Fennel and radish salad on a bed of lettuce makes a scrumptious side dish; that's kale in the foreground.
No-lettuce salads are in vogue and I'm half way sympathetic; fresh crisp greens are so difficult to obtain unless you grow them in your own garden.
We try to make sure that every month we've got a row of mixed tiny lettuce seedlings like this coming up; fresh from the garden they form the basis of every good salad, rich in nutrients.
The Iceberg doesn't count; it's not a green and, though loved by the world, as far as I'm concerned has little virtue; no wonder everyone hates a lettuce salad.
Fennel is one of those mystical herbs that most of us have never seen or tasted, yet it's not difficult to grow; it does need plenty of water, and seeds itself like coriander every Spring.
It's actually related to the carrot family, as you can see from the fronds of yellow flowers and it's crunchy rather like celery, though sweeter. In fact you'll notice if you're a gardener that the flowers look very like dill, parsley and cilantro.
Fennel is rich in many anti cancer and inflammatory flavonoids. Names like quercitin, kaempferol and rutin that you may have heard of, and anethole that probably draws a blank, characterise fennel; google them if you're interested.
My point is simply that to avoid getting cancer it's not enough not to smoke and avoid constipation, and not take hormone replacement therapy; we need to be enjoying these vital phytochemicals on a daily basis, and the only way to do that is to enjoy a widely varied diet; one that might include a fennel and radish salad periodically.
Radish is almost certainly the easiest salad vegetable to grow; it's where I begin with my grandchildren. Pop a row of seeds into the ground, cover them and within a month you'll be munching one of my favourites.
I love the spicy bite that they give to an otherwise bland salad and they too are rich in a heap of different phytochemicals.
Every salad needs a dressing and today, rather than our trusty hummus, I'm going to suggest a creamy yoghurt sauce with dill and of course lemon pulp. I almost never recommend just the juice since more than half the nutrients are lost.
Nevertheless, to give our fennel and radish salad some protein, we are going to throw in a handful of chickpeas; you could use cubes of feta cheese instead.
Every salad worthy of the name must have a very healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil; there you'll find even more anti inflammatory phytochemicals to easy the pain in your angry muscles and joints, not to mention the blood vessels and organs.
So, let's cut the crap and get to our fennel and radish salad.
Fennel and radish salad gives you half the coloured foods you need every day in one dish.
For the dressing you need
Sorry, I have to put in one more word; seven coloured foods every day will reduce your all cause of death by a massive 35 percent; you don't like pain and visits to doctors, I presume, and do want to live to a healthy eighty with all your marbles intact, right?
If you're very lucky to find a fennel bulb at the green grocer, well and good, but it's unlikely, so venture down the garden and dig one from your veggie patch. Pick a good handful of dill and a dozen radishes, and a jalapeno. Add a dozen tender leaves of your favourite lettuce to the basket, and preferably several different kinds.
Romaine and butter lettuce are our favourites. Wash everything thoroughly. In your favourite salad bowl,
Using a stick blender, mix the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon pulp and a little of the zest, a handful of dill and a slosh of spring water; add the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
You could immediately pour the yoghurt dressing over the salads, but I prefer to allow your guests to add their own; it looks very appetising in a small crystal jug.
More photographs will follow.
This is one of our best easy lunch recipes; if you have the fennel on hand. Otherwise think of another dish; could you replace it with celery? Of course.
There are a number of reasons I recommend cooking chickpeas yourself; the cost is one quarter for starters.
But you really do need a pressure cooker, for me one of the most important kitchen appliances; saving you time, saving you money.
With solar pressure cooking the cost is zero, but the time required for cooking chickpeas is one third. Freeze what's left over in cup sized plastic packets.