Melanzane in Saor is an amazing vegetarian and vegan aubergine (eggplant) dish in a sweet and slightly sour sauce, which is unique to Venice and follows a proud history of Italian food using love, respect and time to get the best of the ingredients. It's a serious make ahead dish, needing 2 days to mature but worth the wait for those fantastic flavours and perfect for buffet spreads or picnics.

Melanzane in Saor (aubergine)

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

Today I’m recounting an amazing Italian dish called ‘melanzane in saor’, or aubergine ‘in Saor’. It’s a very simple yet beautifully balanced Italian dish that has sweet and sour flavours that work just beautifully together. The age is the important thing, you need to make this dish well in advance to let the flavours develop, it’s perfect to make a day ahead for a buffet spread or to take along to a picnic, but don’t hurry it. If there’s one thing that Italian cooking has ever taught me, it’s that love and respect are the ingredients that make food beauteous. Visiting Venice. Just over a year ago I visited Venice, one of the most confoundingly beautiful places I’ve ever been to. I expected hustle, bustle, noise and expensive food, which was entirely correct, however I hadn’t prepared myself for the heart and soul of Venice, which is the important part.…
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.

Courgette and Orange Bread Salad

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

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. On The Road Again. My life is on the move, yet again, I’m moving house next week. As I pointed out last week, it will be…

Super minty potato salad

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

I need you to help me with this recipe, play along if you will. Just close your eyes and imagine a gentle warm breeze blowing against your skin, like a soft blanket, whilst the hot sun sears through the atmosphere, partially muted by an ethereal haze, yet still causing you to squint gently as you lay back and gaze across the orchard and listen to the shimmering of leaves in the breeze. OK, so hopefully that’s got you out of November and back into a warmer state of mind, which is where this recipe takes me to. Potato salad is a stalwart of a dish which creates summery childhood memories, followed by potato salad cook-offs with my friend at university (he put lettuce in his) before getting older, more creative and just making it up as I went along, using whatever was in the fridge. And I’ve been using a…
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…
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…
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,…