Spelt banana bread with tahini and honey – dairy free

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains, Vegetarian

Spelt banana bread with tahini and honey dairy and low gluten
There once was a caped crusader that fought crime wherever he went, who wore a blue suit, yellow cape and gloves, plus a slightly funny snood-type hat with pointy yellow ears on it. No, not Batman on dress-down Friday, nor Superman after mixing-the-wrong-colours whilst doing the weekly wash. No, it’s the one and only Bananaman! Now, my girlfriend seems to think I’m some kind of modern day Bananaman. This isn’t because I’m a contemporary urban warrior, who has flown in and saved her from a life of tyranny, but because firstly, I’m quite enthusiastic about buying and keeping bananas, and secondly, because I have yellow (I prefer blond) hair, which apparently adds to the banana-likeness. But for 22 years I didn’t touch a single banana, because sometime around my 11th Birthday, I decided that I didn’t like them any more. Then one morning on holiday a few years ago on…

Roasted kale, goat’s cheese and pear salad with ‘Jeff’s flat’ cranberry dressing

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Kale, Goats Cheese and Pear salad with cranberry dressing
This is one of the few recipes that I’ve created which has been made many, many times before being posted on here. Normally recipes are created, tested once or twice, then BANG, they’re up there in the top spot. However this one drifted out of my head in early January, when we were staying at our friend Jeff’s flat, having foolishly employed some builders to tear down the ceilings and replaster the walls in BOTH of our bedrooms at the same time. I never, ever could have guessed how disruptive that would be, or how much work it would be for me, keeping those bastards in check. Anyway, back to the food. The recipe was a hit straight away, and has proved quite versatile. We made it for lunch the following weekend, and the one after, and the one after. I must have had it at least ten times now,…

Pan-fried spiced sprats with a fennel salad

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads

Pile of pan fried, spiced sprats
I have distant memories of being a small child, in a pub garden in Surrey with my parents, when I first discovered the dish that is a plate of tiny little fried fish which you ate whole; whitebait. I became inwardly obsessed with them, always longing to find them on the menu when eating out, waiting for that crunchy little fish that I could souse with vinegar and devour whole. In later life this eating-seafood-whole obsession was overtaken by the discovery of soft-shell crab, something I first tried in Singapore and have since longed to see make an appearance on more menus, allowing me to grab my hit when possible. Then, when I was last in the fishmongers I noticed a large tub of sprats nestling amongst the various other marine bounty on display, and I pondered if they were any relation to whitebait, or if they could be eaten…

Blog posts are like fish – Mackerel on Rye

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes

mackerel on rye bread with poached eggs and mustard yoghurt sauce
Benjamin Franklin once said “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days”. As well as being very true, it’s also how I feel about posting recipes on this blog. Inspiration for a recipe may come to me at any time, and is often so fleeting that it must be written down immediately, or it may vanish forever. However, if it is retained, then follows the step of developing the idea into a workable, tasty recipe; something which I can take as long as I want over, I’ve spent months working some ideas out. “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Benjamin FranklinBut finally comes the commitment of buying the ingredients and setting myself up to cook the recipe. This is where the three day countdown timer starts. I interact with the food by chopping, cutting, mixing, heating, crying (depending how badly it goes) until the dish is…

Size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it that counts…

Gavin WrenFood Blogging, The World of Food

lepetitoeuf old kitchen window and Jennifer
To start, I’d like to apologise for the lack of activity on my blog over the last few weeks, I had hoped to avoid such a gaping hole in my posting, but here we are. However, the stark lack of online activity in the world of le petit oeuf is at odds with a frantic and exhausting time offline. A few super-large contracts have rolled in at work, calling for up to 7 day working weeks and longer hours, which synchronised perfectly with moving house. It all built up to the perfect storm. So now we’ve moved I thought I’d quickly log on to show you what I’ve left behind, the place where I produced the subjects of all the blog posts up until now. Looking back at the photos, I realise that it was a pretty small kitchen, but I don’t remember ever getting annoyed at the space, you…

Smoked trout salad with fennel & dill and a horseradish, lemon & yoghurt dressing

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads

smoked trout fennel and beetroot with dill salad
You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. I mean that in two ways as it’s both easy to make, so no scope for going wrong there, and it also holds it’s ground in the fabulous tasting stakes, so no wrongness to be found there either. Originally, I was determined that this receipe was to be made specifically with hot smoked trout, rather than the cold smoked fish that I’ve used. If you’re unsure of the difference, hot smoking uses hot smoke, which cooks the fish leaving it light pink in colour, as if cooked normally. Cold smoking, which is the type applied to ‘traditional’ smoked salmon, is done with cold smoke, leaving the fish looking more like raw fish. However, monsieur Sainsbury and his staff were against me when I went shopping. Despite prolonged efforts and no matter how intently I stared at the chilled fish section, hot smoked…