Many years ago, my mum used to work in a local solicitor’s firm –  and let me tell you right now – forget every glamorous tv legal drama you’ve ever seen.  Sadly, this old chestnut, unfunny though it is, was far more the reality:

Each and every one of them was bonkers.  Nicely bonkers, even sweetly bonkers.  But bonkers all the same.

Downstairs was the domain of a married couple, both lawyers.  They had a super cute boxer dog called Brigeeta who they used to bring to work with them every day.  Nothing nuts about that.  I wish I could take my dogs to work everyday.

Fennel and Lemon Salad 1
Fennel and Lemon Salad 1

What was kooky was that Brigeeta used to have a different outfit every day.  And I mean EVERY DAY.  My mum worked with them for maybe five years.  The dog never wore the same clothes twice. 

And you know, I’m not averse to dogs wearing clothes…Oscar has a pair of pyjamas he wears in winter…

Oscar in his PJ's
Oscar in his PJ’s

But there is a a difference between ONE pair of totally necessary pyjamas and 1500 separate outfits!!!    

Remember that old song “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you?”  Well that could have been written about….well, let’s just call him Mr Magoo…(remember, these people are lawyers, they are familiar with litigation). Mr Magoo was badly in need of glasses but thought that getting them would spoil his handsome boy modelling school good looks.  Which incidentally were fairly spare on the ground.  Glasses were not the issue. 

One morning the lady downstairs cornered him and started showing him photos of the party they had gone to the day before, many of which featured Brigeeta in her latest couture which was a Little Red Riding Hood outfit.  

Later he asked Mum if she’d seen the photos.  She said she had.

He said “Did you see that kid in the red?  Man, that was the ugliest child I’ve ever seen”

Fennel and Lemon Salad 2
Fennel and Lemon Salad 2

Captain of this particular Titanic was a lovely, elderly Italian solicitor.  Now he wasn’t crazy as such he  just sometimes had a bit of trouble with English.  So, for instance, once Mum asked him what he did on the weekend and he replied “We went hunting the savage fennels”.

Have you ever heard anything more adorable in your life?

I LOVE that…

“Hunting the Savage Fennels” sounds like a Maurice Sendak book.  Maybe the lesser known prequel to “Where the Wild Things Are”.

The Savage Fennels
The Savage Fennels

The savage fennels grow in abundance in this neck o’ the woods; they spring up on every  vacant lot and the hills are literally alive with them!

The Savage Fennels
The Savage Fennels

This salad I have adapted from “Salads For All Seasons” is a perfect simple and gorgeous way to feature the savage fennels.  Or the more mild mannered fennel you might find in your local supermarket or green grocer.  I kept mine pretty minimalist but some black olives would be a great addition. 

Fennel and Lemon Salad
Fennel and Lemon Salad

I was a little worried about mixing cream and lemon juice in the dressing…because surely that would curdle?  It didn’t.  

Final tip on the salad – fennel is quite robust so it is perfectly fine to dress the salad and leave it for hours.  I added the dressing in the morning and took this to work and it was still crunchy four or five hours later.

This is a perfect accompaniment to fish but would also be fabulous with a grilled steak!


Fennel and Lemon Salad

Fennel and Lemon Salad


  • 1 head of fennel
  • 1 thin skinned lemon
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional
  • Add some chopped black olives


  • Slice the fennel as thinly as possible. Use a mandoline if you have one.
  • Peel the lemon using a potato peeler or a sharp knife.
  • Remove all the pith and separate into segments.
  • Dice the lemon and mix with the parsley, lemon and chilli.
  • For the Dressing
  • Combine all the dressing ingredients.
  • Shake well.
  • Mix with fennel and serve.

 Have a fabulous week!  And beware the savage fennels!

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