Ingredients (serves 4)

2 fennel
2 purple sweet potato, peeled, sliced + 1 tbsp coconut oil
2 orange, peeled, sliced
20 g butter or ghee
a few tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt, to taste

The green and seeds of fennel can both be used to flavor foods and they have many beneficial effects to top. In India, it is customary to chew sweetened fennel seeds after meals to aid digestion and freshen the breath. Fennel's aniseed-flavoured, crunchy bulbs and fresh green leaves, which look a little like dill, and its seeds rich in aromatic oils are both highly nutritious. Its bulb and leaves contain quercetin and vitamin C, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and other studies have looked at its effects on heart health. The seeds are good in soups, stews and meat dishes, and the bulbs can be used either raw in salads or steamed as a side dish. It contains a number of other vitamins and trace elements, such as vitamin K1, manganese, zinc and magnesium.

Cut off the greenish (upper) part of the fennel leaves and set aside, while the lighter round part is cut in half lengthwise. Slice one half into thick slices, cut the stem from the other half and slice thinly. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the thick fennel slices, add salt and cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Then turn and fry the other half for 3-4 minutes. You are aiming for a golden brown hue. Pinch off the fine dill-like leaves from the top and finely chop them. In a bowl, mix the sliced (raw) fennel, finely chopped leaves, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Place the purple sweet potatoes in a heatproof dish, drizzle with a little oil and roast in a 180°C oven for 30 minutes or simmer in a covered pan with a few drops of water. Cut the peel off the oranges all around and slice them. Serve the fresh fennel salad garnished with the roasted fennel, the roasted sweet potatoes and the orange slices.

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