Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Pass the Parcel!

Carciofini, Finocchi & Fagioli di Soia al Cartoccio con Pepe "Szechuan", Zenzero & Limone
Foil-Baked Baby Artichokes, Fennel & Edamame with Szechuan Pepper, Ginger & Lemon

Another easy meal that basically takes care of itself, whilst you take care of a drink or simply take a rest from a hard days work... And one that is sophisticated and delicious at that!

And again, using only a few simple ingredients and being healthy and light, this is a perfect dish for any occasion- simple enough to make for yourselves, but "special" enough to serve to guests as well!

I love the classic combination of artichokes with mint and peas, the slight bitterness combined with the sweetness and the freshness is really wonderful!

But you know me- I love to try out something new! I had similar flavors going on here, but different ingredients and textures... And I had a lot of fun preparing them and putting this great little parcel of fun together... I think you will too!

My ingredients were, 3 baby artichokes, 2 handfuls of frozen edamame, 1 small bulb of fennel, 1 lemon, 2 Spring onions, a little fresh ginger, some Szechuan pepper corns, salt, olive oil and a little honey.

I served these up on some simple couscous, flavored with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and a touch of smoked paprika, but you could also serve it just as well with plain couscous, rice or boiled potatoes.

It takes so little to make something so good sometimes... Let me show you just how easy this was! You have maybe 10 minutes of prep work and the rest is taken care of by the oven and around 40 minutes of patience! Haha!


Trim the artichokes, cutting away the tough, tops of the leaves, cutting them into quarters and removing the choke (if any is there at all) and then boil for 10 minutes in salted water.

In the meantime, cut the fennel into slices, cut 3-4 slices of ginger, cut 3-4 slices from the lemon and cut the onions into bite sized chunks. Set these out, sprinkling with salt as you go along, in top of the edamame. Don't work if they are still frozen... The steam that will be produced in the oven, when they are tightly wrapped up with the other ingredients, will help to cook everything through a little better... It's all good!


Add the artichokes after they have boiled for 10 minutes or so, sprinkle everything generously with Szechuan pepper corns, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and add a little lemon zest for an extra bit of "zing!"


Cover and tightly seal all around, then bake in a hot oven on the middle shelf, at 200 C, for 30-40 minutes.

After 40 minutes or so, everything will be tender and juicy and full of flavor... Time to cut open the parcel and give everything a light drizzle of honey, before popping it back into the oven, for 2-3 minutes under the broiler, to give it a nice glaze and some good color.


Serve up the fennel, onion and artichokes on top of your couscous and then pop out the edamame from the shells, straight on top... They will be juicy and sweet and delicious! Add a few tufts of fennel greens, a pinch of ground Szechuan pepper and a good squeeze of lemon... And enjoy!


It's simple, it's fresh, it's light and it's delicious! No need for lots of fussing or difficult preparations, no expensive and exclusive ingredients... Just good, healthy eating!

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