Fennel and artichoke salad with almonds and herbs

It’s been very hot here at the seaside today, which is great for the local economy, but not so much for me! I’m a total heat wuss…
So, I definitely didn’t want to have the oven or hobs on to make tomorrow’s work lunch for Alex and I!
We’ve blogged recipes using canned artichokes before, I really do like them as a salad ingredient, they’re very different from fresh artichokes but awfully tasty all the same.
Here I’ve put them with fennel steamed in the microwave (avoiding using the cooker!), almonds and herbs, with some sugar snap peas and baby corn for sweetness.
The dressing is predominantly sherry vinegar, which I haven’t used for ages, I’d forgotten how lovely it is!
For herbs, I’ve used some micro herbs that we picked up at the great greengrocers on Topping street in Blackpool, chilli cress which tastes rather like watercress, and pak choi shoots which have a mild flavour but are very pretty.
Also, dill to complement the fennel, I do find aniseed flavours feel very cooling, so are absolutely perfect for the hot weather!


Fennel and artichoke salad with almonds and herbs

serves 2 as a meal with a bit of brown rice or quinoa, or 4 as a starter

for the salad
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 can of artichoke hearts in brine, each one quartered (240 g drained weight)
40 g salted almonds
150 g sugar snap peas and baby corn, sliced. Substitute these for other vegetables if you like, fresh peas would be lovely, or even cooked beetroot.
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
4 tbsp micro herbs or other soft herbs. Parsley would be nice, and a bit of basil.
for the dressing
3 tbsp sherry vinegar. Or use apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
1 tbsp liquid from steaming the fennel

Steam the fennel until just tender. I did mine with a little bit of water in a vented container in the microwave. It took two bursts of 1 minute 30 seconds. Remember to save the steaming liquid for the dressing.
Cool the fennel and liquid and then make the dressing. Whisk the vinegar, oil and fennel liquid together with the salt until combined.
To assemble the salad simply toss all of the ingredients together gently with the dressing. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.

By E.


Radish, fennel and pea shoot salad with mint sauce quinoa

This is another lovely work lunch born of ingredients that looked great in the shops! It can be so difficult sometimes to come up with new ideas for an interesting lunch, but a trip to the greengrocers or supermarket gives me inspiration in spades. What cook could fail to be overjoyed at displays of beautiful vegetables with such varied colours and shapes! Not to mention flavours…

So here we have fennel, thinly sliced and roasted so that the thinnest bits frizzle and the thicker pieces have some chew still, but in a lovely jammy way. And radishes, raw this time, for crunch, with the leaves from the bunch wilted to stir through the quinoa. And the quinoa! With an English mint sauce dressing, it’s my favourite way yet to eat it. There’s pea shoots too for the lovely sweet flavour and freshness, so good with mint. This salad came together beautifully, it has great flavours, but just as importantly, texture.

Radish, fennel and pea shoot salad with mint sauce quinoa

Radish, fennel and pea shoot salad with mint sauce quinoa

serves 2

for the salad

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 tsp olive oil

a pinch of salt

100 g quinoa, rinsed

300 ml just boiled water

radish leaves if using

8 radishes, cut into little wedges

2 large handfuls of pea shoots

for the mint sauce dressing

15 – 20 g mint leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp cider vinegar

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.

Toss the fennel with the oil and salt and roast for around 30 minutes until the thinnest pieces are frizzled and golden brown and the thicker pieces are cooked through.

When the fennel is cooked, push it to one side of the roasting tin and add the radish leaves (if using), to the other. Pop the tray back into the oven and turn it off. The radish leaves will wilt in the residual heat, just like spinach would.

While the fennel is roasting, cook the quinoa with the water for around 15 minutes, until the little white part of the grain is released and the whole of it is tender. Drain the quinoa.

To make the mint sauce, whizz all of the ingredients in a mini blender. I use the attachment from my immersion blender. Alternatively, bash it a together in a pestle and mortar until well combined. Mix the sauce through the quinoa. It will taste quite vinegary at this stage, don’t worry, the flavour will mellow as it cools.

To assemble the salad, mix the radish leaves through the quinoa and then top with the fennel, radishes and pea shoots.

By E.


Spiced fennel, red pepper and cashew fritter

Originally we’d thought of making a sort of onion bhaji using fennel in place of the onion. But as tends to happen when we cook together, the whole idea evolved into something quite different…

So in the end we went for a great mix of fennel, red pepper and cashews, bound together with batter flavoured with a beautifully fragrant spice mix.

We cooked one big fritter and served cut into wedges with potato slices which had been baked with herbs.

It was gorgeous! Definitely one to make again.

Spiced fennel, red pepper and cashew fritter

Spiced fennel, red pepper and cashew fritter

Continue reading


Potato salad with roast fennel and peppers

Fennel is looking good in the shops at the moment, and I love the fresh aniseedy flavour. I also had some lovely little potatoes and a bunch of dill so it had to be potato salad for work lunches!

Here I’ve roasted some of the fennel, along with red and yellow peppers, to add a little sweetness as a counterpoint to the fresh crunchy raw fennel.

Along with kidney beans to make the salad more sustaining, it made a great lunch today.

Cooking the kidney beans with the potatoes for a couple of minutes does mean they don’t look as pretty in the finished salad, but as they’re softened they soak up the dressing really nicely!

Potato salad with roast fennel and peppers

Potato salad with roast fennel and peppers

Continue reading