Roasted Fennel with Orange and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Friends from California came and stayed at the weekend and gave me the Gjelina cookbook, which I have been cooking from ever since. My goodness it is good. Having received it on Saturday I have since cooked 4 recipes:

garlic confit

roasted yams/butternut squash with honey, red pepper flakes and lime yoghurt

roasted cauliflower with garlic, parsley and vinegar

roasted fennel with orange and crushed red pepper flakes)

I plan to cook a 5th (grilled squash with mint-pomegranate pesto, which is on the front cover below) tonight, so I guess you could say I’m rather smitten with the book.

For those of you in the dark, Gjelina just so happens to be one of my favourite restaurants in LA. As it says in the book cover: “In Southern California, there’s no restaurant that better expresses the energy and cool excitement of Venice Beach than Gjelina” and I couldn’t agree more. It epitomises grain and vegetable centric, globally inspired cuisine, which suits me down to the ground. It has echo’s of Ottolenghi’s tomes – think za’atar and pomegranate molasses infused dishes – but the thing I automatically liked about it is that the recipes are those you actually want to cook and share with friends and family, also they are dead easy and if you don’t have an ingredient you can ad lib and make your own additions. The photos and props are also definitely the style that I love.

I have a large pot of garlic confit sitting in my fridge now, like the one above. I can’t wait to make their version of mushroom toast – I mean how divine does it look?. This would definitely appeal to my father who also has a deep fondness to mushrooms, like myself.

So last night I made the ‘roasted fennel with orange and crushed red pepper flakes’. I couldn’t find any blood oranges so I used a regular orange. I also played around with the measurements here and there to suit me. The final dish was delicious and is perfect with a roast chicken, fish or perhaps some other vegetable dishes. Great for summer gatherings. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

 

Roasted Fennel with Orange & Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 

2 fennel bulbs, cut into wedges and the stem into thin slices, reserve the fronds

1 large orange, peeled and cut into segments

60ml extra-virgin olive oil

flaked sea salt

80ml fresh orange juice

30ml masala wine (they use 60ml of white wine but I none to hand)

60ml of vegetable stock (I used my homemade poussin stock which is so flavoursome)

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

freshly ground black pepper

  1. Prepare the fennel bulbs and then in a large frying pan warm the olive oil. When it is hot add the fennel wedges so that the cut sides are against the bottom of the pan to get a good sear.
  2. Cook until the fennel is caramelised, which takes about 3 minutes. Turn over, using tongs, and caramelise the other side for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and toss in the fennel stems and continue to cook for another 2 minutes so the stems are well-browned.
  4. Now add the orange juice, wine and stock and let reduce do that the sauce thickens and the fennel is seared and starting to softened – this should only take a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour onto a serving platter and garnish with the fennel fronds, orange segments.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Super easy and super delicious. I hope you agree.

 

 

 


Crab, fennel, chilli flake and lemon bruschetta – an uplifting lunch for the start of the new school year

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School started again today for big A, so it was a return to the old routine of getting up early – although at the moment we have no problem there as the jet lag hasn’t completely worn off as yet.

After a breakfast treat of crepes with ham, cheese and eggs – for the girls, not me I might add, we did the school run. All morning whilst little Z and I were busying ourselves I was looking forward to trying out a recipe that I recently spotted in the Australian food magazine ‘Gourmet Traveller’. If you have not come across the magazine before I urge you to take a look at their website at the very least. The fusion of food and travel appealed to me and I thought that the articles were well written and interesting and the photographs stunning. Australia is approaching spring and of course we are heading towards autumn, so perhaps their recipes are slightly out of sink with what us Brits would be thinking about cooking. That said this recipe appealed to me greatly and I felt that it could easily bridge the seasons.

It’s an ideal snack, light lunch or starter and would go down nicely with a glass of crisp white wine. The combination of crab, fennel, lemon and chilli flakes is sublime and the fact that it is easy to prepare further adds to its appeal. I think you will agree this one is a winner.


Crab, fennel, chilli flakes and lemon bruschetta

Adapted from ‘Gourmet Traveller’

Serves 4

Sour dough loaf, sliced

120g tin of crab meat. By all means use freshly cooked crab meat if you have it to hand but I find the tinned variety reasonable and hassle free

1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp of chilli flakes

25 ml of olive oil

half a lemon, thinly sliced. Meyer lemon if you can get hold of them. Equally you can substitute the lemons with 2 tsp of lemon juice and 1 tsp of finely grated rind. 

1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, halved

*  Mix the crab meat, lemon juice, fennel seeds and chilli flakes together with your hands and add the olive oil.

* Now gently add the lemon slices (or finely grated rind – see above), fennel bulb and parsley and season to taste.

* Using a griddle pan, or in my case non-stick grill plates from my sandwich and panini maker, place a couple of slices of sour dough bread on the plates for approximately a minute. If you are using a griddle pan, turn the bread only once. Repeat until you have toasted enough bread for your needs.

* Once the bread is toasted sufficiently so that griddle lines appear, rub the cut-side of garlic onto the toast.

* Place the crab mixture on top of the toast and serve immediately.