Spelt Tempura Asparagus with Aioli

Gavin WrenRecipes, Small Bites, Spelt & ancient grains, Starters, Vegetables, Vegetarian

It's time to take advantage of the beautiful British asparagus season, what better way than simple spelt tempura asparagus, served with a delicious garlicky aioli. This may sound complicated, but they are such simple recipes that give a feeling of mastery and sound utterly seductive. These vegetarian dishes make beautiful starters which your guests will be seriously impressed with.
There are recipes in this world which are hurried through the dining room with an aura of devout reverence, as their presence at the table embodies the pinnacle of gastronomic endeavour. I have always held tempura in such lofty esteem, regarding it a delicacy of such immeasurable finesse, that it would be sacrilege for a homely cook of my standing to even attempt it. God forbid.

Yet, after an afternoon of frolicking with flour, ice cold sparkling water and the most beautifully fine, delicately fresh, organic British asparagus, tempura's spell has been broken. I now feel comfortable sharing this delicacy with you, fully believing that it is within the reach of every single one of us, because it is beautifully simple.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you Spelt Tempura Asparagus with Aioli.

Spring, along with the asparagus season, has well and truly sprung. The past few days of high twenties... come and read more...

Caprese Salad – Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Small Bites, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Traditional Caprese salad doesn’t have pesto, balsamic, loads of herbs or other ingredients, it’s just fantastic tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala campana, basil, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. That is all you need for the most amazing, light, bright, fresh mouthful of summer. When you see the tomatoes in season, it’s time to jump at this perfect vegetarian lunch dish and KISS! (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)
Today, I revisit the world of beautiful Italian simplicity, the Caprese Salad. Borne out of luscious hot summers that gift the Italian land with amazing tomatoes, they marry with thick wedges of traditional Mozzarella di Bufala Campana perfectly, creating a dish that deserves only the best ingredients, and nothing else will do. Along with it’s stablemate, the Tricolore Salad, the Caprese sits in the throne of elegant beauty amongst dishes, so often bastardised by those who don’t know better. On the other hand, you, my friend, do know better, or at least you will do, in about 730 words time. Last year I published a rant about how Italian food is debased by people’s interpretations of it. Italian dishes often require just a few ingredients, which makes them incredibly accessible and simple, but they should be the most amazing examples of the ingredients that you can find.

Clementine and Fennel Salad with a Zesty Dill Dressing

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Small Bites, Vegan, Vegetarian

Clementine and fennel salad with a citrussy dill dressing, a light, sweet side salad with the zesty overtones of clementine and the uniquely aromatic flavour of dill, which pairs beautifully with citrus flavours. Anise-scented fennel is the ideal vegetable to base this salad upon, bumping it up to a full sized, slaw-esque side salad. Perfectly suited to light summer dinners, shared lunches, picnics or alongside fish. It’s vegetarian and vegan as well, plus dairy free so perfect for most diets.
Today’s recipe is a clementine and fennel salad with a citrussy dill dressing, a light, sweet side salad with the zesty overtones of clementine and the uniquely aromatic flavour of dill, which pairs beautifully with citrus flavours. Anise-scented fennel is the perfect vegetable to base this salad upon, bumping it up to a full sized, slaw-esque side salad.
Milestones in Blogging.
This is post number one hundred and ninety six in the history of le petit oeuf, meaning that the big two-hundred is fast approaching, a massively significant milestone in my blogging life. Those 196 posts comprise approximately 200,000 words and around 1,000 images. If that's not enough words, I write another thousand every morning of every day, as part of my morning pages ritual. This practice is fast approaching it's first anniversary on the 9th May, meaning I will have written nearly 365,000 painful

Grilled Halloumi with Pomegranate Salsa

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

Soft, velveteen grilled halloumi cheese with pomegranate salsa makes a fantastic starter, the crunchy, sweet pomegranate seeds mix with bright, fresh mint, a dash of lime juice for a bright fresh salsa, slathered atop some hot grilled halloumi cheese deliver a truly joyful vegetarian dish!
My neighbours gifted me a pair of enormous pomegranates amongst a basket of beautiful fruit and vegetables a couple of weeks ago, resulting in some delicious pomegranate recipes on this blog. The crisp, ruby red seeds make a fantastic addition to so many recipes and today's halloumi with pomegranate salsa is no exception, even making it onto the menu for mother's day this weekend (shhh, don't tell mum!).
Puppyish Joy.
Bernard is also 2 years old this weekend, so he's not really a puppy any more, in fact, he hasn't been an official puppy quite some time, but I don't let that stop me from calling him 'puppy' at every opportunity. He still behaves like a puppy, bouncing around the park with the air of un-coordination in his leaps that puppies deliver in spades. On his morning walk he innocently bounds up to every other dog within

Roasted Cumin Chickpeas

Gavin WrenRecipes, Small Bites, Vegetarian

Roasted cumin chickpeas coated with cumin seeds, cumin powder, garlic, oil and salt then baked in the oven until they're crunchy, crispy little morsels of finger food, making the perfect nibble to go with your festive party plans. They're very easy to make and scale up to make a big batch easily, just keep a tin of chickpeas in the cupboard and amaze your guests with how resourceful you are!
Today I’ve trawled through a total of FIVE different recipes to bring you one of the most awesomely easy snacks you can make this festive season. Simple chickpeas rolled in cumin seeds, cumin powder, garlic and oil to create a delicate little nibble that’s punching a big flavour. Crunchy Little Creations. A few months ago I discovered the delights of roasted chickpeas, learning how the process of heating them in the oven adds a delightful crunch to these popular little pulses. Back then it was summertime and they were adorning the top of a mixed leaf salad, creating a fantastic layer of texture over some roasted root vegetables, mixed leaves and a creamy kefir dressing. They were a delight. With the festive season bearing down upon us, bringing with it a necessity for readily available finger food, I focussed my attention on turning a tin of chickpeas into an irresistible…

Cinnamon Popcorn – Low Sugar

Gavin WrenRecipes, Small Bites

Sweet cinnamon popcorn made on the stove in a saucepan is great fun as you watch all the kernels fly all over the place! Made with low sugar content and ready in minutes, you'll wonder why you ever bought pre-made popcorn!
Today it’s one of my classic, sure-fire favourites. A little recipe I regularly make, always ensuring a bag of corn is residing in the cupboard, ready to launch itself into a steaming hot bowl of sweet cinnamon popcorn at the merest hint of a movie night. Besides, making popcorn at home is awesome fun and once you buy the bag of corn, you’ll always have the ingredients to make as much as you want. Oink, oink. I’ve been eating like a pig this weekend, which just has to happen occasionally, like a high-board dive into unabashed gluttony. They say the best diet is one which is varied, however I eat consistently healthy food in constrained portions all week. Therefore, including a hearty, gut-busting portion of ‘varied’* food occasionally at the weekends, enhances that sought-after variety and can only make my diet the pinnacle of healthy eating**. * i.e. pizza, curry,…