Fennel and orange crispy cookie thins

Makes 24

Preheat the oven to 190˚C/170˚C fan/gas mark 5 and line two baking trays with parchment paper. In a food processor, whizz 55g blanched flaked almonds with ½ tsp fennel seeds until coarsely ground. Transfer to a small saucepan. Add 60g butter, 25g sugar, 3 tbsp honey and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, stirring to combine as the butter melts. Boil for one minute, then remove from the heat. Stir in 4 tbsp plain flour and the zest of 1 orange. Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter on the prepared baking trays, spacing them 5-6cm apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown, rotating the trays halfway through. Place the trays on wire racks and allow the cookies to cool completely.

Baked Parmesan fennel

Serves 6 as a side

Preheat the oven to 230˚C/210˚C fan/gas mark 8 and lightly grease a baking dish with oil or butter. Trim 3 fennel bulbs and split them lengthwise. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the fennel for 10 minutes. Place the fennel on kitchen paper, cut side down, and allow to drain for five minutes. Place the fennel into the prepared baking dish, cut side up. Brush the cut sides with melted butter. Season with salt and black pepper, then top with grated Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves. Bake for 20 minutes until the fennel is tender and the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

Sicilian winter salad

Serves 4

Squeeze the juice from 1 orange into a bowl. Thinly slice 1 red onion and soak the slices in the juice for 20 minutes, then drain. Peel 2 oranges and divide into segments, cutting away any pith. In a large bowl, toss the orange segments together with the red onion, 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb, a handful of fresh basil, about 20 black olives and 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, then toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.


Use blood oranges if available.

For tips on how to prepare the fennel, click here.