Just about everyone, including my neighbour’s cat, knows that I love Masterchef. I don’t care that it’s overhyped and that real chefs don’t watch it (I don’t even come close to qualifying as a real chef anyway, so there!). Now that Junior Masterchef Australia has begun, I’m back to planting myself in front of the telly in the evenings again. And I’ll tell you honestly, I can’t do half of the things these kids do, or maybe even three-quarters. They’re amazing and I wish they’d be my kitchen elves (and do the washing up too, please!).
One thing that my family and I noticed during the last season of Masterchef was how the contestants loved making apple and fennel salad. I didn’t even know what fennel was till I started watching the show! Out of curiosity, I decided to have a go at it myself. As soon as I cut away the green leafy part, it hit me.
Oh no, it’s the nasty smell of liquorice!
I apologise if any of you think that liquorice (and fennel) smell like eau de heaven, but it makes me feel a little queasy. The only time I eat liquorice is the fruit-flavoured candy that doesn’t taste anything like the original, and that’s possibly due to copious amounts of sugar and artificial flavouring. I have flashbacks of shots of Sambuca Black that are bearable simply because they’re just 30 ml. Suddenly, eating a whole salad of fennel didn’t seem like a very good idea. So I thought of roasting the whole lot since I would already be using the oven for my roast lamb! A warm salad. Out of curiosity though, I put a small piece in my mouth.
Lesson of the day: if it smells like liquorice, it will taste like liquorice.
Honestly, it wasn’t too bad, even for someone who’s not hyped on liquorice. The roasting and lemon juice might’ve helped to tone down the strong aroma, and I paired it with red apples, so there was a sweet component to it. If I ever get over how I feel about liquorice, I wouldn’t mind having it again. As to whether or not I’d recommend it, I guess it depends on whether or not you like fennel/liquorice. This will go well with most protein, and you can even add in some shredded or diced chicken for a light lunch.
By the way, mango flavoured liquorice is excellent. The end!
Roasted Apple and Fennel Salad
- 1 fennel bulb, washed well and thickly sliced
- 2 red apples, cut into wedges (about 16 per apple)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- to serve: a handful of toasted almond flakes
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Toss all the ingredients on a tray (except the almond flakes) and roast for about 20 minutes, turning them at the halfway point.
- Top with almond flakes and serve immediately.