coconut date vegan frosting

Coconut & date vegan frosting

Gavin Wren Baking, Basic Ingredients, Dairy free baking, Desserts, No Added Sugar, Recipes, Vegan

I often make cakes that are either dairy free, with no refined sugar, or both, then finish them and think, oh, that would really benefit from something on top. What can I use? Whipped cream? No. Buttercream frosting? No. It becomes a whole new juggling act trying to create dairy free and refined sugar free frosting ideas which will sit on top and stay there, without it being utterly contrived. I could, of course, just refer to the internet, with it’s myriad answers to everything, which all vary enormously in quality and credibility. Some are good, some not so good, but you’ll inevitably find an answer that fits for you. I once found a coconut cream frosting recipe on the internet which looked fabulous on the blogs which I’ve seen it published, but was actually awful. The reason was that you need to serve it super-chilled and they omitted to…
Dairy free sage and swede mash

Dairy free sage & swede mash

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

Mash can be one of the most indulgent dishes in the world. Joël Robuchon, a man with over twenty michelin stars in his trophy cabinet, serves a world famous and breathtakingly rich mashed potato in his restaurants, showing that the humble mash can be at the top of the game when treated with respect. Mash of any kind is ridiculously simple to make and a brilliant mode of transport for playing around with ingredients. It’s a perfect winter side, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a gourmet mash trend happen at some point in the future, because it’s such a great blank canvas for other flavours. Not that it’s free from bad press, the bottom end of the mash market isn’t particularly pretty if we’re honest. Just look at Smash, the instant mashed potato in a pot beholden to student halls of residence across the country, well,…
spelt fruit bread

Lemon & ginger spelt fruit bread

Gavin Wren Baking, Dairy free baking, No Added Sugar, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

I have a personal rule regarding food that I make food for the blog, a promise to myself that I will not over-eat. Sounds simple, eh? You might think so, but sometimes I make dishes for the blog at peculiar times of the day or end up with way more food than I need, and I really don’t like wasting food. So, rather than engage in some kind of bacchanalian feast with it all, I try to do the right thing and save it for later, freeze it, or just eat it as my next meal. This is because at 37 years old I weigh nearly 5 stone (30kg) less than I did around my 30th Birthday and there’s no way I’m letting that weight sneak back in without me noticing. This soupçon of personal restraint provides me with an infallible indicator of a recipe’s success, and that’s if it…
sun dried tomato pesto rosso serving ideas

Sun dried tomato pesto – pesto rosso

Gavin Wren Basic Ingredients, Recipes, Spreads & Dips, Vegan, Vegetarian

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 is in the eye of the beholder, which is undoubtedly applicable to food as well, leaving a lot of room…
banana peanut butter smoothie

Banana peanut butter smoothie – dairy free

Gavin Wren Drinks, Recipes

It’s no coincidence that my previous post on this blog was how to make peanut butter. When you’ve got half a kilo of freshly made nut butter laying around, you suddenly start using it a lot more, for instance putting a few dollops into a smoothie, just to see what it’s like. I don’t normally publish recipes like this, they feel massively frivolous when I could be developing some long winded, boring piece about a hearty and nutritious vegetable dish. It was just a simple idea, to chuck a spoonful of peanut butter into a smoothie I was making. I even proclaimed that “I won’t post it on the blog, I just want to see if we like it”. Then I tasted it. I’m struggling to find a suitable superlative cliche to apply to this smoothie, however I shall try to convey my feelings about it for you. As I…
Mini cherry clafoutis with no added sugar

Fruit loaded mini cherry clafoutis

Gavin Wren Baking, Dairy free baking, Desserts, No Added Sugar, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

It’s food based confessional again, this time I’ll confess that I didn’t eat strawberries for thirty years. Damn, that sounds like a long time. I have a slight recollection of eating berries as a young child, but spent my teens, twenties and some of my thirties professing that I simply didn’t like berries, currants or any fruit in that genre such as grapes. Cherries also fall under that large sweeping generalisation, as they’re far too berry-like to be in any other fruit group to my mind. Then, a few years ago I was shaking off some old (bad) habits and was encouraged to test the boundaries of my wild new leaf turning exercise by eating a strawberry. Part of me wondered if it was a textural thing. Berrys are quite mushy, whereas the fruits I liked (apples, pears, oranges… errr, pineapple) had a perceived texture or zing to them. I…