Spelt Choux Paste (Pâte à Choux)

Gavin WrenBaking, Basic Ingredients, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Spelt choux paste (otherwise known as Pâte à Choux) is an amazing pastry which puffs up when cooked, leaving hollow buns or pastries which can be stuffed, filled and topped however you desire! Whether it's eclairs, profiteroles or a croquembouche which you want to bake this weekend, you can extend your patisserie skills with this amazing spelt pastry.
Suddenly, inspiration hit me. I want to make a croquembouche, a spelt croquembouche and it needs to be a massive one made up with loads and loads of little spelt choux (pronounced 'shoe') balls.

Croquembouche is one of the most spectacularly decadent culinary creations in existence. It's a celebratory sweet used in French cuisine at special occasions, comprising choux pastry balls into the hundreds, stuffed with cream then piled high in a cone shape and bound together with large splurges of caramel. It's the kind of recipe that should have The Samaritans' phone number attached, especially if you're making it to a deadline, or for the first time, because I could easily induce some kind of nervous breakdown.

As the saying goes, there's no use trying to run before I can walk. The first step in this adventure is to make, and become comfortable with choux pastry. Also known as...come and read more...

Spelt Tempura Asparagus with Aioli

Gavin WrenRecipes, Small Bites, Spelt & ancient grains, Starters, Vegetables, Vegetarian

It's time to take advantage of the beautiful British asparagus season, what better way than simple spelt tempura asparagus, served with a delicious garlicky aioli. This may sound complicated, but they are such simple recipes that give a feeling of mastery and sound utterly seductive. These vegetarian dishes make beautiful starters which your guests will be seriously impressed with.
There are recipes in this world which are hurried through the dining room with an aura of devout reverence, as their presence at the table embodies the pinnacle of gastronomic endeavour. I have always held tempura in such lofty esteem, regarding it a delicacy of such immeasurable finesse, that it would be sacrilege for a homely cook of my standing to even attempt it. God forbid.

Yet, after an afternoon of frolicking with flour, ice cold sparkling water and the most beautifully fine, delicately fresh, organic British asparagus, tempura's spell has been broken. I now feel comfortable sharing this delicacy with you, fully believing that it is within the reach of every single one of us, because it is beautifully simple.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you Spelt Tempura Asparagus with Aioli.

Spring, along with the asparagus season, has well and truly sprung. The past few days of high twenties... come and read more...

Clementine and Fennel Salad with a Zesty Dill Dressing

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Small Bites, Vegan, Vegetarian

Clementine and fennel salad with a citrussy dill dressing, a light, sweet side salad with the zesty overtones of clementine and the uniquely aromatic flavour of dill, which pairs beautifully with citrus flavours. Anise-scented fennel is the ideal vegetable to base this salad upon, bumping it up to a full sized, slaw-esque side salad. Perfectly suited to light summer dinners, shared lunches, picnics or alongside fish. It’s vegetarian and vegan as well, plus dairy free so perfect for most diets.
Today’s recipe is a clementine and fennel salad with a citrussy dill dressing, a light, sweet side salad with the zesty overtones of clementine and the uniquely aromatic flavour of dill, which pairs beautifully with citrus flavours. Anise-scented fennel is the perfect vegetable to base this salad upon, bumping it up to a full sized, slaw-esque side salad.
Milestones in Blogging.
This is post number one hundred and ninety six in the history of le petit oeuf, meaning that the big two-hundred is fast approaching, a massively significant milestone in my blogging life. Those 196 posts comprise approximately 200,000 words and around 1,000 images. If that's not enough words, I write another thousand every morning of every day, as part of my morning pages ritual. This practice is fast approaching it's first anniversary on the 9th May, meaning I will have written nearly 365,000 painful

Jewelled Chickpea and Red Pepper Salad

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables

Sweet, crunchy pomegranate seeds sit alongside the sweet, sharp pomegranate molasses in this light chickpea and red pepper salad which makes a great side dish, accompaniment to bread & cheese or alongside a bigger meal or picnic. It really is simple, with no cooking and just a few ingredients, most of which can be kept in the cupboard to whip together at the last second. It's vegetarian and vegan as well, so perfect or everyone!
Today’s recipe is a chickpea and red pepper salad jewelled with delicious, crisp pomegranate seeds and dressed with a pomegranate molasses dressing infused with za’atar, which I knocked up in a hurry whilst trying to use up some leftovers. Yes, I genuinely had everything except the rocket knocking around in the cupboard. I keep an excessively large jar of roasted red peppers in the fridge and I was gifted a couple of enormous pomegranates along with a whole basket of other fruit and veg by my neighbours, after I cut down their trees for them (I had asked first). The Best Olive Oil in the UK? The basis of this dish goes back to an unassuming side street in Clerkenwell, a short stroll down the road from City University, the seat of learning where I study Food Policy. There exists an electrical store, a purveyor of junction boxes, consumer units…

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 head, which is brilliant. I’ve set various things in motion, asked people to do things which all drag me forwards, kicking and screaming into an unknown future. There’s…