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Fennel; Florence (foeniculum vulgare dulce)

A vegetable, of Italian origin, that"s grown for its bulbous edible bulb, although it also produces fern-like leaves and seeds.

The seeds are an ingredient of Chinese "Five Spice Powder", used in an excellent salami called finocchiona (a speciality of Tuscany), and can be used in sauces and soups whenever caraway is called for; the stems make an aromatic addition to any barbecue, or can be tied together to add an aniseed flavour to casseroles; while the bulbs (again with a pleasant aniseed flavour) can be treated like celery, but are excellent blanched, then sautéed in olive oil. See 'Fennel, Medicinal uses'

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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