I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and feel positive and balanced ♥ I literally had the Christmas from hell. HELP!
What we all need now after rich Christmas food and drink is fresh, beautiful, healing food that makes us feel good and gives us the energy that we need to get the most out of this life. Now is the time to look after yourself, to reconnect to what food is all about and re-energise yourself for the coming year. Raw food has so much that we need, it is prebiotic, and as such essential for digestive health. Pickled fennel is my favourite way to eat the fennel bulb, which is a beautiful vegetable, wonderfully cleansing and itself particularly good for digestion and healthy in so many ways, for which fennel bulb, tops, flowers and seeds have been revered by so many cultures far back into time.
Above the lowly plants it towers,
The fennel, with its yellow flowers,
And in an earlier age than ours,
Was gifted with the wondrous powers,
Lost vision to restore.
It gave new strength, and fearless mood;
And gladiators, fierce and rude,
Mingled it in their daily food;
And he who battled and subdued,
A wreath of fennel wore.
I could really do with some new strength for this new year, and as a glasses wearer and diabetic I’m going to up my intake with fingers crossed!!
And just look at how stunning this summer bulb is with its full skirt…
The tops, a herb, can also be eaten in a salad, and are so pretty and textural ♥
But this time of year, the fennel I get in my organic fruit and veg box is cropped, and so it is the bulb I am concerned with.
Pickled fennel is delicious to eat as part of a salad spread, in a sandwich, an open sandwich, or wrap, or as I have been enjoying with puffed buckwheat cakes and cashew cream cheese, (tahini is also very good), thinly sliced cucumber and olives… Y.U.M. It would also be beautiful as part of an appetizer or other party finger food, it’s really so pretty and delicious.
I have added a small amount of red cabbage (you can add more, or less, as you like, and also use beetroot instead) to my pickled fennel as it adds this wonderful delicate pink colour, which is so nutritious and packed with protective phytonutrients, and also very pretty on the plate. I find colour so uplifting, and it is part of the rewarding nature of eating a plant-based diet that the food is so truly beautiful and nurturing. I don’t know about you, but right now I need that more than ever! This next week is a time for me to pick myself up and stand strong as I face 2016 and all it has to bring into my life. In order to be able to do that I need to eat well.
I have also added a clove of rose garlic, sliced. ‘Normal’ garlic will do, but rose is one of my all-time favourite varieties as it is crisp and strong without being overpowering in its after taste and is perfect for such easy pickling. Wet garlic too is just wonderful stuff, when I can get hold of it I am a happy woman ♥
Garlic adds flavour, nutrients and also its powerful anti-inflammatory and immune boosting qualities, and is far healthier when eaten in this way as letting the fresh garlic sit after chopping activates the present enzymes, and of course eating it raw preserves them as opposed to cooking. A little garlic goes a long way in such pickling, and you can use less, or leave it out completely if you prefer.
Here I have served the pickled fennel with my favourite accompaniments. The saltiness of olives, the cool freshness of cucumber, the rich nutrient dense avocado and a bite of lemon, all together is just perfect in my world ♥
- Fennel bulb
- 1 clove Garlic, I prefer wet garlic
- small amount of red cabbage, or beetroot
- cider vinegar, raw is best
- filtered water
- agave syrup, squeeze of (or other natural sweetener)
- pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- tbsp or so of dried cranberries
- a dash of coconut vinegar
Slice the fennel as you wish, I have made it quite coarse, but thinly sliced is lovely also. Add a sliced clove of garlic, a little sliced red cabbage, a pinch of salt, to taste, a squeeze of agave and 2:1 vinegar to water, covering the mixture. Give it a whirl to distribute the agave or leave to absorb. Adjust to taste as needed.
Keep in a sealed jar in the fridge.
Wash your jar and utensils thoroughly. There is no need to seal the jar because these are quick pickles meant to be kept in the fridge and consumed within the month. They keep well, but are not to be stored outside the fridge or for long periods of time. The pickles are ready to eat within a few hours but best after a day. They keep for weeks in the fridge.
I have given these rough guides to amounts as really there is no exact science; experiment as you like, and if you are unused to pickling, as this recipe is for quick fridge pickles you really don't have to worry, that is the beauty (though as mentioned for long-term 'real' pickling you do need to be more careful and follow a stricter process of sealing). Be confident and enjoy the process! Also when ingredients vary, such as the type of vinegar used (I use raw cider vinegar, which is prebiotic, but non-raw is stronger in flavour, a dash of coconut vinegar would add sweetness) then adjustments need to be made to taste. Some like a powerful vinegar, others a more delicate flavour, some sweeter, some more sour. But with such a simple process you can't go wrong.
You can reuse the 'pink vinegar' for the next batch, it's wonderfully healthy and good to go!
I have been listening to… Pavement ‘Range Life’
I have been reading… Carrot Munchers | Khaki Specs