F is for Feta, Fish and Fennel

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is made from goats milk and originates from Greece. It is more crumbly in nature than a Fetatraditional British cheese, and has a distinct, slightly salty taste. It is one of the main ingredients in Greek salad. If you have not tried it before, chop cucumber and tomatoes into chunks, add crumbled cubes of feta and dress with some olive oil. Serve with a piece of crusty bread.

While feta is best known as a salad ingredient, it also makes a great addition to savoury dishes. It does not melt like mozarella or cheddar, but adds great flavour and texture. Try this ‘Greek Chicken One Pot‘.

Fish

Fish is a valuable source of high quality protein in our diet. A 100 g portion of both white and oily fish gives us 23 g of protein, roughly half our recommended daily amount. Fish is also an excellent source of Omega 3, this helps to keep our hearts and brains healthy as well as helping to regulate cholesterol levels. Eating two portions of fish a week will give you the Omega 3 you need, and the best sources are any of the following, salmon, kippers, whitebait, sardines, tuna or trout.

Fish comes in three main categories. White fish, such as cod and haddock. Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, and shellfish including prawns and scallops. White fish contains very little fat, roughly less than 1%. Oily fish contains quite a bit more at 10-25%, however due to it’s high fat content it also contains a range of fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Both of these are vital for the healthy functioning of the body. Look at it as ‘good’ fat. My recipe for ‘Salmon and Sweetcorn Pie‘ is an easy way to get everyone eating oily fish.

Fennel

Fennel is a bit of a Marmite food, love it or hate it due to it’s fairly strong aniseed flavour. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, and is a highly aromatic plant with a swollen bulb at the base of the stem. It is widely used in Italian cookery and goes well with fish and meat. Eaten raw, it is crisp with an aniseed flavour. When cooked the aniseed flavour is milder.

Fennel the vegetable and fennel seeds are not from the same plant. Fennel the vegetable is called Florence fennel, whereas fennel seeds come from the fennel herb. The delicate leaves of the fennel herb are used in salads and as a herb. The seeds of the herb fennel are used as a spice, and can be used in a variety of ways such as tea, sausages, salads, risotto, bread, cakes and as also as an after meal digestive and breath freshener. The seeds are also used in Chinese five spice powder. India, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East all widely use fennel seeds in their cuisine.

 

Fun Facts

Feta
  • for a cheese to be called it has to have been made in Greece. It has a legal designation similar to Champagne.
  • Greek law states that feta has to be cured in brine for at least 3 months during its production
  • the average Greek consumes about 26.5 lbs of feta every year
Fish
  •  the catfish has 27,000 taste buds, as humans we only have 7,000.
  • the largest fish is the Great Whale Shark which grows up to 50 feet, and the smallest fish is the Philippine Gobi which is only about the size of your pinky fingernail
  • the vast majority of fish cannot swim backwards, he only fish that can are mainly from the eel family.
Fennel
  • eating fennel while  breastfeeding increases your milk supply, and makes the milk taste sweeter.