Plucking thyme and time

Plucking Thyme, Time, or Words to that Effect.

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

Time. Our most precious commodity and one which we have utterly no control over. It sets its own agenda and we’re largely at it’s mercy when it comes to finding out when it ends. Time – He’s waiting in the wings
He speaks of senseless things
His script is you and me boys.David Bowie 'Time' That might sound a bit heavy and bleak to start the week with, tackling all of life, death and everything in between. But it seems to have particular relevance to cooking. Yes, really, I’m serious. Yesterday, I was making a dish for the blog which involved some delicious sweet, rich, roasted red peppers. They were silken strands of slithering red, orange and yellow capsicums, swimming around in a simple dressing and my mouth is watering just thinking about them. I hadn’t roasted peppers for a long time and it reminded me of the sweet beauty…
Golden, light and flaky vegetarian sausage rolls made with spelt rough puff pastry and filled with onion, garlic, mushrooms, thyme and oozing, molten Comté cheese. Perfect for the dinner table or the picnic basket.

Vegetarian Sausage Rolls with Mushroom and Comté

Gavin Wren Baking, Side dishes, Small Bites, Spelt & ancient grains, Starters, Vegetarian

Sausage rolls. This recipe presented me with a very complex, difficult and hard to resolve problem. It demonstrated the depths of philosophical wrangling that I have to endure, just to bring to you what seems, on the surface, a simple recipe. Take this particular little gem. It’s got 8 ingredients, an average amount by most standards, half of those being day to day ‘store cupboard’ items. There are no complicated process involved and if you use shop bought pastry it really isn’t very difficult at all. I’ve made it a few times now, perfecting it, and it’s a particularly tasty recipe, which I’ve whittled down from being far more complex. So what on earth could give rise to such existential trauma, such deep rooted emotional turmoil? The name. Mushroomy rolls but not a mushroom roll. To my mind, these are sausage rolls, like when a brand name passes into our…
Roast celeriac soup with apple and rosemary

Celeriac Soup with Apple and Rosemary

Gavin Wren Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

An Inspired Decision. Today is another post that’s been inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi, this time in collaboration with the head chef of his restaurant NOPI, Ramael Scully. The inspiration for this roast celeriac soup recipe came off the back of being gifted the NOPI cookbook, which is an utterly fabulous compendium of gastronomic delights garnered from the hallowed kitchens of NOPI, that mirage of a restaurant nestled just North Of PIccadilly. In the book, they take a single, whole celeriac and treat it to a particularly extended stint in a hot oven, then slice it into wedges and serve. It’s the kind of mind blowingly simple food preparation which I utterly adore and seek to involve in my day to day life more often. It also served as the inspiration for my fledgling series of videos ‘Will It Roast’, whereby I take large, whole vegetables and…
Slow roasted root vegetable tian

Slow roasted root vegetable tian

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

Back in 1984 when Whitesnake released a song called ‘Slow An’ Easy’, big, permed hair was everywhere on grown men, along with awful double entendre permeating almost every sing title. Everything they created was about either love, or, errrr, loving. I’m dragging this questionable music, which seems to have aged in a way I never expected (i.e. well), back to the fore because I’m listening to it and the song ‘Slow N Easy’ has just come on, which is exactly what this recipe is. A few years ago I spent a summer holiday in Provence, marvelling at the quality of the local ingredients available. Everything just tasted better, or was bigger, brighter and fresher. I took a book titled ‘Cooking in Provence’ by Alex Mackay and Peter Knab with me, and it remains one of my favourite cookery books, a marvellous compendium of sun-soaked recipes. There’s one recipe in…
Anchovy butter with sweetcorn

Anchovy sweetcorn butter

Gavin Wren Fish & Shellfish, Recipes, Side dishes, Starters, Vegetables

Some people have similarities to vegetables. I don’t mean that in a rude, insulting way, but in an genuinely characterful or aesthetic way. People can look like aubergines, eggs, asparagus, all sorts of things. My girlfriend seems to think I look like a sweetcorn and apparently I have an affinity with them as they (my sweetcorn family) all wave at me as we drive down country roads lined with fields of tall sweetcorn plants. I do admittedly have a certain understanding of sweetcorn, because when I was young, my Dad used to grow rows of them on his vegetable patch in our garden. As a youngster I learned how to tell when they’re ready to pick, waiting for the silky strands to darken and checking the corns are milky when pierced. Of all the vegetables that sprung from that patch of land, sweetcorn was the homegrown vegetable which I noticed…
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…