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!

Courgette and Orange Bread Salad

Gavin WrenMain Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian

A bright, citrus and sweet courgette and orange bread salad that just screams summertime! Tangy, sharp orange and sweet dried apricots mix perfectly with olives, capers, pine nuts, parsley and sweet red onions to create a flavour filled salad. The roasted courgette and onion sit with the orange dressing and play against the added crunch from the stale bread at the bottom. It's the perfect make ahead summer lunch or side salad to sit with some grilled fish, meat or squeaky halloumi.

A glut of courgettes has descended on our world. If you grow your own you’ll found the cheeky blighters hiding behind leaves and sneaking up on you. Even if you don’t grow your own, you can walk into a supermarket and pick up a large pack for very little because they are one of the most abundant vegetables in the UK at this time of year. Today’s recipe makes use of these abundant, seasonal vegetables, with a courgette and orange salad loaded on top of the stale bread you’ve got hanging around. It’s a powerful and bright salad that works beautifully on it’s own or would sidle up beautifully with a piece of grilled white fish or some halloumi slices grilled to squeaky perfection. …come and read more!

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 …come and read more!

Hot melt sun-dried tomato and mozzarella muffins

Gavin WrenBaking, Breakfast, Recipes, Small Bites, Spelt & ancient grains

hot melt sun-dried tomato and mozzarella muffins

I’ve got a muffin hangover today. In fact, that’s a lie, I deserve to have a muffin hangover today, because I ate… errr, six muffins last night, instead of my dinner. If that had been six of the supermarket’s in-store bakery, not-quite the finest double chocolate efforts I might not be so chipper about it, but the muffins I ate were actually really wholesome, soft, crumbly little cakes with very little sugar or unhealthy bits, so I feel absolutely great. There’s a very good reason for this muffin related excess and it’s all in your interest, so let me tell you why… Today’s recipe is another one I’ve had kicking around in the back room of my mind for a while, along with …come and read more!