Paprika sweet potato wedges with minted feta yoghurt

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Side dishes, Spreads & Dips, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Paprika sweet potato wedges with feta mint yoghurt
Back at the wheel. I’m back! Although you probably hadn’t noticed, I’ve been away for a little while. Not away ‘away’, but away from the blog. And what’s the event that has caused me to temporarily desert (mmmm, dessert) my beloved blog? Surely it must be something awful, heartrendingly terrible or existentially disastrous to pry my frantic fingertips from the surface of my keyboard? The good news is that nothing bad has happened. It was the arrival of a little creature, an 8 week old miniature poodle puppy who we called Bernard, that managed to get the better of me psychologically for a few weeks. That left little space up there to consider food, blogs or for that matter, anything else at all (apologies to my girlfriend). Just in case you’re interested, here’s the little bundle of joy in all his mischievous glory: I’d like to add a little footnote,…

Baba ghanoush – the food of the gods

Gavin WrenRecipes, Side dishes, Spreads & Dips, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Baba Ghanoush aubergine dip
Ambrosia is an often overused word, hastily thrown around with levity to elevate the status of a particular food. It’s a very serious word (to me, anyway) which means ‘food of the gods’, and religious denominations aside I try to be reserved in it’s use simply out of respect. So, it’s with a certain amount of reticence that I’m considering using it in the description here. Baba Ghanoush, Mutabal or Moutabal, are some of the different names this aubergine dip goes under, with slight regional variations in both method and ingredients depending on where abouts in the world it is being made. It originates from the Middle East and I came to know it through multiplus trips to Lebanese restaurants when my girlfriend and I had just started going out. As a cook, it’s a delightfully refreshing dish to make, because I have never, ever, had anyone say “Hmmmm, I

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…

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…

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…