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…

Spelt Hot Cross Buns

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Spiced spelt flour hot cross buns
The almighty spelt hot cross buns So it’s Easter, that means chocolate eggs, rabbits, yellow chicks, and err, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like Christmas, it’s a time of the year where you get complete carte blanche to eat whatever the hell you want. This normally manifests in a wheelbarrow full of chocolate and a big roast dinner, not forgetting the mighty hot cross bun. Did you know that you’re officially supposed to eat hot cross buns for a minimum of two weeks, either side of Easter weekend, and the longer, the better? (only kidding, but it’s a good benchmark). And like Christmas pudding, they taste good at any time of year. As you may have guessed, I like hot cross buns. I also have a thing for spelt flour. In fact, I’m on a ceaseless mission to spelt-ificate everything that I bake, which leads to some great discoveries and…

Hearty roasted garlic and squash soup with kale

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted garlic and butternut squash soup with kale in the saucepans
Winter = Soup. Summer = Salad. If there were ever two dishes that were clearly defined by the seasons, then these must be the top contenders. And in case anyone starts shouting “what about winter salads and ‘slaws”, I’m a fan of winter salads (Check out my roasted kale and goat’s cheese salad if you’ve not seen it already!), BUT, nothing beats super fresh, flavoursome summer salads that have gone from plant to plate in the shortest time possible. They’re just magical. And whilst we’re revelling in this joyous abundance of fresh produce in the summer, you’ll find the soup section in your local supermarket almost completely curls up and goes into hibernation. But, it’s all very logical, because homemade soup is simply the best thing to have for your lunches during the winter. It’s easy to make, cheap and endlessly tweakable to add the flavours…

How to make vegetable stock

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

How to make vegetable stock
Vegetables boiled in water. Yep, that’s all it is, easy peasy. Making your own vegetable stock at home is one of the fundamental kitchen processes that you just have to do now and again. It’s so easy, it doesn’t use up much time and it’s basically impossible to overcook. And if you have left over vegetables, peering over the edge of the compost, it’s a super efficient use of them before they go. Now, although there are some traditional staples used to make vegetable stock, such as carrots and onions, you can actually use whatever you want. Just remember that the vegetables you use will have an effect on the flavour, colour and clarity of your final broth. So beetroot and potato will give you a red, cloudy stock, whereas onion and carrot gives you a relatively clear stock. However, the basic principle remains the same, whatever you use, you…

Super Smokey Veggie Chilli

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Smokey Vegetarian Tofu Chilli
Good morning campers! I hope you’re having a lovely Sunday morning. It’s a clear, crisp, late winter morning here, with daffodils dancing in the breeze outside my window, so why am I sitting at a computer posting recipes for you all… good question! The reason is because today’s recipe is an utterly delicious vegetarian chilli with a smokey twist, giving it an extra dimension of flavour, and I’ve just got to share it with you. This hot, warming dish has proven to be a repeat hit at home on these cold nights, by doubling up the recipe to make a big pot-full it’s kept us stocked in flavour-filled, easy midweek dinners on a few occasions. And it’s no co-incidence that the last blog post was a beginners guide to home smoking, showing you how it’s easy to start smoking food at home, starting with vegetables or tofu. And here’s…

Smoking Tofu: A beginners guide to smoking

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

Hot smoked tofu BBQ on Weber Go Anywhere
So, first take a pack of King-size Rizlas. Ooops, wrong kind of smoking! Ignore that. Let’s start again. Underage Smokers When I was growing up, smoked food meant a couple of things to me. Firstly, it meant smoked salmon, those luscious pink slithers of rich flavour, associations of good times and parties; Christmas, family birthdays and the like. Also kippers, those stinky, smoked breakfast fish that my Dad ate and I also grew to love. As a young lad on a family camping holiday in Suffolk, we once stopped at a small smokery, where I saw a cupboard full of herrings hung out, being smoked into kippers. We bought some, and had them for breakfast the next day, I still remember the overpowering charred wood flavour of these just-smoked fish. But seeing that cupboard of fish pegged up like laundry taught me exactly what this smoking process was, how it…