Super chewy oat, mango and cardamon spelt cookies

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Chewy oat, mango and cardamon spelt cookies on a rack
Can I just start this post by saying that these are THE BEST COOKIES I’VE EVER MADE AT HOME. OK, good. When I was younger, not much younger in fact, probably about a week ago, my favourite cookies were oatmeal and raisin. I would happily eat them until I was genuinely experiencing severe nausea. This would be the trigger for me to step away from the pack, reconsider how much I should eat, the nutritional value of too many cookies, then go back and have “just one more”. However, times move on, I’ve grown another week older, but sometimes, certain things don’t change very much. I still have the ability to eat my way through sugar induced nausea, and frankly, oatmeal and raisin cookies still rock the supermarket-bakery cookie world. But the home cooked cookie world opens up all sorts of possibilites and what I’ve got for you here is…

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad
Method: Chuck it all in a bowl. Mix it up. Eat. If only all recipes could be that simple! You want dinner, you want it to be tasty but you don’t want to spend hours doing it. With a little bit of forethought, recipes like this one can fall straight into that category, they’re really easy to make and fit around your life with a little bit of ‘mise en place’. In case you’re wondering what that is, ‘mise en place’ is a French term which basically means ‘setting up’, and refers to the idea that before cooking or making a recipe, you should get out all of your ingredients, weigh and measure them, then start. In a professional kitchen it all falls under the term ‘prep’, where you spend hours and hours doing the most mundane cutting, peeling and cooking, so that when service starts, everything is ready,…

Easy crispy skin salmon with tarragon yoghurt

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

Easy crispy skin salmon
And, there it is again, yoghurt. You will have to excuse my yoghurt habit, but I just can’t keep away from the stuff. It keeps on cropping up in my recipe ideas, even being the subject of a post in it’s own right – how to make yoghurt at home really easily. I might have to check in to YA (Yogoholics Anonymous – OK, it might not exist, but I could always start it by sitting in a room and talking about yoghurt and how I use it. Although, that sounds extremely like what I’m doing at the moment…) Mix it up and keep it fresh But, this is all for a very good reason, because you can use yoghurt as a really simple, bright and healthy vehicle for all sorts of flavours. I love mixing in things like herbs, citrus, garlic, tahini, horseradish, even cheese with it to create…

Homemade yoghurt recipe with cow’s or goat’s milk

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

Homemade yoghurt with cow's or goat's milk
Blogging rituals. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a bit more time to work on my blog and have discovered that I’m a reclusive blogging creature of routine and ritual. I can’t write unless I’m at my desk, and it’s the morning. Take today as an example. Woke at 6.15am, showered, then started writing on the laptop in the bedroom. I managed to write a depressing rant about the ‘dark side of the blog’. It wasn’t enjoyable to write and doubtfully entertaining to read (and we never will, because I’ve deleted it). I had breakfast, made a coffee, moved to my desk and then, suddenly, a peace and clarity fell upon me. I had found a little space in my world where something positive can happen. And as for afternoons, they are utterly useless, full of distraction and anxiety. After lunch, I might as well just stick my feet…

Spelt Hot Cross Buns

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Spiced spelt flour hot cross buns
The almighty spelt hot cross buns So it’s Easter, that means chocolate eggs, rabbits, yellow chicks, and err, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like Christmas, it’s a time of the year where you get complete carte blanche to eat whatever the hell you want. This normally manifests in a wheelbarrow full of chocolate and a big roast dinner, not forgetting the mighty hot cross bun. Did you know that you’re officially supposed to eat hot cross buns for a minimum of two weeks, either side of Easter weekend, and the longer, the better? (only kidding, but it’s a good benchmark). And like Christmas pudding, they taste good at any time of year. As you may have guessed, I like hot cross buns. I also have a thing for spelt flour. In fact, I’m on a ceaseless mission to spelt-ificate everything that I bake, which leads to some great discoveries and…

Hearty roasted garlic and squash soup with kale

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted garlic and butternut squash soup with kale in the saucepans
Winter = Soup. Summer = Salad. If there were ever two dishes that were clearly defined by the seasons, then these must be the top contenders. And in case anyone starts shouting “what about winter salads and ‘slaws”, I’m a fan of winter salads (Check out my roasted kale and goat’s cheese salad if you’ve not seen it already!), BUT, nothing beats super fresh, flavoursome summer salads that have gone from plant to plate in the shortest time possible. They’re just magical. And whilst we’re revelling in this joyous abundance of fresh produce in the summer, you’ll find the soup section in your local supermarket almost completely curls up and goes into hibernation. But, it’s all very logical, because homemade soup is simply the best thing to have for your lunches during the winter. It’s easy to make, cheap and endlessly tweakable to add the flavours…