Vietnamese Tofu Summer Rolls

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Sandwiches & Wraps, Small Bites, Vegan, Vegetarian

Vietnamese spring rolls with a vegetarian twist, featuring smoked tofu to make delightfully aromatic, crispy, crunchy tofu summer rolls which are vegetarian and vegan. You can make these in the kitchen to wow your guests or build them at the table so everyone can get their hands dirty.
Today’s recipe is for Vietnamese spring rolls with a vegetarian twist, using smoked tofu to make delightfully aromatic tofu summer rolls. These South East Asian favourites have gained a lot of popularity in recent years and for good reason, they’re amazingly easy to make, as well as bright and fresh and a crunchy summer treat that can be made in the kitchen to wow your guests, or created at the table so that everyone can get their hands dirty. Don’t Keep Me Hanging on the Telephone… Waiting. I’m waiting. I’m trying to buy a little flat. Well, I say I’m trying to buy a little flat, but actually, I’m allowing my pooch and my work to choose a flat for me. You see, as an unattached guy in London who works from home, I could have chosen all sorts of places to live, East, West, North, South, as long as…

Thai Dipping Sauce (Nam Pla Prik)

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Recipes, Salads, Sauces, Side dishes, Small Bites

This sweet and spicy thai dipping sauce is the perfect addition to salads, meat or fish, or as a dip to go with spring rolls, summer rolls or anything else that needs an extra kick. Made with just five ingredients it’s got a powerful chilli kick with potent flavours of fish sauce, lime juice, garlic and palm sugar. It’s the perfect summer sauce, regardless of whether the sun is shining or not! Find the full recipe at lepetitoeuf.com
There’s no need to lament the British Summer when there are such beautifully bright and abundant recipes in the world as this Thai dipping sauce otherwise known as ‘Nam Pla Prik’, a bold and powerful indulgence for your senses. The Joys of Summer. I stare out of the window on this summer day, the day before the solstice, the day before the longest sun rises over the glorious plains of Albion, shining new, fresh light into all those who dance under it’s rays, pouring energy fourth and transforming the worlds of those under it. But instead of such glorious imagery, it is indeed a loathsome, cloudy, grey, wet, summer’s day. I should know better by now, I’ve lived in England for every single one of my 38 years of life to date, and apart from 2013 I struggle to remember a summer that could be in any way termed as…

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 avocados, because they share one defining characteristic, which is that they have a very narrow window of opportunity during which they are at their prime for…

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 dinners (although, I hold no particular candle for roast dinners, but they do sound homely). This left me with the question of how to create a lunch that’s not heavy and stodgy,…

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 it. So I came back to it again, and it was like greeting an old friend after a long break. I was a few breaths away from…

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 together. By this point you might be feeling sorry for the poor bulgur wheat, for not getting a headline mention, but it’s not…