© 2013 Green Kitchen Stories Braised_fennel_01

Braised Fennel with Saffron & Tomato

This last week has bean surreal. In a very good and absolutely mind-blowing way. We have been in London meeting lovely blog readers, signing books and doing more than a few magazine interviews. We had coffee on Columbia Road, Indian food at Broadway Market and Elsa danced her feet off to an Italian street band performance. We finally got to eat at Ottolenghi, it was just as perfect as we expected. We also tried The Gate, and it was almost as good. Food for thought was precisely as cozy and delicious as we’ve been told. We found our book in a real, old fashioned bookshop and actually felt like authors for a while. And when we thought our week couldn’t get better, we received an email telling us that Green Kitchen Stories is a finalist for Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog Awards, in the Special Diet category. We are accompanied by some of the most creative and talented bloggers that we know, so it is all pretty insane and unbelievable.

If you would like to cast your vote on us we would be MADLY grateful. Click here to vote! You need to sign in or register first, but it only takes 30 sec (and they promise not to spam you). Polls closes Friday, April 19. Thank you so much for your support!


And now on to the food. We have had Vegetable Literacy on the top of our book pile for a while. But just before we left, we finally got around to trying a recipe from it. Our eyes immediately fell on this braised fennel that is cooked in a tomato sauce and flavored with fennel seeds and saffron. It is one of those recipes that makes total sense, all the flavors are perfect together, it tastes sweet, warm and comforting. A truly wonderful dinner. Our only regret is that we didn’t come up with this recipe ourselves. Since we are a hungry family we also braised zucchini and added to the pan, and used ghee instead of olive oil for extra yum. The zucchini worked perfectly together with the fennel. We served it with brown rice, but quinoa would be great too.

Vegetable Literacy, by Deborah Madison, is a wonderful and beautiful book. It is all about putting the vegetables in focus and reminds us slightly of Tender, by Nigel Slater, another of our favorite books.



Braised Fennel Wedges with Saffron & Tomato
Slightly adapted from ‘Vegetable Literacy‘ by Deborah Madison

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 1/4 cups water

1 large fennel bulb
a large knob of ghee or olive oil
1 zucchini
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp (0,5 g) ground saffron
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 handful fennel greens or flat-leaf parsley

Rinse the rice thoroughly, drain and place in a medium sauce-pan together with the water. Bring to a simmer, cover and lower the heat and cook for 40 minutes. Drain any excess water. Ready to serve.

Trim off the stalks and greens from the fennel bulb. (Minces the greens for a garnish, if there are none, you can use parsley.) Halve the bulb lengthwise and cut the halves into wedges about 1, 5 inches/4 cm at the widest part. Halve and divide the zucchini and cut into wedges.

Heat the ghee in a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and fennel seeds, saffron and thyme and cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. Add the fennel- and zucchini wedges and cook them until golden, turning them and the onions occasionally. Once they are well colored, add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste, and then add the water and salt & pepper. Scrape the pan to release the juices, then cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve with brown rice and fennel greens.


PS. Here are a few links to some book related media clips and interviews from last week.
• An interview with Four Magazine.
• A Q&A with The Lifestyle Editor.
• Our book was “Cookbook of the week” in The Telegraph.
• Talked on the phone with The Lady.

Saveur Best Food Blog

Thank you for voting!


  1. Laura
    Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 09:41 | #

    Aah you found my favourite bookshop! Many an hour I have spent browsing books for cooks.
    Well done for all your hard work. I’m enjoying the book so much, my only worry is that there is so much in this book, how could you possibly make another?!

  2. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 10:19 | #

    Happy to hear you’ve had such an amazing week! My copy of the Green Kitchen cookbook finally arrived last week and of course I love it. This recipe looks good too – I never really know what to do with fennel, so this gives me somethings to try.

  3. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 10:38 | #

    Duuuuhh. Voted loooong ago;)


  4. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 11:02 | #

    Hi, thank’s for the recipe, IT LOOKS DELICIOUS!. Fennel is all over farmers market at the moment. I was wondering where I could get your book here ins SPAIN, maybe just order it through the uk? Thanks again for sharing!

  5. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 11:24 | #

    Sounds like the perfect weekend! :) The pics are Beautiful. Many hugs from Amsterdam!

  6. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 11:27 | #

    My vote is all yours…why not, you already have my tastebuds, my heart, my imagination and inspiration! The biggest congratulations to you and what a deliciously amazing week!

