Fennel has a distinct flavour of anise, a taste that goes particularly well with fish. Fennel can be sliced finely and used raw in salads, its flavour contrasts well with apples, celery and other crunchy ingredients. The feathery tops can be used as a garnish.

Fennel is also excellent braised or roasted.

Feta Fettuccini with Fennel and Mushrooms

Serves 4

250g fresh fettuccini
1 Fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
75g mushrooms, quartered
Zest of a lemon
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped.
50g crumbled feta cheese
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) fromage frais
1 tbsp Olive Oil

Cook the Pasta in a large pan of boiling water.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook the fennel and onions for 3-4 minutes and then add the garlic and mushrooms, continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta. In a large bowl add the cooked pasta with the cooked fennel, onions and mushrooms mixture and then crumble in the feta and add the lemon zest, parsley and finally the fromage frais. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley over the top.


Fennel and lemon Risotto

Serves 4

A small pinch of saffron threads
1.25 litres of hot vegetable stock
1 Fennel bulb, sliced
125g butter
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
finely grated zest and juice of one Lemon
300g risotto rice.
50g freshly grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100ml vodka (optional – adding this at the end gives a delightful flavour to the risotto)

Soak the saffron in hot stock until required. Melt half the butter in a frying pan add the onion, chopped fennel, garlic and lemon zest and gently fry for 10 minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir for 30 seconds until the grains are glossy. Meanwhile heat the saffron stock to a gentle simmer, add a ladle of stock to the rice and cook, stirring until absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente (about 20 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the remaining butter, lemon juice, vodka if using, parmesan, fennel fronds and salt and pepper, cover, leave for 5 minutes and then serve.


Fusilli with Lemon and Fennel

Serves 4

250g Fusilli Tricoloure
1 Fennel bulb, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil
150 ml White wine
Sat and Freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice of one Lemon
15g flat leaf parsley, chopped.
Grated parmesan to serve.

Cook the Pasta in a large pan of boiling water as per the instructions.
Sweat the fennel and garlic in olive oil slowly until soft, add the wine and seasoning and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice.

Drain the pasta and reserve a little of the water. Add the fennel mixture to the pasta and to finish add the parsley.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan


Fennel and Potato Bake

1 Fennel bulb
4 large potatoes (or 6 small), scrubbed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
300ml single cream
300ml milk
1 Organic Free Range Egg
Butter, for greasing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190c/375F/Gas mark 5

Thinly slice the potatoes and fennel. Butter a baking dish and arrange the potato and fennel slices in alternate layers with the garlic and lots of seasoning in between. Mix the cream, egg, milk and nutmeg with lots of seasoning. Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 ½ hours, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes to brown on top.


Tagliatelle with Fennel

1 head of fennel, trimmed and quartered.
250g fresh tagliatelle
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Grated fresh Parmesan
Parsley, roughly chopped

Cook the fennel quarters in water, once they are tender take them out and slice them. Keep the slices warm by keeping them in a covered bowl. In the fennel water cook the tagliatelle until soft. Drain the pasta and mix in the olive oil and the fennel pieces. To serve, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and parsley


Fennel, Celery and Mozzarella Salad

1 fennel bulb
1 whole piece buffalo mozzarella, drained and thinly sliced
1 Celery heart, pale centre stalks only, thinly sliced diagonally
125ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Warm baguette or ciabatta bread, to serve

Halve the trimmed fennel bulb and remove the tough triangular core. Slice the flesh wafer thin.
Arrange the mozzarella slices in a single layer on a large plate.
Strew the fennel and celery over the mozzarella.
Season generously, lash on the olive oil and lemon juice.

Serve with a warmed baguette or ciabatta bread.

Braised Fennel with Tomatoes

serves 4 as a side dish

30-45ml/2-3tbsp olive oil
one small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
about 175ml/6fl oz dry white wine
15ml/1tbsp chopped fresh basil or 2.5ml/11/2 tsp dried
40-50g/11/2-2oz fresh white breadcrumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2. Trim the fennel bulbs (if they have feathery tops) and cut into slices 1cm/1/2” thick.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions and garlic for about 4-5 mins over a moderate heat until the onions are slightly softened. Add the tomatoes, stir-fry briefly then stir in 150ml/1/4 pint of the white wine, the basil and the seasoning. Bring to the boil, add the fennel, then cover and cook for 5 mins

Arrange the just the fennel in layers in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the tomato mixture and sprinkle the top with half the breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for about an hour.

From time to time press down on the breadcrumb crust with the back of a wooden spoon and sprinkle over another layer of breadcrumbs and a little more of the wine. The crust slowly becomes golden brown and very crunchy.


