Tag Archive: fennel

bean curry

I love beans. I really do. Kidney beans, speckled beans, white beans, chick peas – beans beans glorious beans.

I also much prefer soaked and home boiled beans to tinned beans although sometimes I cave in and buy easy to use tinned beans. Not this time no. This time I did the soaking overnight and the boiling thing and so I have a bag of mixed bins in my freezer for future meals.

In the last half an hour or so of boiling I added chillies and garlic cloves to the boiling beans just to give them some depth of taste. I also added salt only at that late stage to add flavour but to prevent toughening the skins with too early salt.


I decided with all these gloriously freshly homemade beans it was time for a bean curry for dinner – it being meatless Monday n’all.


I started by sautéing onions, garlic, chilli, celery and fennel for a bit. I then added coriander, curry powder and cayenne pepper and let them heat in the dry pan. The smell of these spices heating with the beginnings of the curry had the bf lurking around the kitchen, just inhaling through his nose.


I then added a tin of chopped tomatoes, 4 ladles of mixed beans, a half a tin’s worth of red wine, chopped carrots and topped and tailed green beans. I chucked the last handful of parsley and fresh coriander I had into the pot too. Lid on and gentle simmer.


I decided we needed a mash to soak up what I hoped would be a yummy sauce, so I made a parsnip and potato mash. I let the bean curry simmer, with the lid off for the second half of the time, for as long as it took for the chunky root veggies to boil.

And serve!

The carrots were still crunchy, the fresh beans still whole and the whole lot combined into a really fulfilling and delicious meal. Good for the universe and good for the pocket.

While eating the bf and I were discussing the pros of properly made beans and he said that the superior taste was why our grandparents spent a day making food rather than opening a tin.


Soaking beans may take all day but it does not use up a whole day of your time. You just leave the chaps to soak away and then the next day you boil them. If the next day doesn’t work for you, you can change the water every 12 hours for about 3 days before it gets urgent to cook the beans. And remember – DO NOT salt the water until the very end of the cooking process. If you do, the beans skins with toughen up and be indigestible.


fish with fennel

Last night’s dinner was very 1970s and very nice. And really very easy. Perfect combination really.

I got a butterflied filleted yellowtail from PnP for about R50. It was enough to feed three of us using less than half – so its yellowtail salad for lunch for a while. Yay.


Anyway – I chopped three or four baby fennel bulb into slices along with two of my oil-pot garlic cloves. I rubbed the garlicy oil on the skin of the fish and put the fennel and garlic inside it. I sprinkled fennel seeds on the oiled skin and put the fish into a heated griddle pan. I turned it after about ten minutes-ish – maybe less cos I am impatient. The fish was pretty dam fat and so I decided when it was almost cooked through from both sides to spit it into two halves, and put the half we wanted onto the griddle, skin-side up. Just to let the inside cook without burning the skin. I think a thinner or less dense fish wouldn’t need this.

It did means the fennel slices and garlic got some direct heat – which was actually a very good thing indeed. They were slightly toasted and yummy.


The sauce was beyond easy and amazing. I sliced up some more baby fennel bulbs into really thin slices. These I mixed with 1 tablespoon of dried dill tips, 100ml plain yoghurt and 100ml of sour cream, I teaspoon of lemon juice, and salt and a little pepper. All stirred together this made a really delicious sauce I shall use in future for fish, baked potatoes, potato salad even.


I made sautéed potatoes and peas – cos you gotta have chips and peas with fish really.

We all loved the meal – the fish was succulent and the skin crispy. The sauce was killer – and the yoghurt made it feel not entirely bad for us.


Will make this again for sure!!!!

So, I am home! Yay. Some three-odd weeks away from home was just too much. So good to be in my own space with the bf. I did miss him.

and even better – I am back into my own kitchen.

This afternoon the bf and i decided on a random recipe book and the four meals for this week.

The book is All Colour South African Cookbook – by Sannie Smit. The book was published in 1982 so it has some wonderfully old fashioned food in it. The photos alone are worth smiling at.

The four recipes we picked are:

  • Fish with a creamy fennel sauce (actually – we just decided they went together)
  • Fish loaf with prawn sauce. It looks just too 70s not to make. I am going to buy a brown swirly patterned table cloth just to use when we eat it.
  • Spinach and tomato bake. That’s for our Meatless Monday which may well be on Thursday. I may make stuffed kohlrabi to go with this if i can find kohlrabi.
  • Chicken and broccoli bake.

Recipes, opinion and photos will follow during the week.

Tonight is bf soup night – mushroom soup on the menu. Looking forward to that – will share later