fennel

tomato soup by Yasmin

8th November 2019

After being away from the garden for one month, I wasn’t sure what I would find on my return. Everything green was munched down by caterpillars, however, to my surprise, there were lots of cherry tomatoes hanging off dried skeleton branches and small but healthy bell peppers. I collected them all and made this comforting, nostalgic soup. Their flavour was enhanced by a month of neglect.

My daughter has been making her own version of this soup, it’s so simple and creamy, served with a big spoon of cooked barley.  The added coconut cream takes the edge off the acidity and softens the soup.

tomato soup by Yasmin

preparation – 35 mins

serves 2

ingredients

2 Tbsp coconut oil

½ large fennel/2 sticks celery(70g), roughly chopped

½ medium/80g bell pepper, roughly chopped

few sprigs thyme

1 fresh bay leaf

400g/2½ cups cherry tomatoes

1 Tbsp tomato paste

¾ cup water

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ – ½ cup coconut cream

to serve

barley

ghee/olive oil

preparation

1.   In a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil, fennel, bell pepper, thyme and bay leaf – fry for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.   Add in the whole cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, stir to combine, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

3.   Add in the water, salt, jaggery and coconut cream, stir to combine.

4.  Remove the sprigs of thyme and bay leaf, then puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls with a spoon of cooked barley.  Garnish each with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves, a few rounds of pepper, and drizzle with coconut cream.

a simple spring asparagus soup

10th April 2016

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This spring asparagus soup was created for the Holmes Place magazine for an ongoing concept of seasonal ‘superfoods’ throughout the year.

Asparagus spears make a deeply fresh, light, vibrant green, cleansing soup that tastes like Spring. It has a sweet bitter and mildly pungent flavour. The lemon supports a gentle cleanse, the dill stimulates the digestive juices helping in the bowel’s movement, while the asparagus promotes circulation to the kidneys and providing a good dose of vitamins, especially vitamin K.  The addition of avocado gives this soup a creamy, rich texture, and a healthy serving of good fats, aiding in the absorption of nutrients.  A drizzling of ghee when serving provides a grounding sattvic quality.

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Asparagus has a short season, and it is worth buying the thinner spears rather than the ‘jumbo’ spears whose flavour tends to be disappointingly bland.  When buying asparagus, take a careful look at the cut ends to make sure they are not dried out.  Avoid cooking in aluminium pans as they can taint the flavour. Once harvested, this vegetable loses it sweetness quickly.  So buy locally, as the produce shipped from overseas is disappointing.

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simple spring asparagus soup

Once the weather warms up, this soup can be served chilled.  Season to taste after it’s completely cool.

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients

500 grams/2 bunches asparagus spears

1 medium fennel bulb

2 Tbsp olive oil/ghee

1 avocado

½ cup fresh dill, chopped 

1 Tbsp lemon juice

zest from half a lemon, plus more for garnishing

2 cups boiling water

1 tsp rock salt, more to taste

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

preparation

1.  Wash the asparagus, break off and discard the woody ends from the base of the stalks – chop into 1-inch pieces. Remove the tougher outer layer of the fennel, then chop into small pieces.

2.  In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil or ghee, add the chopped fennel and sauté for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir in the asparagus and sauté until the asparagus is tender.

4.  Turn off the heat, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender with the avocado, dill, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and boiling water – puree until completely smooth, creamy and velvety.

5.  Taste and season with more salt, pepper or lemon, as needed.

Serve immediately, garnished with thin slices of avocado, lemon zest, extra dill, a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and drizzle with melted ghee.

If not serving immediately, reheat when needed over a low flame.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

crunchy slaw salad with mustard greens

1st March 2015

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I can feel spring deep in my being.  I am starting to crave the crunch and freshness of salads that curiously draw me into the vegetable garden.  At first glance, it seems there are few things growing at this time of year, everything is in that in-between stage, but if I soften my gaze, there is so much more than at first glance.

I also love that I need to get down on my hands and knees to find the little delights that are popping up in these slightly warmer days.  I use the tiny small leaves of the mustard, found at the heart of the bigger plants and the smaller leaves of the seedlings which have self-seeded everywhere. They are flourishing in all sorts of unexpected and unusual places.  I use the bright yellow, dainty flowers from the older plants in salads.

Greens such as purple leaf mustard, rocket and arugula provide a peppery freshness, as well as a boost of vigour.  Salads with these greens combine antioxidants with detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties.

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crunchy slaw salad with mustard greens

Serves 4

Inspired by a vegetable garden & Jerusalem by Ottolenghi.

Raw mustard greens alone can be very intense in a salad, but their pungent, peppery bite is quite appealing in combination with the other greens and balances the sweetness of the fennel, apple and carrot. This salad was served with red rice and this soup using 1 cup fresh sweet peas instead of the half cup of dried peas.  It was a lovely refreshing dinner and noted to be repeated.  Also really good with a cooked red lentil hummus.

