Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad

Charred roasted roots & spinach hot winter salad

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

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 dinners (although, I hold no particular candle for roast dinners, but they do sound homely). This left me with the question of how to create a lunch that’s not heavy and stodgy,…
Courgette, spinach and feta bundles

Spinach and feta courgette bundles

Gavin Wren Recipes, Side dishes, Small Bites, Starters, Vegetarian

On today’s special weekend episode of ‘le petit oeuf’ I’ve got some utterly fantastic courgette parcels for you, small bundles of joy stuffed with earthy spinach, pine nuts, sweet golden raisins and oozing feta cheese. They might look tricky to make, but these little bundles of joy are incredibly straightforward and deliver a really high level ‘wow’ factor to the table. I like to think of them as individual, savoury, gluten free vegetable pies, crafted from pure courgette. There’s no pastry, therefore no gluten and depending on you and your friend’s diets, that can be a huge bonus. It’s a recipe that would be a sure-fire hit regardless of whether your diners are vegetarian or not, it’s got a bundle of great flavours that combine beautifully and a delicate presence that inspires a hint of reverence when presented. They’re also incredibly rewarding to make, because they look so good when…
baked honey feta dipping pots

Baked honey feta dipping pots

Gavin Wren Recipes, Small Bites, Spreads & Dips, Starters

Beautiful, charming simplicity. There’s a lot to be said for it. Some of the worlds greatest and most prolific inventions are also the most simple, like the spectacularly simple paperclip, coat hanger or hula hoop. Apple products are also noted for their simplicity of approach and elegance of operation, hence their incredible commercial success. But behind that simplicity is a lot of careful thought and work, as Albert Einstein said “Any fool can make something more complicated”, however simplicity is where the genius lies. This is a great concept to carry into the kitchen with you, especially if you’re trying to devise some recipes, so that you err on the side of simplicity. I’ve always had a tendency to add extra flavours to try and resolve the taste of a dish, but that isn’t where the really good home cooking recipes come from, because simple, tasty, balanced dishes will always…
Traditional Italian pesto

Traditional Italian pesto

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

There are many, many recipes on the internet going under traditional names which can only be described as bastardised. This comes in various guises, such as dairy, gluten, sugar free examples that I confess to having created on occasion, where you could argue the essence of a dish is compromised by the very removal of that element. Alternatively, people take a traditional recipe and affect some kind of alternative, contemporary slant on it, whilst retaining the hallowed name to describe it. “For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” Douglas Adams Of course,…
Kale, Goats Cheese and Pear salad with cranberry dressing

Roasted kale, goat’s cheese and pear salad with ‘Jeff’s flat’ cranberry dressing

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

This is one of the few recipes that I’ve created which has been made many, many times before being posted on here. Normally recipes are created, tested once or twice, then BANG, they’re up there in the top spot. However this one drifted out of my head in early January, when we were staying at our friend Jeff’s flat, having foolishly employed some builders to tear down the ceilings and replaster the walls in BOTH of our bedrooms at the same time. I never, ever could have guessed how disruptive that would be, or how much work it would be for me, keeping those bastards in check. Anyway, back to the food. The recipe was a hit straight away, and has proved quite versatile. We made it for lunch the following weekend, and the one after, and the one after. I must have had it at least ten times now,…
red cabbage egg roquefort walnut salad

Red cabbage salad with roquefort and poached eggs

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

This recipe is thanks to a crate of fresh home-grown vegetables that my folks bestowed upon me on Friday. Having worked our way through tomatoes, runner beans, sweetcorn and cucumber yesterday, I reached the red cabbage bag and wondered what to do. Looking for some inspiration online I was bogged down with the festive spiced red cabbage recipes which the internet is awash with, but they didn’t feel right for a warm summer’s day lunch. I wanted something lighter and more salad-y but which would be a meal in itself. So I pulled together this bunch of ingredients and here is what happened. I’ll confess at this point that I have never, ever, cooked red cabbage in my life. And after having made this recipe, that’s not changed, as I’ve opted for using it raw. In fact, if you remove the Roquefort and eggs, then the base salad with dressing…