So to cut a long story short, I’ve pretty much been vegetarian for a month since Ben lost a bet with Hazel. I’m currently writing an article which will go up on here with my thoughts about this…but for now, the important bit – recipes!
Cooking only vegetarian food for a month seemed like a fantastic opportunity to experiment with some vegetables I’ve barely used before. So I took advantage of the abundance of fresh variety available at the biscuit mill and bought some lovely, fat fennel bulbs.
Altered slightly from my vegetarian bible – Cranks by Nadine Abensur.
Take fennel bulbs and remove any tough bits of stalk or root left. I guess, depending on the size of the bulbs, about 1 per person for a side salad – I used this with my risotto stuffed butternut.
Using a mandolin, thin slicer on a food processor or awesome knife skills – slice the fennel into very thin slices and arrange in the bottom of a flat dish. Mix 1 part wine vinegar to 4 parts olive oil and season with salt and pepper. This is one time when its absolutely worth it to use a decent wine vinegar and especially a decent bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
Cover the fennel in the dressing and leave for at least an hour. The recipe recommends slicing tomatoes and black olives to accompany the fennel, but Ben had eaten all the olives, so I substituted these for chopped capers – which worked wonderfully. So, slice some nice tomatoes – I used the cherry vine ones fresh from the garden, mince a clove of garlic and finely chop a tablespoon full of capers, then sprinkle these over the fennel and serve.
Really delicious, quite acidic and rich so serve with something to balance it out. A sweet, risotto stuffed butternut is perfect but I imagine it would go well with some nice fish or even a chicken dish. Serve with an acidic white – a citrusy, unoaked chardonnay worked well with the squash for us.
Dietary note: Completely gluten-free and vegan too (although this depends on processing methods for wine and oil used).