Yellow SoupAllegedly difficult to grow, Florence Fennel is one of the few veg about which I can gloat: I find it easy, reliable and totally pest free. And, by crikey, do we have a lot of it this year. 

When I was little, an occasional bout of unnecessary thriftiness would send my Dad into Austerity Mode, the only noticeable impact of which was the arrival of Cheap But Filling Yellow Soup for supper. In hindsight, this was a fairly innocuous combination of yellow lentils and chicken stock, but as a child it was unforgivable and ever since I have been trying to reclaim yellow soup for the decadents. This year’s fennel glut might just see me one step closer:

Decadents’ Yellow Soup:

  • 1 bulb fennel
  • approx 500ml of yellow tomato puree (from the Glut Freezer and made in September by roasting yellow tomatoes in a high oven for 45 minutes then pushing through a sieve and freezing)
  • 1 tin of butter beans
  • a handful of Stellette or similar soup pasta
  • a rind of parmesan

Finely slice the fennel and sweat in a little olive oil in a large pan for a few minutes until they start to go soft, but don’t brown.

Add everything else to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Fish out the parmesan rind (it’s just there to give a depth of flavour and it really works) and serve (with a scattering of fennel fronds on top if you’re feeling a bit Jamie Oliver).

Beyond the Gratin – some other quick things to do with fennel: 

Fennel, chicory and pomegranate seeds make a grown up salad. Dress with 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts olive oil and drizzle of honey (thanks to Thyme Food School for that one)

  • Stuff in the cavity of any whole white fish, squeeze lemon juice and a little olive oil over the fish, wrap in foil and wack in oven for around 15 minutes
  • Fennel Waldorf: slice apple and fennel then mix with chicken, walnuts and mayo (no raisins in my opinion)
  • Hugh F-W just macerates finely sliced fennel in lemon then scatters goats cheese over it

If I fleece the fennel up at the allotment to protect it from frost, it might just last to Christmas so expect turkey and fennel suggestions later.