Monday, 28 April 2008


There are some days when you return home from work and wish you'd never bothered crawling out from under your duvet that morning in the first place. These are the days when I most crave something really reassuring - food which means home. Today was such a day.

This age of food-obsession has brought about the availability of so many different types of produce, and thank goodness for that. It is always with some disbelief then that I scan the shelves when buying fresh herbs. Parsley, basil, coriander, rosemary, mint, chives. Thyme and dill if you're lucky. And whilst I am delighted to be able to buy these in abundance, where's the tarragon, marjoram, sorrel, lovage, lemon verbena? I live for the day when I walk into a supermarket and find chervil. And so it was with pleasant surprise that I found fresh oregano and lemon thyme on my latest trip to the supermarket. Not the rarest of herbs, granted, but a nice change from the usual suspects.

So dinner this evening was free-range organic turkey roasted with lemon thyme, garlic and lemon. There is something about the taste of lemon and garlic with poultry which is so comforting. I once had the misfortune of working with someone (who will remain nameless), who delivered to me an astonishing diatribe about the over-use of lemon in cookery, and particularly with chicken. 'Lemon is for putting in gin and tonic, and nothing else' was his insightful offering. It is worth noting that this individual had the esteemed title of 'Creative Director' and professed to have a love of food. What a creative attitude indeed.

My need for solace found me reaching for the enormous bulb of fennel which was languishing in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. To me, there are fewer foods which offer the essential comfort factor I was seeking this evening. Gently baked until tender and sweet, this delicately scented bulb is my nursery food.

Simply cut into wedges before being laid in an oven proof dish and drizzled with olive oil, a splash of sherry vinegar and and sprinkle of Maldon sea salt, it also ticked the fuss-free box. After half an hour in a 180 degree oven, I spooned over the top tomatoes which had been cut into chunks and scattered with oregano before the obligitory slug of olive oil, sprinkle of salt and a stir. Back into the oven for 5 minutes or so, and it was ready.

Delicious, comforting, homely food. My spirits are restored.

1 comment:

Jennie Landels said...

I've never cooked with fennel.. but I may well give this a wee go.. looks very easy....

Loving the sound of your chicken!! mmm...!!

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