Egg and Fennel Tabbouleh with nuts

Serves 4

250g bulgar wheat
4 tbsp olive oil
4 Medium organic eggs
2 tbsp garlic oil
1 Fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
25g of sun dried tomatoes in oil, sliced
50g chopped hazelnuts
3tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
75g black olives
4 pitta breads, warmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl pour boiling water over the bulgar wheat and leave to soak for 15 minutes. Drain the bulgar wheat in a metal sieve and place the sieve over a pan of bowling water. Cover the pan and sieve with a lid and steam for about 10 minutes. Fluff up the grains with a fork and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.Hard boil the eggs, shell and quarter. Boil the fennel in water for 6 minutes, drain and cool under running water.Combines the eggs, fennel, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, mint and olives with the bulgar wheat. Dress with olive oil, garlic oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Season well and serve with warm pitta breads

Baked Fennel with Parmesan

Serves 2 as a side dish

20g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 fennel bulb
30g butter + some extra for greasing

First grate the cheese and preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, cut the fennel bulb in half and add it to the boiling water.
Cook until the fennel is tender, drain and cut the fennel in half lengthways into 4-6 six pieces.
Place into a greased ovenproof dish, add some knobs of butter and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Fennel Risotto with White Wine and Garlic – serves 2

750ml hot vegetable stock 2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Fennel bulbs (about 200g), quartered and sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
A large knob of butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
200g risotto rice
100ml dry white wine
20g chopped flat leaf parsley
50g grated parmesan cheese

In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add the fennel and garlic, season to taste and cook for 15 minutes or until soft. Leave to one side. Meanwhile in a medium sized saucepan, heat the remaining oil and butter and add the onions and cook for 2 minutes or until soft, add the rice and stir to coat for about 2 minutes. Stir in half the wine and increase the heat to a gentle boil, when the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, start to add the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stir until the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next ladleful.
After about 20 minutes the rice should be creamy but still with a slight bite, add the last ladleful of stock along with the fennel, half the parsley and half the cheese and the remaining wine. Stir and season to taste. Serve with the remaining cheese and parsley scattered on the top.

Basil Scented Braised Fennel

Serves 2

2 x 15ml spoon olive oil
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1cm wedges and reserving any green fronds
1 Basil stock cube, made up with 125ml boiling water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish.

Add the fennel and then sauté for 5-8 minutes until golden brown, turning carefully with a fork.

Pour in the stock then cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the fennel is tender.

Great served with griddled meat for fish and the reduced cooking liquor,

Caramelised Fennel with Grana Padano Cheese

Serves 2

1 Fennel bulb, rinsed, trimmed and cut into eight wedges
50ml extra virgin olive oil
75g Grana Padano cheese, grated
75g fresh breadcrumbs
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to season

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Place the fennel wedges in boiling salted water and cook for 7 minutes, or until tender when pierced.
Drain and arrange them in a small roasting tin or baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the Grana Padano cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the fennel. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Serve straight away

Cheese, Fennel and Herb Soup

Serves 2

15g Butter
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 potato (about 100g) peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
250ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg yolk
4 tbsp Double cream
50g Lancashire cheese, grated

Heat the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion until softened but not coloured. Add the potato,fennel and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the potato and fennel are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Blend the soup along with the parsley, cream, egg yolk and cheese.
Reheat and serve.

Grilled Fennel with Marinated Feta Cheese

1 Fennel Bulb
Olive oil for grilling
2 tbsp Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 fresh oregano sprigs, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g feta cheese
50 g Olives

Trim the feathery fonds from the top of the fennel bulb. Add the bulb to a saucepan of boiling water, return to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water and then dry. Slice the bulb in half lengthways, then cut the halves into quarters or thirds to make wedges. Heat the grill to hot, arrange the fennel pieces on the grill pan, brush with oil and grill, turning once or twice until slightly charred – about 8 minutes or so. Arrange in a serving dish.
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped oregano and salt and pepper in a bowl for the dressing. Break the feta into pieces and add to the dressing and marinate until serving time. Then spoon the feta over the fennel. Add the olives and serve.

Olive and Fennel Gratin

Serves 2

1 Fennel Bulb
15g butter
200g fresh penne pasta
175g pitted black olives, sliced
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp Olive oil
100g Taleggio cheese, sliced
¼ tsp dried oregano

Preheat the grill to medium. Cut the fennel into quarters lengthwise and then thinly slice. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper, then gently fry for 8-10 minutes until golden and tender.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water until just tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pan. Stir in the fennel,olives and lemon zest, mix well.
Tip the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Lay the cheese slices on top and sprinkle with oregano. Cook under the grill for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and beginning to turn golden.

Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes,Olives,Garlic and olive Oil

1 Fennel bulb
Cherry tomatoes 8-12
Handful of pitted black olives
Small handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
½ - ¾ glass of white wine, vermouth or pernod
2 knobs of butter

If the fennel has feathery tops then remove and slice them finely. Put them into a roasting tray. Cut the bulb into quarters, then the quarters in half. Put them into boiling salted water and cook for 10 mins. While the fennel is cooking preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7 and prick all the cherry tomatoes.
After 10 mins remove the fennel with a slotted spoon and add to the roasting tray. Add the tomatoes to the fennel water for 45 seconds to loosen the skins. Drain them and run a little cold water over them. Pinch or peel the skins away from the tomatoes, then add the tomatoes to the roasting tray. Add the olives, thyme, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 2 lugs of olive oil and mix together. Try and arrange everything so that you have one layer. Add the white wine and knobs of butter, breaking them up over the veg. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 30 mins.

Fennel Scented Swede

50g butter
1 tsp fennel seeds, panfried until brown and then crushed
1 Swede, peeled, boiled, chopped and pureed
50ml single cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter and crushed fennel seeds in a heavy based saucepan until the butter has melted.
Mix in the pureed swede and cook, stirring for 2 minutes, until it dries out. Stir in the single cream and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.