Preserved lemon tapenade on a cracker and in a bowl

Preserved lemon tapenade

Gavin Wren Recipes, Side dishes, Spreads & Dips

In my fantasy dream kitchen, the cupboards and fridge would be stocked at random by a stranger who chooses regularly changing ingredients, on top of the usual store cupboard staples. This kitchen would also be large, slick and cleaned nightly by a team who sneak in and shine it to perfection whilst I’m asleep, like little kitchen elves. Oddly, that makes my ideal kitchen sound a little bit like the set for ‘Ready, steady, cook’. The reason for this idea (the random ingredients, not the elves) is that great things can happen when you are forced to use unfamiliar ingredients. If I had to walk into a strangers’ kitchen and rustle up a good meal, there’s no doubt I’d end up using ingredients that I wouldn’t normally buy and get creative with what’s available. It’s an enjoyable, enthusing and liberating experience, because whatever gets created often feels triumphant and…
sun dried tomato tapenade

Sun dried tomato tapenade

Gavin Wren Recipes, Side dishes, Spreads & Dips, Starters, Vegetarian

Tapenade used to be one of those ‘things’ that I didn’t understand. It smells and tastes beautiful, and evokes romantic visions of lazy mediterranean lunches, but I never really knew what to do with it. Showing a stereotypical Britishness, I was confused because it’s not a chutney or a pickle, it’s not a jam and it’s not Marmite. I would see it on supermarket shelves and in delis, but leave it behind. I’d see it with some mustards whilst at lunch but wouldn’t know where it goes. Then eventually, my tapenade maturity arrived and I realised it goes with lots of things, and it’s an ingredient that makes simple pairings spectacular. There are loads of ways you can use it, my favourite uses for tapenade are the following:
• With cheese
• Mini crostini with a dollop of tapenade
• Larger crostini spread with tapenade and topped with other ingredients…