Finally sun! It may or may not have been the coldest and greyest of springs but whatever the facts may be – it has felt like it to me. Last week I even put the fire on in the sitting room – in June!! The minute the sun is out of course I go totally salad mad – anything can find its way into my salads and often do. My current plant crush is fennel which is not only incredibly tasty but also has a lot of benefits especially for those with gastric issues. Irritable bowl syndrome anyone? Part of the parsley family fennel can be used in a variety of ways so don’t be afraid to experiment with both the plant and the seeds.
When my son was a baby and had colic we used to boil fennel seeds and give him the infusion once it had cooled down in his bottle. It helped almost instantly. Fennel is anti-spasmodic so if you feel stomach cramps coming on do give this a try. Fennel is also very helpful with fluid retention and digestive problems whilst being an overall great anti-inflammatory plant due to high levels of phytonutrients.
Fennel is beautifully roasted in the oven and is used plentiful in the French and Italian kitchens but it is equally tasty used raw in salads or as crudities. Here at Green Swede HQ we often use fennel in our green juices and it adds a lovely sweet aniseed taste to the mixture which works wonders. Today’s recipe is a classic ‘use what’s in your fridge’ sort of mixture to which I’m very partial. Use what you’ve got I say and don’t be a slave to recipes. Go off piste and use some common sense and perhaps some more uncommon sense to find your own favorite combinations. And rest assured that with a great dressing everything works.
Fennel and Avocado Summer Salad
1/2 head of celery, sliced lengthways
2 handfuls mixed leaves (I had spinach and left over rocket)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (from earlier in the week)
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, diced (at this time of year you’ve got to eat them fast)
1 celery stick, finely chopped
Sprinkling of pumpkin seeds
Olive oil (I use a lot as I love this healthy fat so use at your own discretion)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper
Mix all ingredients bar the avocado with the dressing until it is all nicely coated. Ad the avocado last and gently stir in to get a nice coating. Serve on its own or with flaked fish and prawns. Enjoy X