Fennel, of the Greek Gods

January 6, 2013 — 1 Comment


Fennel. It has a mythical past and a unfitting reputation. It’s one of those vegetables that a many don’t know what to do with. Who knows where to begin preparing it? The anise-y liquorice flavour is precisely why some people don’t fall in love with it. Maybe because it’s in my Mediterranean blood, I want to sell it to you, really I do. It’s such a wonderful vegetable. Not only does fennel amp up meals in many unexpected flavourful ways, it’s has incredible health benefits. Loaded with Vitamin C antioxidant power necessary for immunity, anti-inflammation and antimicrobial action. It’s also a good source of folate, essential for pregnancy. Pungent and warm flavour it’s excellent to use with Spleen Qi deficiency and promoting Qi and blood circulation. Cook it with rice congee for the best results to improve digestion, expel gas and cure hernia. Weak fennel seed tea is excellent for colicky babies. No wonder fennel features heavily in Greek mythology.

Here are some ideas to get you started on fennel:

  • fennel and pear compote (recipe below)
  • add diced fennel to mirepoix for an exceptional soup base. Add chickpeas and serve with parmesan (recipe  below)
  • sliced with avocado and orange
  • braised with scallops or salmon
  • thinly sliced to sandwiches
  • garnish with mint for yoghurt
  • cook legumes with fennel seed to prevent gas

Or simply quarter and thinly slice, add some roughly chopped fronds (edible) and dress lightly with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and pinch of celtic seasalt. How do you enjoy fennel best?

~ Recipes ~

Pear and Fennel compote

A gorgeous sweet and savoury combination with a myriad of uses. Use to accompany chicken or pork dishes, cooled and mixed with rocket leaves in salad, on a cheese platter, rolled buckwheat crepes topped with whipped goats cheese…

  • 1 large fennel bulb, quartered and diced medium
  • 3 green pears, mostly unripe and hard, diced to slightly bigger than the fennel
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed, bashed
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • celtic seasalt


  1. gently saute the fennel in a good glug of olive oil, pinch of salt, celery seed, fennel seed and chilli flakes until semi-soft
  2. Add diced pears and another pinch of salt and keep gently sauteeing with lid on until pear and fennel are cooked. The result should be a sweet and savoury, caramelised compote.

Fennel and Chickpea soup

  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 1 leek, halved lengthways and sliced into half moons (subs: onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced (include the washed leaves)
  • 1 bulb fennel, diced
  • 2 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 c. water
  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed well
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil and saute the leek ensuring it doesn’t brown
  2. Add the garlic and stir
  3. Add potato, carrot and celery and fennel and saute for 2 minutes
  4. Add the stock (preferably hot) and water (also hot).
  5. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approx 20 mins until vegetables are soft
  6. Add the chickpeas, heat through and serve with lashings of fresh parmesan

(Adapted from: Enjoy – New Veg, Nadine Abensur)

Fennel is enjoyed fresh with pasta and beer on a Saturday night in

Fennel is enjoyed fresh with pasta and beer on a Saturday night in


One response to Fennel, of the Greek Gods


    I’ve never actually worked with fennel! For some reason, I imagined it to be greener or leafier… But if you love it, it’s worth trying!

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