  7. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 13:10 | #

    Congratulations, you really deserve it, your blog is amazing! :)
    And this fennel looks so yummy, can’t wait to try it!

  8. Tunde Gombos
    Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 13:35 | #

    Hi, you just posted this recipe right on time for me. I’ve never cooked fennel before and I had no idea where to start. This recipe looks just perfect for the fennel bulbs I’ve bought the other day. Thank you for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

  9. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 14:30 | #

    You visited lots of my favourite places :) It sounds like a fun, but exhausting week I’m sure. How exciting to be the Telegraph’s book of the week too!

    Look forward to trying this recipe- fennel, saffron and tomatoes sounds beautiful.

  10. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 14:42 | #

    That Deborah Madison is a genius, isn’t she? So simple. This lovely dish was also my first from Vegetable Literacy — and I just love the idea of adding zucchini. Thanks!
    Best of luck with the Saveur contest — you have my vote 100%!
    -Emily K.

  11. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 15:05 | #

    Yum! This looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it out.

    Congratulations!! You’ve got my vote.

  12. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 15:19 | #

    Such a gorgeous side! This sounds awesome!

  13. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 15:22 | #

    I bought this book for my Mum’s birthday and painstakingly copied out a few recipes before wrapping it and this was one of them! Now I have the beautiful photos to prove that I MUST make it very very soon :-)

  14. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 16:21 | #

    Sounds like a perfect week with lots of fun and eating of course! You deserve all the goodness life has to offer your way because you truly have worked hard pouring in your heart and soul in making the book and sharing weekly in your lovely foodblog.
    The dish looks amazing, just added to my ever growing list.

    PS: I’ll be teaching kids and moms to make your Saffron Buns this Saturday, I am so excited!!

  15. Iina
    Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 17:07 | #

    Hey, first of all i have to say that i absolutely love your blog, and the whole vibe that it has! You guys have so many inspirational, tasty and beautiful recipes, it’s crazy! I wanna ask you about nutrition, since i became a vegetarian about a month ago and i’m trying to improve my eating habits and learn how to eat well so i get all the vitamins, fiber ect things that my body really needs. So would it be possible for you guys to make a post about different ways to nourish your body with seeds, nuts, veggies ect and tell us about their affection. I have to say that you have really helped me and been such a huge inspiration on my way of becoming a vegetarian and eating healthier. I love that your blog is filled with so many lovely recipes and tips ! So thank you very much :)

  16. annabel
    Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 17:58 | #

    I tried to vote for you but the site was impossible! It just refused to recognise me…
    Sorry about that. but thanks all the same for your lovely cooking

  17. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 19:03 | #

    Luise, your recipes are always remarkable even if they are not totally your idea! Love the pictures as always and happy to hear that you enjoyed!

  18. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 19:58 | #

    You have deserved it all! Your blog is such an inspiration.

  19. Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 22:05 | #

    Voted! great job, you guys!

  20. Paul Felming
    Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 23:01 | #

    Just discovered you guys! Had your book as a belated birthday gift today and so am really inspired by the recipes! Thanks!

  21. Paul Fleming
    Posted 16 Apr ’13 at 23:02 | #

    P.S. love the blog too!

  22. Posted 17 Apr ’13 at 00:24 | #

    So happy you enjoyed your time in London, visiting some of my favourite haunts in the wonderful city I spent so much of my life in. Your triumphs are well-deserved because your food, writing and photography are inspirational. Pats on the back all round.

  23. Bell
    Posted 17 Apr ’13 at 00:47 | #


  24. SJH
    Posted 17 Apr ’13 at 11:11 | #

    Superb news on your finalist status and so well-deserved!

    I made your banana bread on Monday and it turned out well – incredibly moist. I have two questions:
    1 – there is no mention of the olive oil in the method (or perhaps I’m missing it…) I assume you add it to the wet ingredients?
    2 – It’s not particularly sweet. I made the apple sauce from scratch with the sweetest blush apples and a drizzle of water. Perhaps the brown bananas I used need to be blacker than black?!

    Thank you for your weekly nuggets of inspiration. The world is a better place with your blog in it!