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for the salad 

2 large bulbs fennel

2 medium carrots

1 large apple/firm pear

cup chopped dried cranberries

zest of one lemon

an abundant bowl of freshly picked mustard greens, arugula, rocket, parsley, fresh coriander, mint, tatsoi leaves, dandelion leaves – whatever green leaf you find in the garden at this time of year

a sprinkling of mustard and borage flowers to smile up at you

preparation 

1.  To prepare the salad, peel the carrot and slice thinly, about 2 mm thick.  Stack a few slices at a time on top of each other and cut them into matchstick-like strips.

2.  Repeat with the apple and squeeze generously with lemon to stop the apple from browning.

3.  Slice the base off the fennel and remove the first fibrous outer leaf, then cut the bulb in half lengthways.  Place each half, cut side down and cut lengthways into fine shards – the slices should be almost paper-thin.  Place all the strips in a bowl.

4.  Wash the salad greens and spin dry.

5.  When ready to serve, add the salad greens, cranberries and lemon zest to the bowl of chopped vegetables. Pour over the dressing, toss well. Eat immediately once the salad is dressed.

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honey mustard dressing

Update – Lately I have been adding 2 tablespoons soaked cashews soaked with ¼ cup water and place in a blender with the rest of the dressing ingredients, blending until rich and creamy.

ingredients

2 – 3 Tbsp honey diluted with a dash of warm water

2 Tbsp olive oil/ flaxseed oil

1 level Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

juice of one lemon

salt

preparation

1.  Dry-fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop, transfer to a mortar and pestle and roughly grind.

2.  Add the diluted honey, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and whisk until well combined.  Set aside until you are ready to serve the salad.

4V7A2540Goodness shared by Stacey

beetroot fennel quinoa pilaf with a leafy lemon garden herb salad

8th May 2014

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Create an INTENTION to practise conscious eating, connecting to your food with all of your senses and with a grateful attitude.  Here are a few mindful intentions that help to guide me.

Invite a feeling of gratitude and thanks by blessing your food before and after eating.

Nourish yourself by practising silence when eating your food.

Take the intention to always sit down to eat.

Eat only when hungry and drink only when thirsty.

Nutrients are better absorbed when meals are kept simple, not mixing too many different foods together.

Thoroughly chew your food and eat slowly.

Increase awareness and avoid drinking large quantities of liquid, especially cold when eating.

Open your heart by using candles, special dishes, flowers to create beauty around meal-time.

Never eat in an agitated or angry state and always eat in a calm, relaxed, settled and quiet atmosphere.

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beetroot fennel quinoa pilaf

A favourite way of serving this is with a freshly made still warm hummus and a leafy, lemon, garden herb salad. When I am short of time, I put everything into the pot to cook with the quinoa – not as aesthetically looking, but still deliciously tasty. This could be made with rice, barley, millet or any grain of choice.

ingredients 

1 cup quinoa

1½ cups water

1 small fennel bulb

1 medium beetroot

1 medium carrot

for the voggarane

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp cumin seeds

½ heaped tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp pink peppercorns

2 Tbsp small black currants

1 tsp fine rock salt

preparation 

1.  Wash the quinoa and let sit in water for 10 minutes, drain and place in a saucepan with 1½ cups water, bring to boil, turn down the heat and simmer, covered until water has evaporated. (Try to just under-cook the quinoa slightly – it gives a nice texture and nutty bite).  Let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.

2.  Finely slice the fennel, cut the beetroot and carrot into small uniformed pieces. (Cutting them small allows them to become tender quicker without overcooking the fennel.)

prepare the voggarane

3.  In a mortar and pestle, roughly grind the cumin, coriander and peppercorns – set aside.

4.  Heat ghee in a small pan, add cumin, coriander and peppercorns, saute for 1 minute, then add the fennel, carrot and beetroot – cover and saute on a low heat until just tender, 12 -15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Add currants and quinoa.  With a fork, fluff up the quinoa as you stir to combine, season with salt and garnish with finely chopped fennel fronds.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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lemon leafy garden herb salad with a pine nut lemon dressing

for the salad 

a mixture of small garden leaves of parsley, fennel, mustard, spinach, lettuce and coriander

edible garden flowers

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

1 avocado, cut into small cubes

for the dressing 

¼ cup pine nuts

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

½ juice of a lemon

pinch of salt

freshly ground pepper

¼ cup cold press olive/flax oil

preparation

1.  In a skillet, dry-roast the pine nuts and sesame seeds until golden, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool, then roughly chop 2 tablespoons and set aside.

2.  In a blender, place the remaining pine nuts with the rest of the ingredients and blend on high for 1 minute.  While blender is running add the oil, blend until thick and creamy and transfer to a jar and set aside.

3.  Gently wash the garden flowers separately, and place on a cloth to dry. Wash and spin the salad leaves and place in a bowl with the cucumber and avocado.

