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…

Mustard Roasted Fennel and Carrot

Gavin WrenRecipes, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

This mustard roasted fennel and carrot recipe is an easy vegetable side dish that goes perfectly with roasted fish or meat, a great autumnal dish to warm up the kitchen after the summer disappears. The cosy cinnamon and the mustard seeds make this an easy but tasty vegetarian or vegan side dish.
Today’s recipe is a roasted fennel and carrot recipe tossed in mustard seeds, cinnamon and olive oil, to make a warm, slightly spiced vegetable side dish that has almost no preparation (no peeling – woo-hoo!) and looks like a show stopper when you put it on the table. Go fennel, go! Fennel? Funnel? Huh? Fennel is one of those peculiar ingredients which I didn’t eat for a very large swathe of my existence. Not through choice, simply because it didn’t ever get to my plate or kitchen for some reason. It also sounds a bit like ‘funnel’, which is a very odd image to have when considering what vegetables to eat. Nonetheless, it’s absence from my diet remained intact for a long time, even though I was aware of it’s existence, hovering on the sidelines of my world, like a substitute waiting for his chance at a goal. Mysterious vegetable.…

Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad
You know when your marriage is going down the pan, because you get home from work and your partner shouts “Dinner’s in the oven!” You say “Great, what is it?” “Salad” (I think this is © The Mary Whitehouse Experience c.1990) It’s that time of year when making cold, summery salads really doesn’t cut the mustard, not to mention comprising highly unseasonal produce. Consuming light, frilly layers of crunchy, cold, raw vegetables just sounds like onerous work after a wild, wet and windy walk and not particularly comforting either. On the contrary, cooking things in the oven and creating roasting hot meals is A Good Thing, conjuring images of log fires, cosy country pubs and steaming hot roast dinners (although, I hold no particular candle for roast dinners, but they do sound homely). This left me with the question of how to create a lunch that’s not heavy and stodgy,…

Spicy veg and preserved lemon quinoa

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Spicy vegetable and preserved lemon quinoa
Today’s hearty pot of wonder is a dish full of mouth filling flavour that has a slightly spiced, Indian slant. It’s a vegetarian, quinoa plate of joy, that through it’s development went from “mmmmm, this is nice” on it’s first outing, through “mmmmm, this is pretty good” on it’s second, to “wow, this is really tasty” on it’s final incarnation that you see here. I’ve always had a soft spot for Indian food, when growing up I saw an Indian takeaway as a real treat, from a young age I enjoyed the rich, full flavours which the cuisine offered. When I’ve visited India I’ve always fought with the internal dichotomy of being a kid in a sweet shop, wanting to try the vast variety of new food available and being the cautious visitor, well aware of how our delicate digestive systems don’t always take too kindly to some of the…