  25. Gunhild
    Posted 17 Apr ’13 at 13:54 | #

    Just made this for lunch today and it was just so perfect! I made it with quinoa instead of rice and my husband who initially was a bit skeptical just loved it and we have already planned having a second go at it, this time in the slow cooker, which just simply must be a hit. Imagine: Everything will be quickly sautéed, to give it the golden taste and then it goes in the slow cooker/römertopf in the oven for however long needed and it will come out perfect and tender… Whaddayathink?
    I’ll keep you posted…

  26. Beeby K
    Posted 17 Apr ’13 at 14:06 | #

    Congrats! My vote is cast! :)

  27. Posted 17 Apr ’13 at 16:54 | #

    What a wonderful recipe and beautiful photos, as always!

  28. Posted 18 Apr ’13 at 04:54 | #

    Totally gorgeous! I am a huge fennel fan and this looks delicious. Also – congrats!

  29. Veronique Engels
    Posted 18 Apr ’13 at 09:12 | #

    as we say in France “a voté”

  30. Posted 18 Apr ’13 at 11:52 | #

    What a beautiful way to do fennel. I often have fennel in my veg box delivery and I usually run out of ideas fast and end up throwing it in a soup. Won’t have to do that any more now, thank you!

  31. Posted 18 Apr ’13 at 21:07 | #

    Inspired to write for the first time as loved the braised fennel – absolutely fantastic and will make it again and again. Next time you are in England suggest going to Brighton to Food for Friends and Terre a Terre. Both have great cookbooks too. Loving your website and looking at getting the book if I can fool husband that not buying yet another cookbook!

  32. Romy
    Posted 19 Apr ’13 at 11:36 | #

    Awesome and Easy Food! Thats what i love about ur blog!
    Just had this yesterday, sooo yummy tasty and healthy!

  33. Helen in the UK
    Posted 19 Apr ’13 at 12:38 | #

    We had this for dinner last evening using our lovely fresh organic fennel and courgettes from our Veg Box delivery. It is a beautiful and tasty way to use fennel, I used Ghee which I only really use when cooking Indian food – great ideas as it did add a nice richness. Using tomato puree makes the dish come together quickly so you still have the freshness of the veggies but the depth of flavour from the tomato – delish! Oooh, I also added a little white wine (whilst drinking some of it too!) in place of some of the water.

    I also wanted to say we are loving your book too, it arrived just after publication and I’ve got lots of pages marked to try out.

    Next time your are in London there is an amazing restaurant (they have 2 places) called Saf (vegan) they make really beautiful food, interesting, gorgeous to look at and great to eat. http://www.safrestaurant.com/

    Thanks a million. Good luck in the Blog Awards too.

    • Posted 29 Apr ’13 at 00:16 | #

      Hi Helen, we will definitely check out Saf next time, it sounds wonderful!

  34. Posted 20 Apr ’13 at 00:26 | #

    What a lovely salad. Perfect for this time of year. And congrats!!!

  35. Posted 20 Apr ’13 at 12:53 | #

    This looks sooo scrummy. I will attempt it this weekend. And many congrats on the nomination :)

  36. Posted 22 Apr ’13 at 00:39 | #

    A beautiful meal, I love fennel, and the hole thing reminds me of a a good italian dinner ;).. last year I made a fennel soup with olive gremolata (with amazing “olive taggiasche”) and since then, I just adore this kind of vegetable..

  37. baker_d
    Posted 22 Apr ’13 at 12:52 | #

    I made a variation of this on Saturday evening to accompany some linguine with peas and ramps and it was so great! Thanks for a great post and terrific recipe. I think next time we’ll give it a go as you suggest- over a whole grain. Best to you!

  38. Bell
    Posted 25 Apr ’13 at 02:43 | #

    soooooo yummy!!! i just made this and i was scrumptious!!! i put some almonds on top because i do so on everything and it added a nice crunch!!

  39. ali
    Posted 28 Apr ’13 at 19:33 | #

    I bought fennel today and immediately thought of your recipe. Fennel is usually destined for my juicer, but not today! This dish turned out so wonderful, I really enjoy all the subtle, interesting flavors. Thank you!

  40. Posted 1 May ’13 at 11:54 | #

    I just received Vegetable Literacy from Amazon a few weeks ago, and I can’t wait to try this recipe. It looks absolutely divine! What kind of onion did you use for this? I am curious to know.

  41. julia
    Posted 4 May ’13 at 02:36 | #

    yum! i just made this. substituted roma tomatoes for the zucchini. really really lovely dish.

  42. Posted 7 May ’13 at 00:19 | #

    Congratulations and well deserved!!! Beautiful food can always be found here.

