Spelt Eclairs with dairy free Crème Pâtissière

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Spelt eclairs are a beautiful baked treat made with my spelt choux paste and stuffed with my dairy free pastry cream. Don't be afraid, these hollow buns are a patisserie favourite which can extend your knowledge of baking without stressing you out!
When writing the recipe for these spelt eclairs, I wondered if people will think it odd that I'm using a dairy free filling in pastry which contains butter. Weird, huh?

However, it's not as odd as it may appear.
Boundaries of Tolerance
I experience an intolerance to lactose. This means that if I drink a pint of milk, or worse still, if I consume a mountain of whipped cream, I will get anything from mild discomfort up to severe stomach cramps and nausea.

Products such as butter and yoghurt contain far less lactose than milk or thick cream. Therefore, people such as myself who experience a variety of physical symptoms from consuming lactose can often consume amounts of yoghurt or butter without any significant negative reaction. I eat yoghurt every week and have never noticed discomfort from doing so.

I seem to be able to eat butter, with...come and read more...

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...

Indian Sprouted Bean Salad with Avocado

Gavin WrenRecipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

Here's a spicy, zingy Indian style sprouted bean salad which has been my default lunch option for a few weeks, because it ticks all my boxes for a great lunch. It's simple to make (once you've got the sprouts), it's ridiculously tasty with the combination of seeds, spices, lemon and chilli, plus it's got a big tick next to all the major nutrients we need. All this alongside it being completely vegan, it really couldn't be more versatile and all satisfying.
Here's a spicy, Indian style sprouted bean salad which has been my default lunch option for the last few weeks, because it ticks all my 'great lunch' boxes. It's simple to make (once you've got the sprouts), ridiculously tasty with the combination of seeds, spices, lemon and chilli, plus it's got a big tick next to all the major nutrients we need. Alongside it being completely vegan, it really couldn't be more versatile and all satisfying.

Social Sprouts
Sprouts say one thing to me. Brussels. I'm not talking about the cosmopolitan city, lying a mere 121 minutes away from London St Pancras, rather the bitter green orbs of distaste which I was deigned not to like well before one had ever crossed the threshold of my trap. Society seemed constructed for little children who Don't Like Sprouts. Perhaps it's their bitter flavour, or perhaps there's an entire social... come and read more...

Cinnamon Roasted Squash with Lentils

Gavin WrenRecipes, Side dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

The divine pairing of butternut squash and cinnamon sit so beautifully together in the amazing plant based, vegetarian and vegan recipe, it would be easy to assume that God himself had blessed us with their co-operation. A tray of simple cinnamon roasted squash, mixed up with a mash of garlicky lentils, is incredibly simple and simply incredible. It creates the perfect foundation for a meat free meal or a simple vegetable side dish.
The divine pairing of butternut squash and cinnamon sit so beautifully together, it would be easy to assume that God himself had blessed us with their co-operation. A tray of simple cinnamon roasted squash, mixed up with a mash of garlicky lentils, is incredibly simple and simply incredible. The discovery of this pairing hallowed a eureka moment for me, they sit so perfectly that this recipe needs no more than a hungry mouth and a willing fork to accompany it.

Discrete Divinity.
There are pairings in the world which fit together so perfectly, it were as if God or some other mystical being set them as a challenge for us in life, to see if we could discover these secret little puzzles. Like the easter eggs hidden by the developers in computer games, the little puzzles, rewards, cheats or shortcuts, buried within the fabric of the game... come and read more...

Delicious & Simple Red Onion Chutney

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, No Added Sugar, Recipes

Today's recipe harks back to the simplicity of great cooking, using the bare minimum of ingredients to create a simple red onion chutney which tastes utterly beautiful. This simple relish contains all of the delicious zingy sweetness that a good chutney should have. It's utterly beautiful slapped atop splinters of crusty bread alongside a summer spread of meats, fish, salad or during a sun drenched picnic.
Today’s recipe harks back to the simplicity of great cooking, using the bare minimum of ingredients to create a simple red onion chutney which tastes utterly beautiful. This simple relish contains all of the delicious zingy sweetness that a good chutney should have. It’s utterly beautiful slapped atop splinters of crusty bread alongside a summer spread of meats, fish, salad or during a sun drenched picnic.

Earlier this week, I decided to make a red onion chutney, jam, marmalade, whatever the hell you want to call it. I’m going with chutney, I think jam or marmalade needs more sugar and less vinegar. Anyway, my first port of call was research – to the internet! Barrages of recipes, flavours and ideas had quickly engulfed my reading list proposing a vast range of styles and names for a red onion relish. People were extolling the benefits of multitudinous ways of making this simple... come and read more...

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.