Fruity Fennel Salad

A couple of things happened this week that upped my motivation to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in my diet.

On Sunday, I spent most of the day at Toronto’s Luxury Chocolate Show (see related blog post here), sampling delicacies that should be consumed only in moderation. Among them was a hand crafted artisan chocolate bonbon with fennel seed filling from Succulent Chocolates and Sweets, an award-winning chocolatier. A few days later, I had a naturopath appointment, which keeps me on track when it comes to following a healthy lifestyle.

So, when I saw fennel at the grocery store a few days ago, it had instant appeal. I’m still kind of new to fennel – I never bought it until recently, even though I’d had my eye on the Orange and Fennel Salad in Anne Lindsay’s Lighthearted Everyday Cooking for years. It’s a great recipe, and I’ve made it several times.

But this week, I decided to play with the recipe, adding more fruit – blackberries and wintry pomegranate seeds – and eliminating the green onions from Lindsay’s recipe. I also made a simpler vinaigrette.

Fennel is not a vegetable I ate growing up, and it was helpful to me to watch this video on YouTube to learn how to cut it. I love fennel’s crispness and fresh licorice taste. A fennel salad is a treat for me! You can read about its anti-oxidant and other health benefits on holistic health guru Dr. Andrew Weil’s website.

Fruity Fennel Salad (inspired by Anne Lindsay’s Orange and Fennel Salad, as well as by the Fennel, Blackberries & Orange Salad on the Hungry Goddess blog)

1 bulb fennel, chopped

1 seedless orange

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/2 container of blackberries

2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. lemon juice

drizzle of honey

pinch of sea salt

1. Cut thick slices of fennel, then cut longer slices into chunks.

2. Use serrated knife to slice top and bottom off orange, and to remove skin from the orange. Remove sections from membrane with a knife, and cut each section in two or three pieces. (Or just slice, if you prefer.)

3. Use paper towel to pat orange pieces dry before adding to fennel, or just drain, and reserve juice for dressing instead of lemon juice.

4. Add pomegranate seeds, dried cherries, pumpkin seeds, and blackberries.

5. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and honey.

6. Add to salad and mix gently, to avoid crushing the blackberries.



Chocolate Sunday in Toronto, Part 2

I returned home from Toronto’s third annual Luxury Chocolate Show, the culmination of the city’s eighth chocolate festival, with a couple of little treasures and a lot of literature.

Among the “treasures” were three hand crafted artisan chocolate bonbons from Succulent Chocolates – with fennel seed, pistachio cinnamon, and vanilla bean fillings – and pumpkin chai truffles (pumpkin and chai tea ganache in hand-painted milk chocolate) by Toronto chocolatier Laura Slack. Decadent.

And delicious! I know because I sampled two of the four flavours at the show. But I’m saving the ones I brought home for another day – I think I hit my saturation point this afternoon.

It was fun to sample chocolate paired with wine, to see whimsical creations like the chocolate shoes chocolate shoesat left from Montreal-based chocoStyle, and to discover fancy chocolates like the ones pictured at right from the Newfoundland Chocolate Company. newfoundland chocs

I spent several hours at the show with two friends, and we had a great time. But we missed out on hand or neck massages with cocoa products, and also on most of the demonstrations.

We’ll have to go back next year.