4.  Shake the dressing and drizzle over the salad and lightly toss.  Sprinkle over the lemon rind, pine nuts and edible garden flowers.

Find a quiet place, bless, and enjoy with gratitude.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

green garden salad hummus

23rd January 2014

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I spent the last couple of days transplanting tiny, green, little seedlings of fennel which have self-seeded from the summer blooms; naturally dried, some saved, and some haphazardly sprinkled or wind-carried in all sorts of unusual places throughout the garden. This IS what I LOVE about a garden left to self-seed.  There is always something to be found where you least expect it, or not expect at all.

I love that it makes me get my hands and knees dirty so that I notice all the infinite little beauties all around me.  The wild rocket is popping their heads up everywhere.  I have blankets of small parsley seedlings and more green blankets of coriander seedlings, which make the most delicious addition to green salads.

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This hummus goes very nicely with this beetroot salad and served with these sweetcorn and chard pancakes. A perfect light dinner or lunch.

a wintergreen garden salad hummus

Inspired by a vegetable garden.

It is important for the celery and fennel to be very fresh and finely chopped.

ingredients 

1¼ cups dried chickpeas

tsp bicarbonate soda

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ cup tahini

juice of ½ lemon (approximately 2 Tbsp)

salt to taste

½ cup ice cold water

1 cup celery, finely chopped 

1 cup fennel, finely chopped

big handful finely chopped fresh coriander

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

rind of one lemon

sprinkling spicy paprika powder

pre-soak

1.  Soak the chickpeas overnight with double their volume in water – the next day, drain and rinse.

preparation

2.  Place the chickpeas and bicarbonate of soda in a saucepan and generously cover with water, bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that comes to the surface – simmer uncovered until the chickpeas are soft, about 1 – 2 hours depending on the type and freshness of your chickpeas.  You will need to add more water as they simmer.  Once done the chickpeas should be quite soft but not mushy – drain and set aside.

3.  Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan, when lightly toasted turn off the heat and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle – set aside.

4.  Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor, run the machine, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally, until the beans are crumbly.

5.  Pour in the tahini, add the cumin, lemon juice, salt, and blend again until well combined.  With the machine still running, start drizzling in the ice water, so that the hummus starts to become fluffy and aerated.  Depending on the beans you may not use all the water, or you may need more.  Taste and adjust to your own personal taste by adding more tahini, lemon or salt – set aside while preparing the vegetables.

6.  Finely and thinly chop the fennel and few fronds, celery and few leaves, fresh coriander and dill, place in a large shallow bowl and stir in the blended chickpeas.

7.  Combine well, adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or lemon to taste. Glug a good helping of olive oil around the hummus, sprinkle on the lemon rind and hot paprika.  Serve as above or with these crackers, vegetable sticks or in sandwiches.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

beetroot apple fennel & sesame salad with ginger lemon dressing

22nd April 2013

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We are so happy with the weather right now.  This moment, this burst of green and life and colour, well,  it’s just perfect.

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beetroot, apple, fennel & sesame salad with ginger lemon dressing

If you favour some vegetables more than others, feel free to alter the proportions. The ginger gives it a spicy kick and the toasted sesame seeds add a nutty, earthy crunch.  Served with a favourite grain dish like this one, a spicy avocado green puree or hummus, it makes a perfectly balanced and complete meal.  Not to mention the wonderful cleansing and purifying qualities of beetroot and with the addition of ginger, helps the body rid itself of unwanted toxins and boosts the immune system.

The key to the success of this salad is the right size shavings. Don’t be tempted into using a hand grater as it will produce a sloppier mix which loses its appeal.  Use a mandolin if you have or the largest grate in the food processor or use a knife and cut very, very thin matchstick gratings.

Preparation 20 minutes

Serves 4 

ingredients 

1 tart apple, not peeled

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 medium beetroot, peeled

1 medium bulb of fennel

1 medium carrot,  peeled

½ cup packed coriander leaves

cup sesame seeds

for the dressing

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 – 3 Tbsp ginger, finely grated

3 Tbsp olive oil

3 – 4 Tbsp liquid honey/agave

¼ tsp fine rock salt

preparation

1.  Grate or finely chop the apple and stir in 1 Tbsp lemon juice to prevent the apple from browning and place in a medium salad bowl.

2.  Using a mandolin or the coarsest disc on the food processor, grate all the vegetables, starting with the fennel and moving to the carrot. Place in the bowl with the apple.

3.  Grate the beetroot and finely chop the coriander, place into the bowl. Don’t mix just yet.

4.  On medium heat, toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they start to pop. Set aside to cool.

5.  Make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, ginger, oil, honey and salt together.

6.  When ready to serve, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and pour over the dressing. Gently lifting the grated vegetables to work the colours and distribute the dressing through the salad without over mixing.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

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