Goat’s cheese and raspberry tarts

Gavin WrenBaking, Main Dishes, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Goat's cheese and raspberry tart cooked
Just a few days ago I was telling you how great making a simple rough puff pastry is, using spelt flour, and how it’s one of the most simple and rewarding things you can do. And the real treat comes when you cook it, as you can watch the pastry puff it’s cheeks and take on the rich, warm, golden tones that pastry develops in the oven. And it’s extremely versatile. Once you have the base pastry mixed, you can do all sorts of things with it, sweet or savoury, individual tarts or large sharing ones. Also, don’t miss out on the opportunity to get creative and try something of your own with the spare pieces (see the box at the bottom of the page). This tart makes a beautiful summer or autumn recipe, something that’s simple to make yet both visually stunning and amazingly tasty. It’s also a great…

Spelt rough puff pastry

Gavin WrenBaking, Basic Ingredients, Food Techniques, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Spelt rough puff pastry ready for oven
Can I tell you a bit of a secret? This recipe got me really excited. Yep, a recipe for plain spelt rough puff pastry and I was over-the-moon excited. It’s not even a recipe that you’d eat on it’s own, it’s just a gateway to other kitchen delights, but for some reason, basic ingredients and techniques get me really excited. A bit like the oven dried tomatoes that were the subject of my first published recipe on this site. In that instance I turned a load of regular tomatoes into rich, sweet, nuggets of concentrated flavour by doing something pretty damn simple. And here’s that excitement again, but with baking there is something slightly magical about the metamorphosis that occurs. It seems so transformational, to take a few simple, pale ingredients like flour, water and butter, combine them, add heat, and the end result is a rich, flaky, crispy morsel…

Spelt banana bread with tahini and honey – dairy free

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Spelt banana bread with tahini and honey dairy and low gluten
There once was a caped crusader that fought crime wherever he went, who wore a blue suit, yellow cape and gloves, plus a slightly funny snood-type hat with pointy yellow ears on it. No, not Batman on dress-down Friday, nor Superman after mixing-the-wrong-colours whilst doing the weekly wash. No, it’s the one and only Bananaman! Now, my girlfriend seems to think I’m some kind of modern day Bananaman. This isn’t because I’m a contemporary urban warrior, who has flown in and saved her from a life of tyranny, but because firstly, I’m quite enthusiastic about buying and keeping bananas, and secondly, because I have yellow (I prefer blond) hair, which apparently adds to the banana-likeness. But for 22 years I didn’t touch a single banana, because sometime around my 11th Birthday, I decided that I didn’t like them any more. Then one morning on holiday a few years ago on…

Roasted kale, goat’s cheese and pear salad with ‘Jeff’s flat’ cranberry dressing

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Kale, Goats Cheese and Pear salad with cranberry dressing
This is one of the few recipes that I’ve created which has been made many, many times before being posted on here. Normally recipes are created, tested once or twice, then BANG, they’re up there in the top spot. However this one drifted out of my head in early January, when we were staying at our friend Jeff’s flat, having foolishly employed some builders to tear down the ceilings and replaster the walls in BOTH of our bedrooms at the same time. I never, ever could have guessed how disruptive that would be, or how much work it would be for me, keeping those bastards in check. Anyway, back to the food. The recipe was a hit straight away, and has proved quite versatile. We made it for lunch the following weekend, and the one after, and the one after. I must have had it at least ten times now,…

Pan-fried spiced sprats with a fennel salad

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads

Pile of pan fried, spiced sprats
I have distant memories of being a small child, in a pub garden in Surrey with my parents, when I first discovered the dish that is a plate of tiny little fried fish which you ate whole; whitebait. I became inwardly obsessed with them, always longing to find them on the menu when eating out, waiting for that crunchy little fish that I could souse with vinegar and devour whole. In later life this eating-seafood-whole obsession was overtaken by the discovery of soft-shell crab, something I first tried in Singapore and have since longed to see make an appearance on more menus, allowing me to grab my hit when possible. Then, when I was last in the fishmongers I noticed a large tub of sprats nestling amongst the various other marine bounty on display, and I pondered if they were any relation to whitebait, or if they could be eaten…

Blog posts are like fish – Mackerel on Rye

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

mackerel on rye bread with poached eggs and mustard yoghurt sauce
Benjamin Franklin once said “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days”. As well as being very true, it’s also how I feel about posting recipes on this blog. Inspiration for a recipe may come to me at any time, and is often so fleeting that it must be written down immediately, or it may vanish forever. However, if it is retained, then follows the step of developing the idea into a workable, tasty recipe; something which I can take as long as I want over, I’ve spent months working some ideas out. “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Benjamin FranklinBut finally comes the commitment of buying the ingredients and setting myself up to cook the recipe. This is where the three day countdown timer starts. I interact with the food by chopping, cutting, mixing, heating, crying (depending how badly it goes) until the dish is…