Hot halloumi slices with mint yoghurt

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Side dishes, Small Bites, Vegetarian

Halloumi with mint yoghurt

Yesterday I told you how to make mint yoghurt, with a straightforward recipe. Today is day two of the Birthday trilogy and I’m indulging that dip with a little bit of halloumi, the Mediterranean cheese found in Greek and Lebanese restaurants or otherwise known as the hard, squeaky cheese which people buy for vegetarians during BBQ season. It’s also a word that isn’t featured in my iMac’s spellchecker dictionary, so it keeps on getting corrected to ‘helium’, just in case you see any peculiar references to grilling or eating helium later on. Halloumi is a really special piece of work, a unique cheese which stands in the face of how you believe cheese should exist and be consumed. It is also stablemates with …come and read more!

Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad

You know when your marriage is going down the pan, because you get home from work and your partner shouts “Dinner’s in the oven!” You say “Great, what is it?” “Salad” (I think this is © The Mary Whitehouse Experience c.1990) It’s that time of year when making cold, summery salads really doesn’t cut the mustard, not to mention comprising highly unseasonal produce. Consuming light, frilly layers of crunchy, cold, raw vegetables just sounds like onerous work after a wild, wet and windy walk and not particularly comforting either. On the contrary, cooking things in the oven and creating roasting hot meals is A Good Thing, conjuring images of log fires, cosy country pubs and steaming hot roast …come and read more!

Pan fried mackerel with beetroot and apple salad

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads

Mackerel with beetroot, apple and horseradish

There’s everything to like about this dish. Thin slivers of just-cooked beetroot doused in a simple red wine vinegar dressing, crisp apple, fresh pan fried mackerel and finished with some nutty, leafy and tangy adornments. It’s a simple recipe for success that I can’t believe has sat in my recipe notes, remaining unpublished for so long. I wrote this recipe in the summer of 2014 and was instantly taken with it. It was made few times and photographed on two occasions, but the photos never lived up to my vision of flavours within the dish. You see, it’s one of those meals that tastes so good, and looks so stunning on the plate that it’s hard to take a photo that truly represents …come and read more!

Harissa and herb aubergine with bulgur

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Harissa herb aubergine with bulgur

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 …come and read more!

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 …come and read more!

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 …come and read more!