Nicola found some fennel bulbs at the farmers market and brought a couple home for me. At the same time I really enjoyed the garlic in the mushroom and garlic soup last week and so decided to combine the fennel with garlic and cream aiming for a creamy consoling soup. When cooked fennel has quite a subtle flavour so I have roasted the garlic which mellows it beautifully. You could roast the fennel and onion as well if you like but I didn’t.
-Begin with the garlic. Put the oven on to 190 centigrade. Take a whole bulb of garlic, snip off the top with some scissors, put on a baking tray and pour over a little olive oil and some salt.
- Pop in the oven and roast until the cloves are soft enough to squash between your fingers, twenty minutes to half an hour probably.
- Meanwhile peel and chop up a small onion and a couple of fennel bulbs.
- Cook gently in a tablespoon or two of olive oil
- Take the garlic out of the oven and allow it to cool. Then separate the cloves and squeeze them out into the onion and fennel pan. The flavour really is quite mild so use the whole bulb.
- Add in a small palmfull of thyme leaves and stir it all about.
- Pour over about three quarters of a pint of chicken or vegetable stock and leave to simmer until the fennel is soft, maybe another twenty minutes.
- Allow the soup to cool a little and then blend smooth.
- Reheat again adding some salt if neccessary, black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and then some cream. I never add much cream, a dessertspoonful or two is all that is required to give the soup a creamyness without over powering the rest of the ingredients.
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