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,…

Beetroot, apple and horseradish soup

Gavin WrenRecipes, Soup, Vegetarian

A mountain of cooked beetroot
Bee’roo.
Bee’root.
B’root.
Beet.
Root.
I just can’t seem to say it right. The first person to point this out was my girlfriend, who regularly sends up my pronounciation of the word beetroot. A typical* conversation at home might go like this: Me: “Do you fancy some bee’roo soup for lunch”
Gf: “B’ROO?”
Me: “OK, let’s try again. Would you like a bowl of homemade beeTrooT soup?”
Gf: “B’ROO?”
Me: “I’ll take that as yes.”
(* Grossly exaggerated) This linguistic laziness seems to be quite a common English tradition where people regularly drop letters from words. All over the country, people drop their h’s and t’s when they pronounce words to either sound cool, be cockney, lazy, or just because they do. Even my hairdresser’s name is an example of it, being called ‘Enry ‘Iggins, presumably in reference to the musical My Fair Lady. Anyway, pronounciation peculiarities aside, last…

Super chewy oat, mango and cardamon spelt cookies

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Chewy oat, mango and cardamon spelt cookies on a rack
Can I just start this post by saying that these are THE BEST COOKIES I’VE EVER MADE AT HOME. OK, good. When I was younger, not much younger in fact, probably about a week ago, my favourite cookies were oatmeal and raisin. I would happily eat them until I was genuinely experiencing severe nausea. This would be the trigger for me to step away from the pack, reconsider how much I should eat, the nutritional value of too many cookies, then go back and have “just one more”. However, times move on, I’ve grown another week older, but sometimes, certain things don’t change very much. I still have the ability to eat my way through sugar induced nausea, and frankly, oatmeal and raisin cookies still rock the supermarket-bakery cookie world. But the home cooked cookie world opens up all sorts of possibilites and what I’ve got for you here is…

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad
Method: Chuck it all in a bowl. Mix it up. Eat. If only all recipes could be that simple! You want dinner, you want it to be tasty but you don’t want to spend hours doing it. With a little bit of forethought, recipes like this one can fall straight into that category, they’re really easy to make and fit around your life with a little bit of ‘mise en place’. In case you’re wondering what that is, ‘mise en place’ is a French term which basically means ‘setting up’, and refers to the idea that before cooking or making a recipe, you should get out all of your ingredients, weigh and measure them, then start. In a professional kitchen it all falls under the term ‘prep’, where you spend hours and hours doing the most mundane cutting, peeling and cooking, so that when service starts, everything is ready,…

Easy crispy skin salmon with tarragon yoghurt

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

Easy crispy skin salmon
And, there it is again, yoghurt. You will have to excuse my yoghurt habit, but I just can’t keep away from the stuff. It keeps on cropping up in my recipe ideas, even being the subject of a post in it’s own right – how to make yoghurt at home really easily. I might have to check in to YA (Yogoholics Anonymous – OK, it might not exist, but I could always start it by sitting in a room and talking about yoghurt and how I use it. Although, that sounds extremely like what I’m doing at the moment…) Mix it up and keep it fresh But, this is all for a very good reason, because you can use yoghurt as a really simple, bright and healthy vehicle for all sorts of flavours. I love mixing in things like herbs, citrus, garlic, tahini, horseradish, even cheese with it to create…

Homemade yoghurt recipe with cow’s or goat’s milk

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Food Techniques, Recipes, The World of Food, Vegetarian

Homemade yoghurt with cow's or goat's milk
Blogging rituals. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a bit more time to work on my blog and have discovered that I’m a reclusive blogging creature of routine and ritual. I can’t write unless I’m at my desk, and it’s the morning. Take today as an example. Woke at 6.15am, showered, then started writing on the laptop in the bedroom. I managed to write a depressing rant about the ‘dark side of the blog’. It wasn’t enjoyable to write and doubtfully entertaining to read (and we never will, because I’ve deleted it). I had breakfast, made a coffee, moved to my desk and then, suddenly, a peace and clarity fell upon me. I had found a little space in my world where something positive can happen. And as for afternoons, they are utterly useless, full of distraction and anxiety. After lunch, I might as well just stick my feet…