Turmeric Sweet Potato Wonder Pots

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Turmeric sweet potato wonder pots
The Wonder Spice Recently, turmeric took top position in the ingredient-of-the-moment hit list when it suddenly leapt to prominence due to the emergence of it’s overwhelming health giving abilities, which make it an all round super-spice. Before reading about this, I was primarily aware of it’s abilities to instantaneously stain anything it touched yellow, along with it’s presence in pilau rice and other Indian dishes I’d cooked. I once had a go at making turmeric milk and have to say I found the end result slightly underwhelming, in fact I wasn’t any where near being whelmed at all and I’m not even sure what being whelmed feels like, regardless of being under or over it. In fact it doesn’t even sound very pleasant, if someone said in conversation “I got whelmed last night”, I imagine my response would be “oh dear, are you ok?”. Anyway. As for turmeric the über-spice,…

How to make gravadlax

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Fish & Shellfish, Food Techniques, Main Dishes, Recipes, Small Bites, The World of Food

how to make gravadlax
Today I’m talking about gravlax, or gravalax, or gravadlax, or even Gravad laks depending on where you are, who you are and why you’re here. There might be other spellings that I’m missing out, but so far I’ve covered Norwegian, Swedish and Danish as well as the slightly confused situation in England where it seems to go under a few of those names. However you spell it, this is an absolute peach of a recipe, a personal favourite of mine which gives smoked salmon a run of it’s money without having to go through that messy process of smoking. It’s also another super long-make recipe which is more like a small food side-project rather than a recipe. There’s no way that you can describe a 48-36 hour make time as a quick-to-throw-together meal or easy dinner, this is something completely different, which creates astoundingly tasty results that I can happily…

Simple sweet potatoes with houmous and za’atar

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

baked sweet potato with humous and za'atar
If ever there was a meal that had “I can’t be bothered to cook tonight” written all over it, this is the one. It’s been widely employed in this household for a few years as a simple, low ingredient weeknight dinner that requires almost no preparation and extremely small amounts of your precious, valuable time. It came about almost by chance. I’m not going to pretend there was any deep sensory analysis of ingredients or flavour comparisons, it was simply a day when I hit a new low and couldn’t be bothered even to cook baked beans to go on my potato. You see, just because I write a food blog, it doesn’t mean I live some divine, virtuous lifestyle, devoid of any tinned or pre-prepared foods. I too long for meals that require no effort as much as I love to spend hours in the kitchen over one item,…

Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad
You know when your marriage is going down the pan, because you get home from work and your partner shouts “Dinner’s in the oven!” You say “Great, what is it?” “Salad” (I think this is © The Mary Whitehouse Experience c.1990) It’s that time of year when making cold, summery salads really doesn’t cut the mustard, not to mention comprising highly unseasonal produce. Consuming light, frilly layers of crunchy, cold, raw vegetables just sounds like onerous work after a wild, wet and windy walk and not particularly comforting either. On the contrary, cooking things in the oven and creating roasting hot meals is A Good Thing, conjuring images of log fires, cosy country pubs and steaming hot roast dinners (although, I hold no particular candle for roast dinners, but they do sound homely). This left me with the question of how to create a lunch that’s not heavy and stodgy,…

Autumnal warm beetroot and chestnut salad

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Starters, Vegetarian

autumn beetroot and chestnut salad
Don’t make this recipe. Understand? Just don’t do it. It’s self harm, it’s painful, agonising and frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, it tastes fantastic and I’ve been looking forward to remaking it for the blog so I could eat it again. It’s really easy to put together, only a few ingredients and if you use pre-cooked beetroot and chestnuts then it really is an honest 10 minute make. But the real pain comes if you use fresh chestnuts, when it’s sweet chestnut season and the leaves are falling from the trees, creating burnt orange quilts under shaded woodland. Amongst the damp, soft ground you’ll find spiky balls that make hedgehogs seem like fluffy cuddle monsters. These contain those sweet, sweet chestnuts, the ones that when roasted over a hot fire taste of pure winter. Should you manage to hoodwink your way past the vicious thorny outers to the inner sanctum…

Pan fried mackerel with beetroot and apple salad

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads

Mackerel with beetroot, apple and horseradish
There’s everything to like about this dish. Thin slivers of just-cooked beetroot doused in a simple red wine vinegar dressing, crisp apple, fresh pan fried mackerel and finished with some nutty, leafy and tangy adornments. It’s a simple recipe for success that I can’t believe has sat in my recipe notes, remaining unpublished for so long. I wrote this recipe in the summer of 2014 and was instantly taken with it. It was made few times and photographed on two occasions, but the photos never lived up to my vision of flavours within the dish. You see, it’s one of those meals that tastes so good, and looks so stunning on the plate that it’s hard to take a photo that truly represents it. So I came back to it again, and it was like greeting an old friend after a long break. I was a few breaths away from…