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…

Guardian readers’ recipe swap winner!

Gavin WrenFood Blogging, The World of Food

Guardian Cook readers' recipe swap asparagus
I feel utterly charmed and enthused at one of my recipes being named reader’s recipe of the week in The Guardian’s cook supplement, which comes with the paper on a Saturday. After seeing the brief of ‘asparagus’ I decided to come up with something simple, which wouldn’t detract from that seasonal superstar of an ingredient. And it proved worthwhile as my recipe, Asparagus with preserved lemon was named as winner in the 9th May edition, also available online at The Guardian website And it’s with great honour that I accept this award, so I’ve got a few people I’d like to thank who I couldn’t have done it without. Firstly, Yildiz Supermarket in Archway for the asparagus, thanks for sticking with me through all of this. Phoenicia in Kentish Town for the preserved lemons and for always being there for me, especially when I’ve needed an unusual ingredient (usually for…

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…

Dark chocolate coconut glaze – dairy free

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Vegetarian

Dark chocolate coconut dairy free glaze
So you’ve got a cake you want a chocolate glaze for. Or maybe you’ve just made my banana coconut cake and want to upgrade it from amazing to stupendous? You need a rich, sumptuous glaze, something that’s going to both convey your sense of sophistication like dark chocolate and your laid back easy going nature like the tropical tones of coconut. Something that’s going to be so tasty that you could eat it by the bowlful, rather than putting it on the cake. Something that is going to make people go OMG, basically. In that case, you’ve come to the right place my friend. This is the one for you. When testing it, the first effort came out too runny. But, before I threw it out of the kitchen window in a petulant artistic rage, I thought I’d dip the spatula in and try some to check the flavours were…

Banana Coconut Cake – dairy free and low gluten

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Cooked banana coconut cake
Today I have another chapter for you in what has become the low gluten, spelt baking zone of my blog. But this time, I’m not going to give you a long lecture on bananas. No, not at all, I’m just going to stick to the facts and the recipe. But I will say, make sure your bananas are brown and very, very soft before you try and make this cake. And here’s a quick photo of one, y’know, just for reference. OK, that’s better. Cake or bread? So, banana cake, or as most of the world would say, banana bread. Why does everyone call it bread? Does it have yeast in it? No. Does it have water in it? No. Does it look and taste like a cake? Yes. The only trait that many banana ‘breads’ share with traditional bread is baking them in a loaf tin, which by no…

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…