BBQ charred pepper, onion and lentil soup

Gavin WrenRecipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

red pepper onion and lentil soup with parsley
So the season of soup has swerved surreptitiously into softer summer styles. I would love to continue this entire post with such extravagant alliteration, however I don’t think my mind, or thesaurus for that matter, is quite up to it today. Alliteration n. the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.But, if such a thing as culinary alliteration exists, in the form of repeated use of similar sounding ingredients, then this soup would be a perfect example. You’ve got red peppers, red onions, red lentils and one of the best spices out there (in my opinion), which also happens to be red, smoked paprika. All of these red ingredients combine to make a really wholesome soup that’s got a delicately balanced set of flavours, topped with parsley oil which gives a flavour twist and a real visual makeover. Your starting point…

Spinach and walnut pesto

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Spinach and walnut pesto with wholemeal pasta
Hello folks. Another straightforward recipe for you today, one whose big, powerful flavours bely it’s simplicity. This is something that you can whizz up in the time it takes your pasta to cook and tastes a million times better than anything you might pour from a jar. You just need a blender and your ingredients to hand and you can have this pesto ready to eat in minutes. It also falls into a theme on my blog, something that’s popped up a few times over the most recent recipes. Simplicity. Keeping the ingredients list short and the preparation straightforward can be a winning combination, compared to the easily muddled complication of complex flavours. It allows the ingredients that are in the dish to find their own places and shine through, without getting lost in the fray. Now, the keen eyed among you might have noticed that I don’t include cheese…

Asparagus with preserved lemons

Gavin WrenRecipes, Side dishes, Starters, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Griddled asparagus with preserved lemons
Today’s recipe is so simple, it’s hard to think of a reason not to try it. If you were already planning to cook some of the lovely fresh asparagus that’s in season at the moment, then this simple addition adds a cheery extra dimension yet almost no extra work. And if you can’t get preserved lemons, even though the ‘cooks selection’ at many supermarkets now stock, they’re incredibly easy to make, so you could have a go yourself. In fact, I can begin to feel a blog post coming on… Have you ever searched for recipes based on number of ingredients involved, working on the assumption that less = easier life? Well that’s what I wanted to do here. If this dish had less ingredients, it would only be asparagus left, and I’m not sure where the semantics of the word ‘recipe’ draw their line, before it no longer qualifies…

Spicy avocado sweet potatoes

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Spicy avocado sweeet potato
I’ve got a secret to tell you. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed about this or not, but I’ve been eating baked sweet potatoes at least once a week for a very long time. They’ve become my default, simple, go-to, easy dinner of choice and I’m not even beginning to get bored of them. One of the very first recipes that was never put on this blog for you was about baked sweet potatoes. I know that’s a confusing sentence, but what I mean is that one of the first recipes that I pondered over endlessly, planned and procrastinated, then almost posted, was baked sweet potatoes. I’ve still got the draft sitting in a folder, I just didn’t take the photos. Because, my brothers and sisters, did you know that you can bake them like a regular potato? Cooked whole in the oven then sliced and topped with whichever…

Hearty roasted garlic and squash soup with kale

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted garlic and butternut squash soup with kale in the saucepans
Winter = Soup. Summer = Salad. If there were ever two dishes that were clearly defined by the seasons, then these must be the top contenders. And in case anyone starts shouting “what about winter salads and ‘slaws”, I’m a fan of winter salads (Check out my roasted kale and goat’s cheese salad if you’ve not seen it already!), BUT, nothing beats super fresh, flavoursome summer salads that have gone from plant to plate in the shortest time possible. They’re just magical. And whilst we’re revelling in this joyous abundance of fresh produce in the summer, you’ll find the soup section in your local supermarket almost completely curls up and goes into hibernation. But, it’s all very logical, because homemade soup is simply the best thing to have for your lunches during the winter. It’s easy to make, cheap and endlessly tweakable to add the flavours…

How to make vegetable stock

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Food Techniques, Recipes, The World of Food, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

How to make vegetable stock
Vegetables boiled in water. Yep, that’s all it is, easy peasy. Making your own vegetable stock at home is one of the fundamental kitchen processes that you just have to do now and again. It’s so easy, it doesn’t use up much time and it’s basically impossible to overcook. And if you have left over vegetables, peering over the edge of the compost, it’s a super efficient use of them before they go. Now, although there are some traditional staples used to make vegetable stock, such as carrots and onions, you can actually use whatever you want. Just remember that the vegetables you use will have an effect on the flavour, colour and clarity of your final broth. So beetroot and potato will give you a red, cloudy stock, whereas onion and carrot gives you a relatively clear stock. However, the basic principle remains the same, whatever you use, you…