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:
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Season with salt and toss in the fennel stems and continue to cook for another 2 minutes so the stems are well-browned.
- 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.
- Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.
- 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.