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…

Smoked trout salad with fennel & dill and a horseradish, lemon & yoghurt dressing

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads

smoked trout fennel and beetroot with dill salad
You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. I mean that in two ways as it’s both easy to make, so no scope for going wrong there, and it also holds it’s ground in the fabulous tasting stakes, so no wrongness to be found there either. Originally, I was determined that this receipe was to be made specifically with hot smoked trout, rather than the cold smoked fish that I’ve used. If you’re unsure of the difference, hot smoking uses hot smoke, which cooks the fish leaving it light pink in colour, as if cooked normally. Cold smoking, which is the type applied to ‘traditional’ smoked salmon, is done with cold smoke, leaving the fish looking more like raw fish. However, monsieur Sainsbury and his staff were against me when I went shopping. Despite prolonged efforts and no matter how intently I stared at the chilled fish section, hot smoked…

Red cabbage salad with roquefort and poached eggs

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

red cabbage egg roquefort walnut salad
This recipe is thanks to a crate of fresh home-grown vegetables that my folks bestowed upon me on Friday. Having worked our way through tomatoes, runner beans, sweetcorn and cucumber yesterday, I reached the red cabbage bag and wondered what to do. Looking for some inspiration online I was bogged down with the festive spiced red cabbage recipes which the internet is awash with, but they didn’t feel right for a warm summer’s day lunch. I wanted something lighter and more salad-y but which would be a meal in itself. So I pulled together this bunch of ingredients and here is what happened. I’ll confess at this point that I have never, ever, cooked red cabbage in my life. And after having made this recipe, that’s not changed, as I’ve opted for using it raw. In fact, if you remove the Roquefort and eggs, then the base salad with dressing…