Fennel and Chicken Soup


A fabulous combination! And a great way to use up left over chicken…oh and one of my very favourite vegetables!



1 fennel bulb – trimmed and cut roughly into 3 or 4 chunks.

1 tulip shallot – or a small onion if not available

1 litre of chicken stock

A pinch of saffron

A pinch or two of smoked paprika

A clove of garlic crushed

About 100 gm left over chicken meat – no skin

A little olive oil

50 gm unsalted butter

50 ml milk – optional


Pop the fennel chunks in a food processor with the shallot and whizz until well shredded. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and when warm add the fennel and onion. Pan fry gently for about ten minutes until the fennel becomes soft. 

Add the garlic. Stir for another minute or two. Pour in the chicken stock and add the saffron and paprika.  

Put a lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Pop the chicken in the food processor and whizz until broken down. Add to the soup. 

Simmer for a further 15 minutes with the lid off.

You could now add the milk – or cream if you want to be remarkably indulgent (!)  – and simmer for another minute – then remove from the heat , and blend down gently with a stick blender.

Serve with warm crusty bread!

I promise you, this is full of fabulous flavours!



Sea Bass and eat it!



IMG_5651Possibly one of my favourite fish – creamy, succulent sea bass  – so easy to cook and the flavours are immense. This dish brings out the best in the bass – easy to cook and a super light lunch or early summer supper. The fennel also just bursts into life in this dish. You could use other fish – and you could pimp the dish by adding king prawns – but this basic recipe hits the spot for me!


Olive oil

3 garlic cloves finely sliced

1 fennel bulb, cored and cut into slices

1 small lemon, cut into small chunks

1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into long strips

2 sea bass fillet

2 large potatoes, thinly sliced

Sea salt


Preheat the oven to 180c. Splash olive oil in a roasting tin snug enough to fit the fillets. Add the fennel, garlic, potato and lemon plus the chilli strips. Stir to coat everything.

Place in the hot oven for 30 minutes, stirring half way through. Meanwhile, make 3 cuts in the skin of the sea bass, and sprinkle with sea salt.

When the 30 minutes is up, remove dish from the oven and sprinkle a little sea salt over everything, then add the fillets, skin side down on the top of the mixture.

Drizzle the fish with a little more olive oil, then return to the oven for 20 minutes.

This has been one of my favourite lunch dishes so far this summer – I hope it becomes one of yours too!

Simple Saturday Fare


A BBQ day with home made flat breads, moroccan lamb burgers ,corn and fennel slaw…


Flat bread is such fun to make. This was 350gm of self-raising flour, mixed in a bowl with 100 ml natural yoghurt and 250 ml of water and a grind or two of sea salt. Stir it all round with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball and the ingredients are mixed together. Pop on to a floured board and knead for 5 minutes, then pop back into the bowl with a little flour and put a plate over it until you are ready to use. I cut the ball into two halves and tore off golf ball size pieces which I then rolled into thin sheets. I heated my griddle pan, added a smidgin of olive oil then slid in the dough. Each took about 2 minutes a side. I topped with a little butter, fresh rosemary and garlic all melted together in a separate pan. A little grind of sea salt is good too, and some I added some grated gran pardon too. They went very well with my shop bought moroccan lamb burgers and corn cooked on my new bucket bbq.

For a different take on cole slaw, I ditched the cabbage – the cole part – and used 2 fennel bulbs shredded, one carrot grated and one red onion finely chopped. Then add your mayonnaise to taste. I love it!


IMG_5426 Summer might be closer than I thought!


OK, I forgot to take all the pics….


OK, I forgot to take all the pics....

….so you will have to take it from me that tonight’s supper was a 3 course delight. Late, mind…leaves on the line, hurricanes, fences down, hair lightly ruffled etc all of which caused us to not begin supper until 8.30pm… but all worth it – and if Annie’s other half is tuning in, it was all healthy too, James!

Starter…as in the pic above…slices of fennel doused in lemon juice and olive oil wrapped in prosciutto crudo with cherry toms and fennel salami – finocchiona – with a drizzle of fig balsamic. Main course – and this was very good – really very good – tagliatelle with a creamy basil sauce. Into a blender – pop a big handful or two of basil, a clove of garlic peeled and sliced, two tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a teaspoon of capers and enough olive oil to give it a thick, just about runny, consistency. Blitz! Add to a bowl and add 2 or 3 dessert spoons of single cream. Cook your tagliatelle, drain it, stir in the sauce and serve – scattering over some toasted pine nuts if you will – they only take a minute or two in a dry frying pan. And of course we all grated over some parmesan.

I actually prefer this to my normal straight pesto sauce. It was simply unctuous.

OK – to finish off, I sliced a fabulous crisp Italian pear and placed a large piece on a small saucer to which I added a thin slice of creamy gorgonzola. This was all washed down with an amazing Malbec from Argentina called Alamos – purchased from those lovely people in Majestic in Winchester. Possibly a contributory factor as to why I forgot to photo the main course and the dessert! Hey – but it was all fab and each of the 3 dishes complimented each other marvellously.

Oh…and in the photo I was not just the only one drinking- the others just hadn’t arrived at the table yet!

Right – nearly 10.15 pm. Time to laze by the woodburner and dream about tomorrow’s supper….

Meatless Monday….


Meatless Monday....

All the remaining pork from yesterday’s luscious pork loin had been hoovered up either last night or at lunch today so supper ce soir was a frugal affair…. but just as tasty for all that! It was another eve of ‘what is there lurking in the fridge’…..what could be cobbled together to be toothsome and taste bud tingling? Ah! There was half a fennel bulb – and in close proximity a superb solitary salad onion – stood up yesterday but now in favour! And of course there were still 5 or 6 flavoursome tomatoes from the weekend. I whizzed up a simple vinaigrette – chopped up the onion, sliced the toms and finely diced the fennel. All was lovingly mixed together and i served it with croutons – as i had 4 gorgeous small rolls from Saturday left – I had made a salmon mousse for a light lunch and filled the rolls with it – so those that remained tonight I cut into rounds and pan fried in a fragrant olive oil. Result is as the pic above. Plus a few more basil leaves! It was fabulous and alarmingly simple.

Then I recalled that I had made a jar of pesto early Saturday morning, not wishing to waste a large bunch of basil I had on the window sill. And clearly not being in a mood to lie in!


So it came to the rescue and we had it with linguine and more snowfalls of parmesan. Phew! I had sorted supper after all – I just didn’t know it at the time!