A filling and sustaining chunky soup loaded with goodness and hearty ingredients. This chunky butternut squash and lentil soup is a meal-in-a-bowl which virtually becomes a stew as the liquid is almost entirely soaked up by the lentils, chickpeas and squash. The Indian influenced spices have come in to play, featuring a warming host of flavours which will warm your cockles even when the temperature's so cold that the central heating doesn't. It's so good that it's my lunch bowl for the next three weeks, yes, I've just made a triple batch of this, giving me a happy fridge and freezer full of lunchtime joy.

Chunky Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Gavin Wren Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Today I’ve got a fantastically filling, Indian influenced, chunky butternut squash and lentil soup with chickpeas that will keep your tummy filled, your body fuelled and your cockles warmed throughout the coldest days of the winter. Fantastic India. I’ve just returned from a truly beautiful holiday in Goa, India, where I spent three weeks doing yoga, laying by the sea, reading and travelling across the width of the country to the eastern city of Ranchi, to visit my 93 year old, Canadian resident great uncle. I rarely see him, as we’re separated by 4,368 miles and the Atlantic Ocean, but we had both travelled to India for our Christmas breaks this year, so travelling a mere 1,200 miles across India to see him was the itinerant equivalent of popping down the road to meet for a coffee. We had a lovely time and I hope I’m still flying to the…
Roasted cumin chickpeas coated with cumin seeds, cumin powder, garlic, oil and salt then baked in the oven until they're crunchy, crispy little morsels of finger food, making the perfect nibble to go with your festive party plans. They're very easy to make and scale up to make a big batch easily, just keep a tin of chickpeas in the cupboard and amaze your guests with how resourceful you are!

Roasted Cumin Chickpeas

Gavin Wren Recipes, Small Bites, Vegetarian

Today I’ve trawled through a total of FIVE different recipes to bring you one of the most awesomely easy snacks you can make this festive season. Simple chickpeas rolled in cumin seeds, cumin powder, garlic and oil to create a delicate little nibble that’s punching a big flavour. Crunchy Little Creations. A few months ago I discovered the delights of roasted chickpeas, learning how the process of heating them in the oven adds a delightful crunch to these popular little pulses. Back then it was summertime and they were adorning the top of a mixed leaf salad, creating a fantastic layer of texture over some roasted root vegetables, mixed leaves and a creamy kefir dressing. They were a delight. With the festive season bearing down upon us, bringing with it a necessity for readily available finger food, I focussed my attention on turning a tin of chickpeas into an irresistible…
Spicy whole smoked cauliflower cooked on the BBQ with a paprika, garlic, lemon, cumin and tomato marinade spiced up with a hint of cayenne pepper for a colourful and smokey BBQ treat for vegetarians and vegans alike. This is also a great fun project to learn how to smoke or cook with indirect heat, whether it's summer or winter.

Smoked Cauliflower with Paprika Garlic Marinade

Gavin Wren Recipes, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

This post shows how to make smoked cauliflower and why smoking vegetables is a great way to start playing around with indirect cooking or hot smoking, as you don’t have to worry about temperatures and cooking times like you would with meat or fish. With this recipe I’ve added a full flavoured marinade to the cauliflower to spice up the flavour and it adds some fantastic visual impact to the finished article. Vegetable Lust. Poor old cauliflower isn’t the most romantic of vegetables, it’s probably one step up from cabbage, languishing in the bottom end of my on-the-spot opinion of what vegetables are sexy. At the other end of the scale, asparagus is sexy. Those slender, tender, delicate stems that only make themselves available during a brief period of the year, and even then, there’s a noticeable peak, when they come into full bloom and put on a display of…
Spicy vegetable and preserved lemon quinoa

Spicy veg and preserved lemon quinoa

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

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…
Pile of pan fried, spiced sprats

Pan-fried spiced sprats with a fennel salad

Gavin Wren Fish & Shellfish, Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads

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…