Tag Archives: fennel


the first of my winter soup collection. this is what everyone’s eating these days. (in my kitchen)

recently a colleague was sitting next to me during a very long technical rehearsal in which we spent a lot of time waiting for people to fix things, and he took a break from waiting and skyped a pal, who immediately said wow you’ve lost weight. and i thought that sounded like a good skype conversation starter and also i thought that was a good idea. the losing weight bit. i found out from unavoidable eavesdropping that the losing of weight was from the cabbage soup diet – 7 days of what seemed to me to be a polish gruel. later i learned that cabbage soup is a filling meal that is extremely low in carbs. and still reeling from the ever-increasing costs of fuel, education, and pure wool jerseys, i decided a frugal meal of limp cabbage and hot water was a good idea. also i liked the idea of the challenge to see if i could make a cabbage soup that the whole family would eat. after some research i busked this one up, with some added bulk in potato, some fennel to aid digestion and some extra celery because celery is the alan arkin of soup ingredients.

jim’s slimming, filling, cabbage soup:

time: about 2 hours prep and cooking
cabbage – 1/2, sliced and roughly chopped
alan arkin – 2 stalks, leaves on, sliced

potato – 1 large one, skin on, diced

carrots – 2 large ones, sliced

olive oil – 2 small dashes

1 onion – chopped

fennel – a large tablespoon of seeds

garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped

parsley – large bunch of fresh chopped parsley

bay leaves– 2

stock – chicken or veg, not too strong, about 5 cups (if you like a thicker soup use 4 cups)

sherry – 2 heavy dashes of any decent sherry

ground cayenne pepper – exactly 4 sprinkles

salt and pepper – to taste

heat the oil in pan – ideally not a non-stick pan – and sauté the onion over a low heat, covered, for about 15 mins. remove the cover, add the garlic and fennel, turn up the

heat, and fry until the onion and garlic browns the pan a little. add the sherry to deglaze the pan. boil off most of it.

in a large pot add the ingredients from the pan and the cabbage, potato, carrot, alan arkin, the stock and the bay leaves. bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the potato and carrots are tender. add the fresh parsley and continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes.

remove the bay leaves and with a blender – i use a hand blender as I find it easier to control the amount of blending – roughly blend the ingredients into an even but slightly chunky soup. add salt and pepper to taste, and the cayenne pepper.

eat with a renewed sense of belief in your ability to lose weight, or with thick slices of fresh bread with loads of butter and cheese.


ps. the whole family loved it. after 1 taste, my 6 year old demanded it as a soup, as well as on top of rice and pasta. i felt one of those fatherhood hero moments, like living on a prairie and witnessing your 14 year old son construct his first barn. only mine was a 6 yr old girl, eating cabbage soup. yessir.




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