Smoked Paprika Avocado Salad

Gavin WrenRecipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

A healthy chickpea salad dressed with sweet white balsamic and smoked paprika, diced avocado and aromatic coriander is a beautiful lunchtime treat that's bursting with mexican and middle eastern flavours. It's vegetarian and vegan to boot, a meatfree treat to have for lunch or dinner and tastes even better if you make it in advance!
Most of the writing on my blog is not about food, but life in general and how I cope with it or not, in some cases. On occasion I veer onto a food-related social or political bent, but it's rare for me to write lovingly about the flavours and story behind a recipe. Today, I've been staring at my screen for 53 minutes and have only written the preceding sentence. The first 51 minutes and 13 seconds were spent typing then deleting, typing then deleting as I attempted to coax a story about smoked paprika onto the page.

Constructive Procrastination.
I also checked out the bulk price of Kalamata olives (c.£20 for 2kg on eBay, £16 on Amazon fresh) and appraised which size Really Useful Boxes I need for my cupboards (none, they're not quite the right size), to round up the disparate bags of half... come and read more...

Spelt Cinnamon Bun Cake

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

It's said that our sense of smell invokes profound feelings and emotions within us. Baking this spelt cinnamon bun cake put that to the test and confirmed that a tantalising aroma can put my brain into sensory overload. This recipe is loaded with cinnamon and cardamom infused with soy milk to make a sweet bake which is a traditional Scandinavian treat and for good reason, because it's utterly irresistable!
It's said that our sense of smell invokes profound feelings and emotions within us. Baking this spelt cinnamon bun cake put that to the test and confirmed that a tantalising aroma can put my brain into sensory overload.

The Road Less Travelled.
When talking of food, it's easy to lapse into trite, oft-repeated phrases, loaded with food-friendly adjectives. An author's job is to track down the scent of unique expression, rather than propping up the bar with descriptions that we've all heard before. Originality provokes interest, I often ponder over how to construct the description of a recipe, without resorting to the usual suspects of 'simple', 'rich', 'tasty', 'easy', 'quick'. Rich brevity is the key to success.

It takes a deeper analysis of the food, a bear-hug of emotional connection with it and an expansive relationship with the English language to venture beyond the obvious... come and read more...

Spelt Focaccia

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Tender, fresh, homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil. The job of baking bread at home may seem like an onerous task, but when it produces such beautifully tender, flavoursome bread, the ability to bake your own bread begins to feel more like a special privilege.
Twenty-six recipes. That's how many you'll find on my blog which feature spelt flour. With the inclusion of this recipe for spelt focaccia it's a total of twenty-seven on the list. Having created so many spelt recipes, I've become a bit of an expert on this ancient grain and today's recipe has drawn on that knowledge. This fresh, tender, aromatic homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil is simply beautiful and a treasure to adorn your table.

Yes, Italian Food, Again.
I love good Italian food, it holds a highly seductive allure for me, because when it's good, it's magical. The beauty is often in the simplicity of using great ingredients, then treating them with incredible respect. Unfortunately, it has historically seen some shocking handling at the mercy of the UK restaurant trade and via the over-spiced, over-flavoured... come and read more...

Indian Sprouted Bean Salad with Avocado

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

Here's a spicy, zingy Indian style sprouted bean salad which has been my default lunch option for a few weeks, because it ticks all my boxes for a great lunch. It's simple to make (once you've got the sprouts), it's ridiculously tasty with the combination of seeds, spices, lemon and chilli, plus it's got a big tick next to all the major nutrients we need. All this alongside it being completely vegan, it really couldn't be more versatile and all satisfying.
Here's a spicy, Indian style sprouted bean salad which has been my default lunch option for the last few weeks, because it ticks all my 'great lunch' boxes. It's simple to make (once you've got the sprouts), ridiculously tasty with the combination of seeds, spices, lemon and chilli, plus it's got a big tick next to all the major nutrients we need. Alongside it being completely vegan, it really couldn't be more versatile and all satisfying.

Social Sprouts
Sprouts say one thing to me. Brussels. I'm not talking about the cosmopolitan city, lying a mere 121 minutes away from London St Pancras, rather the bitter green orbs of distaste which I was deigned not to like well before one had ever crossed the threshold of my trap. Society seemed constructed for little children who Don't Like Sprouts. Perhaps it's their bitter flavour, or perhaps there's an entire social... come and read more...

Mango Lassi – Dairy Free

Gavin WrenDrinks, Recipes

Mango season is the time to make a Mango Lassi, the traditional Indian yoghurt drink which is as refreshing as the morning dew and perfect for a hot summers day. I’ve included the option to make this dairy free as well!
There is an abundance of mangoes in the world as the fruit comes into season across South Asia, flooding the streets of London with it's sweet, sweet flesh. When life throws you lemons, you make lemonade. When life throws you mangoes, you make mango lassi.

Mangolia.
Mango season is firmly upon us. This is massive news in my swathe of East London, the entire area goes mango crazy for a few months, seeing shops transform themselves from DVD stores, perfume shops or clothes retailers into mango traders. Any shop whose mango range numbers less than 6 different boxes is passed over as amateur as the street buzzes with people sniffing, prodding and squeezing the mangolian landscape whilst weighing up prices between vendors. My naive innocence of the way of the mango was highlighted last year when I asked to buy just one. The vendor chuckled, explaining I needed... come and read more...

Cinnamon Roasted Squash with Lentils

Gavin WrenRecipes, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

The divine pairing of butternut squash and cinnamon sit so beautifully together in the amazing plant based, vegetarian and vegan recipe, it would be easy to assume that God himself had blessed us with their co-operation. A tray of simple cinnamon roasted squash, mixed up with a mash of garlicky lentils, is incredibly simple and simply incredible. It creates the perfect foundation for a meat free meal or a simple vegetable side dish.
The divine pairing of butternut squash and cinnamon sit so beautifully together, it would be easy to assume that God himself had blessed us with their co-operation. A tray of simple cinnamon roasted squash, mixed up with a mash of garlicky lentils, is incredibly simple and simply incredible. The discovery of this pairing hallowed a eureka moment for me, they sit so perfectly that this recipe needs no more than a hungry mouth and a willing fork to accompany it.

Discrete Divinity.
There are pairings in the world which fit together so perfectly, it were as if God or some other mystical being set them as a challenge for us in life, to see if we could discover these secret little puzzles. Like the easter eggs hidden by the developers in computer games, the little puzzles, rewards, cheats or shortcuts, buried within the fabric of the game... come and read more...