  43. Posted 13 May ’13 at 09:18 | #

    Simply yum. I definitely gonna try this and put a version of mine in my blog. And surely will link to your post mentioning my inspiration! Keep up the good work!

  44. Inés
    Posted 15 May ’13 at 20:54 | #

    I made this for my Mum and myself today and it was absolutely fantastic! Actually we made a bit too much, but we ate it all up bit after bit, as it was just so very delicious!
    Just as good as it looked in the pictures and even better maybe ;-)
    I hope I’ll discover many more amazing recipes around here =) Thank you!

  45. Posted 20 May ’13 at 00:23 | #

    Your dish looks incredible I can’t wait to try it! I love the book Vegetable Literacy! It’s an encyclopedia of wealth it’s now my veggie bible. Tonight I am making her cauliflower curry coconut tumeric lime soup – it’s still a little chilly here today so totally appropriate.
    Congrats on being a winner!

  46. Posted 23 May ’13 at 13:13 | #

    Oh yum.. Just ordered the book today – we’re trying to start a family and I thought, what better foundation for a healthy start than this beautiful, earthy, wonderfully healthy book of bursting goodness..

  47. Posted 9 Jun ’13 at 04:33 | #

    Looking at your photos mouth is watering… and I know my kids’ will too once it’s on their plates.

  48. Posted 13 Jun ’13 at 12:20 | #

    An amazing dish with beautiful ingredients! Congratulations! We will definitely try this! Also, if you like saffron, try the Greek Red Saffron (Krokos Kozanis) if you can find some. It’s expensive, but you need less as it is stronger in taste/flavour. And higher in antioxidants.
    Thank you for sharing!

  49. Posted 3 Jul ’13 at 10:03 | #

    thank you very much for recipe! Delicious .

  50. Kelly
    Posted 22 Oct ’13 at 08:43 | #

    Hi there from New Zealand!

    I’ve been following your blog for a while – thank you for posting amazing recipes! Great incentive to lead an inspired, healthy life.

    I just made this for my husband and I for supper – so good! We went for some wholemeal couscous with pine nuts + sultanas instead of the brown rice.

    Thank you again for the recipes – keep them coming!

  51. Michelle
    Posted 15 Nov ’13 at 20:10 | #

    Is this the amount for 2 servings or more?

  52. Posted 21 Nov ’13 at 01:36 | #

    I made this last year when I used to work at a yoga retreat centre. It was a smash hit! Just delicious.

  53. Caitlin
    Posted 9 Jun ’14 at 20:38 | #

    This is a great recipe! The dish is full of flavor. Super delicious. I used an organic Moroccan saffron I purchased from Amazon, which enhanced the flavor of the dish. If you are interested, you can check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JX1QZRO.

    Thanks! Keep these great recipes coming!

  54. Eileen
    Posted 6 Jan ’15 at 04:08 | #

    I just made this for dinner and it was like nothing I had ever made before. Thank you!! I served it with a simple risotto made with just rice + vegetable broth and I was in heaven.

  55. Michal
    Posted 8 Feb ’15 at 21:39 | #

    Hi guys,
    I just made this for dinner and it went down a treat.

    Me and my girlfriend have been enjoying your recipes immensely. We are both meat eaters but there is something rather special about dishes we have cooked so far. They have all been divine. Thanks you.

  56. ola
    Posted 10 Dec ’15 at 00:00 | #

    It was delicious! And equally good eaten cold, on a toast.

  57. Ronja
    Posted 3 Feb ’16 at 18:41 | #

    It tasted great! Thanks for this recipe that made me recognize that I underestimated fennel… :)

  58. Posted 11 Mar ’16 at 14:36 | #

    I love to cook different recipes, and I am thinking to try this recipe tonight dinner.

  59. M
    Posted 6 Sep ’16 at 23:25 | #


    This recipe looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it out. I was just wondering how many people it’s makes enough for?


  60. Martin
    Posted 30 Oct ’16 at 20:09 | #

    I just cooked this recipe and it came out amazing. I ended up using four small bulbs and one and a half small zucchinis (that’s all that would fit in my cast-iron pan) and it ended up feeding three people with a fourth serving as leftovers.

  61. Julia
    Posted 12 Jan ’18 at 21:58 | #

    So delicious! Served it with a wedge of my spicy roasted acorn squash because my husband is allergic to zucchini.

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