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 …come and read more!

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 …come and read more!

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 …come and read more!

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. …come and read more!

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 …come and read more!

Sun (oven) dried tomatoes

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

Semi sun oven dried tomatoes

I love making things that take a long time. Although, let me qualify that – I’m less keen on fiddly or awkward processes, as they send my blood pressure due North. What I like is the gradual process of change and development that occurs over long periods. Because long, slow cooking processes normally mean that you’re allowing rich, strong flavours to develop. I’m also a big fan of basic ingredients, the things that we buy off the shelf, but which can be made at home. However we normally get them from the supermarket because funnily enough, they take a long time to make! Sun dried tomatoes fall squarely into that category. If my North London location was blessed with a Mediterranean …come and read more!