is dependent on your ability to carry out the utter incineration of an aubergine. If you think that ‘just a bit crispy’ is fine, you’re wrong, it needs to be burned beyond help, way past the point that you think it’s still edible. It seems that aubergines do something quite special when they get burned. Rather than curl up, or cry and run their finger under a cold tap, they embrace the heat, lounging like a latino lothario, they just lay back and soak it…

Super quick sea bass

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Recipes

Quick sea bass with torn basil and smoked salt
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about food bloggers (and I’m probably guilty of it too), it’s that we have a predilection for over stating how easy our recipes are. It’s like a USP, which has to be professed at all costs to help draw your reading eyes and cooking hands into the world of our blogs. The problem is that it’s not always true. Sometimes the ‘easy’ recipes are only easy if compared to making a salmon ballotine served with lemon sabayon whilst translating Dostoevsky into Urdu. So it’s all relative. As a blogger, once you’ve created a recipe, developed the flavour from a vision of it in your head, then made that recipe once, twice, thrice or more, it can seem easy to make, because it’s hard wired into you. So in defence of myself, it can be tricky to step away from my own head, take a…

Aromatic prawn and coriander wrap

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Recipes, Sandwiches & Wraps

Aromatic prawn and coriander wrap on plate
I often wonder what you think of me. Whether you have a vision of a gastronomically diverse guy labouring endlessly over a hot desk to create recipe ideas and ingredient lists, or maybe someone with culinary nous that can compile a recipe in the same way you decide how many sugars to have in your tea? Well, today it’s a case of raiding the fridge and a bit of potluck, which also happens to serve up a very neat lesson as to why experimenting in the kitchen is so important to developing cooking skills, as like so many things in life, it’s the little unplanned events which are often the best. The story, goes a little like this… I was at home, alone and didn’t have any lunch. My mood, for some unknown, fleeting reason had betrayed any motivation I could conjure that day, which meant I was disinclined to…

Brunch-style smoked salmon panzanella

Gavin WrenBreakfast, Fish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

Brunch smoked salmon panzanella with poached egg
Yes, yes, I know it’s Monday, not Sunday, so why am I posting a Sunday brunch recipe? Well, firstly, because yesterday was Sunday, which was the day I cooked and photographed this, and secondly, because I wanted to give you plenty of time to wind this recipe into your weekly shopping, so that you can make it this coming weekend. It’s a lovely, easy one to make, a Sunday brunch special which can be quickly thrown together and when it comes to being served, the messier, the better. It doesn’t require very much forethought or planning which combined with a little bit of leftover, stale bread you can create this unique twist on either Panzanella, or poached eggs on toast, depending on how you look at things. Maybe poached eggs on panzanella? Make sure you go in heavy with the dressing as this recipe really needs the lemon and oil,…