Fennel is rich in phytochemicals like anethole and other terpenoids. These snazzy compounds apparently help reduce cramps, gas, bloating and all manner of trouser trumpets.
But wait! Fennel is also good for women! If you’re expecting or nursing a tiny tot, fennel provides protective folate and vitamin C. As a brew, it is said to also work wonders on indigestion, intestinal unease and lactation. In one piece of research, drinking fennel tea helped reduce instances of colic in breast-fed babies by up to 40%. Many mummies have reported that fennel tea helps with their milk supply too. (No more boob talk, I promise).
The texture of raw fennel is satisfyingly crunchy like white cabbage, only much sweeter in taste. It’s fairly swell with red onion and beetroot, kissed with a simple Thai sauce made from the juice of one lime and a tablespoon each of raw honey, nam pla fish sauce and unrefined sesame oil. But on chilly February afternoons you’ll find it hard to beat this recipe.
Cumin & Coconut Roasted Fennel for 4:
3 bulbs of fennel
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
sprinkle of sea salt flakes
1 small unwaxed lemon
Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius. Cut each bulb of fennel into quarters, lengthways. Don’t be tempted to slice the bum off, as the bulb will fall apart and you will be left with loads of bitty pieces rather than thick wedges. Place on a baking tray.
In a pestle and mortar, crush the salt, cumin and coriander seeds together into a paste. Mash in the coconut oil and drop onto the tray of fennel. Roast for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and toss until the fennel wedges are now coated with the fragrant oil. Return to the oven and roast for a further 20 minutes, or until they colour on one side.
Lightly grate some lemon zest over the tray of roasted fennel, as soon as they hit the dinner table. This side should feed 4-6 polite mouths. When left unsupervised, I’ve had guests pillage half the tray before it reached the dinner table. It might therefore be prudent to make allowances for thirsty hands, and double up on quantities. Just saying.