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. …come and read more!

Roasted Pepper Goat’s Cheese Salad

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Side dishes, Vegetarian

Balsamic roasted peppers with goat's cheese and basil make a beautifully summery side salad or vegetarian picnic dish, the vibrant colours and simple preparation make a star dish that requires very little input to create.

I’ve probably stated that lots of recipes are easy, but this roasted pepper goat’s cheese salad really is. It honestly ticks the simplicity box with a big, fat ‘X’, especially if you save time and use pre-roasted peppers. But even if you decide to roast your own, it’s a pretty straightforward affair, if you have other things to do in the kitchen whilst you wait for the peppers to take on their delicious, sweet, summery flavours. Whatever route you take, this salad scattered with goat’s cheese and basil will take you on a little summery trip to a warmer, richer, brighter place, chasing those sunshine soaked salad dreams. Fancy a Swim? I’ve had an amazing week. I feel completely in over my …come and read more!

Sun dried tomato pesto – pesto rosso

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Recipes, Spreads & Dips, Vegan, Vegetarian

sun dried tomato pesto rosso serving ideas

A few weeks ago I posted a traditional pesto recipe and spent some time ruminating on the bastardisation of recipes. This week, I’m going to continue the pesto theme with a recipe for a delicious sun dried tomato pesto, or pesto rosso. I would love to say this is a traditional Italian recipe adhering to the specific ingredients handed down through generations by all Italian chefs, however I’m not sure that’s not entirely possible. Whilst the traditional, green basil pesto has a fairly consistent set of ingredients that are in attendance in all recipes, pesto rosso seems to be a little bit more vague and open to the whimsical tastes of the creator. There are wild variations in content and ingredients from recipe to recipe, and as they say, beauty …come and read more!

Traditional Italian pesto

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Recipes, Spreads & Dips, Vegetarian

Traditional Italian pesto

There are many, many recipes on the internet going under traditional names which can only be described as bastardised. This comes in various guises, such as dairy, gluten, sugar free examples that I confess to having created on occasion, where you could argue the essence of a dish is compromised by the very removal of that element. Alternatively, people take a traditional recipe and affect some kind of alternative, contemporary slant on it, whilst retaining the hallowed name to describe it. [pullquote cite="Douglas Adams" type="right"] “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck …come and read more!

Super quick sea bass

Gavin WrenFish & Shellfish, Recipes

Quick sea bass with torn basil and smoked salt

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about food bloggers (and I’m probably guilty of it too), it’s that we have a predilection for over stating how easy our recipes are. It’s like a USP, which has to be professed at all costs to help draw your reading eyes and cooking hands into the world of our blogs. The problem is that it’s not always true. Sometimes the ‘easy’ recipes are only easy if compared to making a salmon ballotine served with lemon sabayon whilst translating Dostoevsky into Urdu. So it’s all relative. As a blogger, once you’ve created a recipe, developed the flavour from a vision of it in your head, then made that recipe once, twice, thrice or more, it can seem easy to make, …come and read more!

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 …come and read more!