Roasted Red Peppers Stuffed with Fennel

Peppers and Fennel recipe

This week is National Vegetarian Week so I thought I would share some of my favourite veggie dishes with you – starting with these delicious peppers.  They are a little bit retro; in fact the original recipe was from Delia Smith’s Christmas which was first published in 1994.  But retro is good, right?

Over the years I have served these as a starter, for lunch with salad, as a main with some crusty bread and melted brie and as a side dish with meat or fish (ok so that’s NOT vegetarian).

They are sweet, soft, aniseedy (is that a word?) and juicy and everyone who has tried them has loved them. 

The last time I made them was for my friend Lizzi and her husband Julian.  I have known Lizzi for a few years now, we first met through work (not bun scuffle work; my real work, where I get paid!) when Lizzi applied to be an associate at evolution.  She now runs a thriving training business of her own and we still work together occasionally, which is lovely.  Somewhere along the way we moved from being colleagues to being friends and more often than not we can be found with coffee in one hand and cake in the other, talking too much to eat or drink anything.

As is often the way with a friend’s partner, we had met Julian, briefly, at one event or another but this was the first opportunity we had had to really get to know him.  We had a lovely evening chatting about our shared passions for music and books and he introduced us to a very special Cornish red wine – what’s not to love?

I made the peppers as a starter because Lizzi is a yoga practising, 5:2 fasting, healthy eating, vegetarian – whereas I am not – any of the above.  I hope this is a dish that met all our needs – it certainly met mine.


4 Large Red Peppers

2 small Bulbs of Fennel

1 tin Plum Tomatoes (14 oz)

4-5 tbsp Olive Oil

1tsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp Fennel Seeds

Juice of half a Lemon

Salt and Pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4.

Slice each pepper in half lengthways. Cut right through the green stalk and leave it intact if possible (because it looks pretty). Remove all the seeds and trim off any white bits. Place the pepper halves in a shallow roasting tin or casserole dish.

Drain the tomatoes and divide them into eight equal portions, put each portion inside a pepper half.

Trim the fennel and remove any tough, brown bits. Cut into quarters through the root, then cut each quarter in half so that you have 8 pieces from each bulb. Each piece should be held together at the root. Put the slices into a pan, add a pinch of salt and pour over boiling water. Blanche for five minutes then drain, carefully.

Once the fennel is cool enough to handle arrange 2 slices in each pepper half.

Drizzle with olive oil – use a pastry brush to make sure the sides of the peppers are coated with oil. Season with salt and a good grinding of black pepper.

Crush the fennel and coriander seeds lightly and sprinkle over the peppers.

Bake for about an hour until soft and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the lemon juice.

Serve warm with some crusty bread to soak up the juices.

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Lemony Sausage and Fennel Casserole

Lemony Sausage and Fennel Casserole

This recipe is lighter than lots of casseroles but it is still warming and flavourful.  Most sausage casseroles are rich and heavy with tomatoes and beans and, whilst I enjoy those too, this one provides a refreshingly different way of cooking great sausages.

I used pork and leek sausages from my local butcher which worked really well.


6 Good Quality Sausages

2 large Fennel Bulbs

2 Leeks

1 Lemon

1 pint of Vegetable Stock (made from bouillon)

1 tbsp Olive Oi

A handful of freshly chopped parsley


Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/ 350  F / Gas Mark 4
Cut the fennel into quarters through the root (if they are very large cut them into six or even eight pieces).  Trim and wash the leeks and cut into large chunks.  Cut the lemon into six wedges.  Toss all the vegetables in the olive oil and place in a shallow casserole dish. 
Push the sausages in amongst the vegetables and place. the dish into the oven for 30 minutes or until the sausages are browned and the vegetables have begun to caramelise.
Pour the stock over the other ingredients and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
Season with black pepper, sprinkle over the parsley and serve with new potatoes or crusty bread.

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Fennel and Orange Salad

In a quiet moment this week I found myself idly flicking through the pages of one of my favourite food books:  The Flavour Thesaurus is perfect for browsing and often throws up surprising flavour combinations.  I opened it at random on a section called Green & Grassy and found Anise and Orange.  These flavours are best known in a Harvey Wallbanger (vodka, orange juice and Galliano (a liqueur flavoured with, amongst other things, star anise) but I was reminded of a particularly scrummy salad I first ate in a pub in the New Forest.

Juicy orange segments are teamed with fine slices of aniseedy fennel and sharp red onion rings.  I love serving this with grilled fish or barbecued chicken but it makes a perfect light lunch on its own or with the addition of a few walnuts and/or black olives to ring the changes.


Serves 2 as a side dish

2 Oranges

1 Small Bulb Fennel

1 Small Red Onion

1 Lemon (juiced)

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Snip and reserve the green fronds from the top of the fennel, remove the outer layer if it is a bit brown and wrinkly, finely slice the remaining fennel and toss it in the lemon juice to stop it browning.  If you have a mandolin it’s the perfect way to get nice fine slices.  Peel and slice the onion into rings and add to the fennel and lemon juice.

Segment the orange (See here for a “how to” video) over a bowl so that you catch the juice.  Place the fennel, orange segments and onion into a large bowl.

Make your dressing from the olive oil, orange juice and lemon juice.  You want about 3 parts oil to 1 part citrus juice but adjust according to your own taste and how sweet / sharp you want it to be.  Whisk together, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a few snipped fennel fronds.

Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.