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!

Beetroot and Mint Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Side dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Today's recipe is a simple beetroot and mint salad with a pomegranate dressing, made with just a few ingredients and prepared in a matter of minutes. This delightful vegan and vegetarian dish makes a perfect side dish for a quick lunch or salad staple for the summer BBQ season.

Today’s recipe is a simple beetroot and mint salad with a pomegranate dressing, made with few ingredients and whipped up in a matter of minutes. This delightful vegan and vegetarian dish makes a perfect side dish for a quick lunch or salad staple for the summer BBQ season.
My spiritual culinary hero, Edouard de Pomiane sums up beetroot beautifully in his book ‘cooking in 10 minutes’.
“Beetroot can be a very pleasant vegetable. Its [sic] possibilities are exploited far too little.” – Edouard de Pomiane
He continues to describe several beetroot recipes which redefine the word simplicity, the most straightforward recipe being laid out using thirteen words, including the title. That, however, is not the shortest in the book.

Hero.

Edouard de Pomiane published that book in 1930, becoming hero to many of today’s most lauded cookery writers. The inside cover sparkles with comments from pillars of culinary knowledge Elizabeth David “ …come and read more!

Roasted Broccoli with Herb Yoghurt

Gavin WrenRecipes, Side dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Roasted broccoli is a revelation! It’s a great way to cook this green, adding a welcome texture which can easily be ruined by boiling. Coated with garlic and olive oil, along with slightly crisped and browned edges, it brings a completely different flavour to this Brassica. Throwing in some chickpeas and a herb yoghurt rounds it off beautifully, making a truly engrossing vegetarian side dish to bring to the table.
A Big Day.

Today is spectacular milestone in the history of my blog.

It’s the day that I publish my two hundredth blog post. I can feel a huge surge of pride and satisfaction having created such a significant body of work. This is a very special moment for me, I feel a sense of joy, in recognition of the commitment required to reach two hundred blog posts.

I love a few stats, so here’s what 200 posts consists of, since 31st July 2014…

33 months, 1003 days, 193408 words, 1325 images, approximately 1280 hours writing, cooking, photographing and editing

…not to mention untold hours researching, using social media or swearing at Wordpress and my theme.

What have I learned?

A lot, I’ve learned a phenomenal amount whilst creating this blog. I have gained a heightened knowledge, not only about writing, photography, cooking and creating a …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. …come and read more!

Jewelled Chickpea and Red Pepper Salad

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables

Sweet, crunchy pomegranate seeds sit alongside the sweet, sharp pomegranate molasses in this light chickpea and red pepper salad which makes a great side dish, accompaniment to bread & cheese or alongside a bigger meal or picnic. It really is simple, with no cooking and just a few ingredients, most of which can be kept in the cupboard to whip together at the last second. It's vegetarian and vegan as well, so perfect or everyone!

Today’s recipe is a chickpea and red pepper salad jewelled with delicious, crisp pomegranate seeds and dressed with a pomegranate molasses dressing infused with za’atar, which I knocked up in a hurry whilst trying to use up some leftovers. Yes, I genuinely had everything except the rocket knocking around in the cupboard. I keep an excessively large jar of roasted red peppers in the fridge and I was gifted a couple of enormous pomegranates along with a whole basket of other fruit and veg by my neighbours, after I cut down their trees for them (I had asked first). The Best Olive Oil in the UK? The basis of this dish goes back to an unassuming side street in Clerkenwell, a short …come and read more!

Melanzane in Saor (aubergine)

Gavin WrenRecipes, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Melanzane in Saor is an amazing vegetarian and vegan aubergine (eggplant) dish in a sweet and slightly sour sauce, which is unique to Venice and follows a proud history of Italian food using love, respect and time to get the best of the ingredients. It's a serious make ahead dish, needing 2 days to mature but worth the wait for those fantastic flavours and perfect for buffet spreads or picnics.

Today I’m recounting an amazing Italian dish called ‘melanzane in saor’, or aubergine ‘in Saor’. It’s a very simple yet beautifully balanced Italian dish that has sweet and sour flavours that work just beautifully together. The age is the important thing, you need to make this dish well in advance to let the flavours develop, it’s perfect to make a day ahead for a buffet spread or to take along to a picnic, but don’t hurry it. If there’s one thing that Italian cooking has ever taught me, it’s that love and respect are the ingredients that make food beauteous. Visiting Venice. Just over a year ago I visited Venice, one of the most confoundingly beautiful places I’ve ever been to. …come and read more!