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

Aglio Olio con Peperoncino – Garlic Oil Chilli Spaghetti

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Traditional Italian pasta dish, aglio olio con peperoncino translates as garlic, oil and chilli in English, a trio of simple flavours which make a truly epic dish, full of elegant beauty. Gently infused garlic works it's way into the olive oil, which is rounded off with a kick of chilli and a hint of parsley, topped with a good dousing of pecorino or parmesan cheese. It's a truly authentic yet quick pasta dish, which is a real treat to eat.
Aglio olio con peperoncino is a beautifully elegant, authentic Italian pasta dish. It’s sheer simplicity is it’s genius, with intermingling flavours of garlic, olive oil and chilli creating a sensational dish that takes just minutes to prepare. Today, I realised that I’m completely pre-occupied by the thoughts in my head. They’re always there, incessantly telling me what to do and what not to do, what I will do and what I won’t, what I’m supposed to be doing, but not doing. It’s tireless, which makes it equally exhausting at the same time. These thoughts rarely achieve anything, aside from distracting me from the actual task in hand, whatever that may be; working, relaxing, eating, cooking, listening, talking, thinking etc. How to be Grateful. Last night I was chatting to a friend about gratitude, the idea that we can become grateful and happy, simply by saying we are. Equally, we perpetuate…

Chunky Ginger and Black Eyed Bean Soup

Gavin WrenRecipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Today I'm making a vegan black eyed bean soup which is crammed full of healthy vegetables, making a chunky soup that will fill the emptiest of bellies but also bursting with bold flavours to satisfy the most demanding of taste buds. It's easy double or triple up the quantities to make ahead and freeze for next week's lunches.
About 10 years ago I lost a lot of weight. Over 4 stone to be exact, it also proved to be a turning point in the food history of my life, it was a time when seismic change occurred to some of my most deeply ingrained, English eating habits. Soup became my new lunchtime God, eschewing the bread it replaced, leading me to hunt high and low to find or create the perfect, filling, tasty soup. This vegetarian ginger and black eyed bean soup is my latest effort, and boy, it’s a good’un. Death of the Sandwich. I gave up eating sandwiches. That stalwart of the lunch table, which had filled my boots and nurtured me through my childhood, adolescence and twenties, into the tall, strong and fat man I became by the age of 30. Bread had been so integral to my life that I had barely chosen…

Rocket and Goat’s Cheese Pancakes with Pomegranate Dressing

Gavin WrenDairy free baking, Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Whether it's shrove tuesday or any other tuesday, you can always eat pancakes! Topped with crumbled goat's cheese, rocket and a rich, sweet pomegranate olive oil dressing, these savoury pancakes need very little prep so make an easy dinner. You can use the maple syrup on the next one!
Today’s post is full of childhood reminiscences of gorging on piles of syrup soaked pancakes, and how despite this gorging, we never ate savoury pancakes. I’m redressing that balance in my life by creating simple, flavourful pancake recipes such as these rocket and goat’s cheese pancakes, topped with a rich, powerful pomegranate molasses and olive oil dressing. Once these goat’s cheese pancakes are taken care of, you can start the main job; sweet pancakes! Best Day of the Year. In every calendar year, there exists a small handful of very special days, which most children hold with a spectacular cachet, or at least, I did. Christmas day was the highlight of the year with it’s magical myths of reindeer drinking the saucers of milk left in the garden, and father Christmas having hastily consumed the mince pie and brandy left for him on the garden table. Alongside the abundant presents…