Thursday, December 30, 2010

Florence Fennel - Fennel Bulb

My wife Izumi likes me to try all kinds of weird and wonderful things in the garden. She kept asking me to grow Fennel so I did. Our first crop of fennel grew fine but it wasn't the variety she wanted – she wanted the Bulb kind known as Florence Fennel. We needed to grow it from seed because the nurseries didn't sell seedlings of such an unusual plant. It's popular with the asians and is usually sold in Chinese vegetable shops. But it's quite expensive – that's why we tried growing our own.

So here it is:

Technically although it's often referred to as Fennel bulb it's not actually a bulb — it just looks like one, hence the name. The cats seems to love rubbing themselves against the foliage which smells sweet like aniseed.
We grew it over the winter months and harvested it in September.

Here's what Izumi did with it:

She sliced up a couple of oranges off the tree...
 Then mixed it in with the fennel (the bulb part) which was also sliced up...
 Then she added a few pitted olives...
I think she added some salt and pepper and some of Paul Newman's salad dressing and that's about it. It was very fresh and full of interesting flavours. It goes well with just about any kind of meat dish you can think of including fish, steak, sausages... whatever you like really.


  1. Beautiful plant Dave! I just admire how everything grows so well there! You are truly an excellent gardener. You and Tony!

    That also looks tasty! Think I will try it one day since my wife and I are trying to cut down the calories a bit. Well...her at least. =)

  2. Yes this WAS a LOW calorie dish. Gardening's a bit like the ministry. I planted, Izumi watered, but it's God that makes it grow. (1 Cor 3:6)

    I'm just glad Izumi knows what to do with all the stuff that comes out of the garden – she's a great cook.

  3. I have never tried fennel, at least not knowingly, probably have had it in stuff at restaurants. Michelle reckons she hates the taste of it so that's why I've never tried it because she won't buy it or let me grow it. Are they normally that big or is it another of your freaks of nature like your huge cabbage???

  4. Yes I think the one Izumi's holding was a bit freakish for size. Bigger than the ones you usually buy in the asian grocery shops.

    I'm from english stock so I grew up eating all kinds of typical english food which is pretty basic and unimaginative, but Izumi has introduced me to all kinds of unusual asian foods — although I still can't handle anything too spicy.