First rule of writing: find a thread and keep to it. I am afraid this is not going to work today 'cause I have plenty of things to share and they are not inter-connected.
Thing number 1: Would like to say "hi" to my only Indian reader, you may well be the only person to read Pebble Soup out of 1,139,964,932 Indian dwellers but I like you even better for spending a incredible 23 minutes reading it at each visit and if you and anybody else out there wanted to join the group of followers, do not hesitate to click on the left hand-side button.
Thing number 2: Tried to cook fennel for the very first time, last night. I thought I did not like fennel, I have a thing about aniseed. Strangely the aniseedy taste is very mild. This might be because as I learnt this morning, there are 2 kinds of fennels: the wilder kind which is stalky and which I remember from the south of France stuffed in fish.
And the bulbous kind which looks like..........well like the picture:
I do not know many people that cook fennel at home, may be some of you add it to the bouillon when making a stock. It could almost belong to the "curious ingredient" section. It goes really well with citrus which leads me to
Thing number 3: cooking in a bag or "en papillote" as we call it in French. Papillote is a Christmas chocolate treat, wrapped in a colourful paper containing a joke. A speciality from Lyon worth looking for.
As a cooking method it produces a light dish. Light as in healthy-light as it is steamed. It also reduces the kitchen or preparation time, which can only be good. The flavours blend together giving a certain homogeneity to the taste. In this case, fennel and orange which leads me to
Thing number 4: today's recipe or rather last night's but you know what I mean.
Fish in a bag with fennel, orange and olives
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
4 white fish fillets, snapper, flathead or bream
Sea salt and pepper
1 small orange, sliced
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp small whole black olives
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp flat parsley leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 220C. Cut out four 36cm square sheets of kitchen foil or baking paper. Finely shave the fennel lengthwise.
Scatter the fennel in the centre of each square and place the fish on top. Season well. Arrange a slice of orange and a bay leaf on each fish and scatter with olives. Drizzle with olive oil and orange juice. Bring the two opposing sides of the foil up and seal as tightly as you can with a crimping pattern, forming a half-moon bag. Crimp the edges twice if you can.
Bake thin fillets for 10 minutes and thick fillets for up to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, open and drain the bag juices into a jug.
Transfer the fish and fennel to warm dinner plates, drizzle with the juices and scatter with parsley.
Recipe from Jill Dupleix' lighten up