As expected, I’ve been rather absent lately. There’s been a lot going on, both good and bad. The bad – we finally said goodbye to my beloved childhood yellow labrador Max last weekend and it was really, really tough. He was old, and it was time, but it was still heart-wrenching to say goodbye to a faithful companion who I can’t remember being without.
But then, there are ups and downs in life, and a big, big up is on the horizon. We’re finally (hopefully!) going to be making a move into a flat all of our own, just up the road. It requires lots of work, lots of saving, lots of evenings spent drawing and designing – and this all equals less time and money to spend experimenting in the kitchen.
My beautiful lab, Max
So it’s just something simple from me tonight, a raw fennel salad, one of my favourite sides. This time, I dressed it in pesto made from almonds and parsley which was quite delicious. I never make my pesto as oily as traditionalists do – I find it ever so pricey and a bit excessive to use much more oil than I have, to make a more ‘pastey’ than drippy pesto.
You will need:
1 fennel bulb
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful of freshly picked parsley leaves, chopped
1 small garlic clove, crushed
5-6 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
2 tbspns freshly roasted almonds (I used marcona variety)
1 tbspn parmesan cheese
1 – Make the pesto: pound together the parlsey leaves, garlic and 1/2 the lemon juice together with about half the olive oil. Add the nuts and bash these into the leaf paste.
2 – Stir in the cheese and season, adding a little more oil as needed to make a nice paste
3 – Grate the fennel finely using a mandolin. Keep the fronds and add these along with the sliced fennel to a bowl with seasoning and the remaining lemon juice. Toss about 3/4 of the pesto, plus a little extra oil, into the fennel. Mix well then scatter onto a serving plate. Top with extra pesto and any remaining oil. Serve immediately.