Sun-dried tomato and rosemary polenta

Sun-dried tomato and rosemary polenta

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

I had no idea what to call these polenta shapes. Burgers? Nope. Patties? That’s just a burger, isn’t it? Frisbees? Pucks? So I gave up and just went with good old, simple ‘polenta’ on it’s own, which, after all, is exactly what this is. And given the vagaries of trying to lure polenta into your desired shape, it might be best not to assign any shape-based nouns to this dish, as there’s a good chance you’ll end up making polenta splats, polenta balls or polenta mounds. Polenta is peculiar stuff. It fills a void in my perception of food that exists somewhere between pasta and bread. It’s yet another thing which I hadn’t eaten much in the first 35 years of my life and only recently started to experiment with it. My main beef with it is the texture, so I wanted to try and get a little bit of…
smoked mackerel horseradish omelette

Smoked mackerel omelette with horseradish

Gavin Wren Fish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

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.…
Spicy vegetable and preserved lemon quinoa

Spicy veg and preserved lemon quinoa

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Today’s hearty pot of wonder is a dish full of mouth filling flavour that has a slightly spiced, Indian slant. It’s a vegetarian, quinoa plate of joy, that through it’s development went from “mmmmm, this is nice” on it’s first outing, through “mmmmm, this is pretty good” on it’s second, to “wow, this is really tasty” on it’s final incarnation that you see here. I’ve always had a soft spot for Indian food, when growing up I saw an Indian takeaway as a real treat, from a young age I enjoyed the rich, full flavours which the cuisine offered. When I’ve visited India I’ve always fought with the internal dichotomy of being a kid in a sweet shop, wanting to try the vast variety of new food available and being the cautious visitor, well aware of how our delicate digestive systems don’t always take too kindly to some of the…
Roquefort and sun dried tomato omelette

Sun dried tomato and roquefort omelette with rocket

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

The recipe today is super quick, I’m not hanging around, I’ve got so little to do and so much time to do it in that I can’t just sit around being busy writing blog posts and editing photos. Capiche? Confusing eh? That’s the idea. My brain is in a fuzzle today, I had a strange dream last night where an old colleague of mine who I got on well with told me to “FUCK OFF” because he was furious at me. Strange, but maybe he was furious, but was too nice to say it? Straight after that, I crumbled out of bed, washed, then took our puppy for a walk on the heath. This is normally a time of peace and sanctuary in which the rising sun casts long shadows and soft light across the landscape with a bounding puppy constantly checking my presence to affirm his safety. But today…
Paprika sweet potato wedges with feta mint yoghurt

Paprika sweet potato wedges with minted feta yoghurt

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Side dishes, Spreads & Dips, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Back at the wheel. I’m back! Although you probably hadn’t noticed, I’ve been away for a little while. Not away ‘away’, but away from the blog. And what’s the event that has caused me to temporarily desert (mmmm, dessert) my beloved blog? Surely it must be something awful, heartrendingly terrible or existentially disastrous to pry my frantic fingertips from the surface of my keyboard? The good news is that nothing bad has happened. It was the arrival of a little creature, an 8 week old miniature poodle puppy who we called Bernard, that managed to get the better of me psychologically for a few weeks. That left little space up there to consider food, blogs or for that matter, anything else at all (apologies to my girlfriend). Just in case you’re interested, here’s the little bundle of joy in all his mischievous glory: I’d like to add a little footnote,…
Harissa herb aubergine with bulgur

Harissa and herb aubergine with bulgur

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

If I had to describe this dish in one sentence, I’d say it’s like listening to opera whilst doing circuit training in a tutu. Now, taken literally, you could assume that this dish makes you feel like an utter idiot, which is not my intention. But if you look beyond that superficial lunacy, at the component elements, they all represent something within the dish to give you an idea of it’s characteristics. The harissa is the circuit training, the hit of spice that makes you sweat and gives the dish a kick. The opera is the mixed drama and high notes of the coriander, mint and lemon that give a bright, liberating, romantic flavour. And finally, the aubergine is the tutu, soft, silky and bringing it all together. By this point you might be feeling sorry for the poor bulgur wheat, for not getting a headline mention, but it’s not…