Today’s recipe is a clementine and fennel salad with a citrussy dill dressing, a light, sweet side salad with the zesty overtones of clementine and the uniquely aromatic flavour of dill, which pairs beautifully with citrus flavours. Anise-scented fennel is the perfect vegetable to base this salad upon, bumping it up to a full sized, slaw-esque side salad.
Milestones in Blogging.
This is post number one hundred and ninety six in the history of le petit oeuf, meaning that the big two-hundred is fast approaching, a massively significant milestone in my blogging life. Those 196 posts comprise approximately 200,000 words and around 1,000 images. If that’s not enough words, I write another thousand every morning of every day, as part of my morning pages ritual. This practice is fast approaching it’s first anniversary on the 9th May, meaning I will have written nearly 365,000 painful, joyous, stubborn, gushing, loving and hateful words at 6am over the twelve months.
It Doesn’t Matter What You Think.
Recently, I wrote about Jean-Paul Sartre’s idea that our lives will be defined, and ultimately judged, by our actions, regardless of any inner goodness, thoughts or intentions. It’s the things we actually do which we are judged by, the choices we make that define us as people, no matter what our heart might say, or any concept of ‘true self’. I can change my life drastically, every single day, if I choose to. It’s a ridiculously scary prospect, because I feel that I have many ideas to follow, so much to offer, but do I offer it? Do I act on those feelings and give myself to everything I can? No, I don’t. Conversely, If I did act on everything, I would be received more positively in the world, because I would be enacting more of who I am, which gives rise to the actions that are seen by other people, which is ultimately how I am judged.
My brain has merged this idea with a recent article about the teachings of Confucius, which extolled the benefits of constantly changing, moving and exploring different interactions in the world, rather than living a of rote. ‘True self’ does not exist according to his teachings, we cannot find that mythical state because we are simply a messy collection of thoughts and ideas, therefore ”disrupting the patterns that comprise your daily life” is where I need to look. This feels like it has a similar moral to Sartre, saying that action, rather than inaction, is a more productive place for personal growth.
How to be a Better Food Writer and Food Photographer.
My ultimate objective is to write words and take photographs of food, so I must perpetuate, rather than disrupt, the routine of writing and photographing. But wishing those words and photographs are cavernous opportunities to explore and disrupt the daily patterns of my life. I can say different things, experiment with new techniques and avoid writing the same, trite words about food, or taking carbon-copy formulaic photographs. As Sartre stated, it’s our actions which are important, not our thoughts, which reaffirms the idea that active disruption in our daily lives is far more important than finding a pattern of routine.
This backs up the phrase I heard many years ago relating to business “ideas are worthless, it’s the execution which matters”. Everyone has ideas, you’ll always find a bore down the pub who has a million and one amazing ideas which they reckon could make millions, yet this person progresses them no further than buying another pint. Yet, somebody who believes in taking action could use one of those ideas and make a career out of it, simply through action and execution.
Which is where I am with my food photography. I always try to explore new ideas, because I have a strong desire to progress my abilities, style and output to ever higher standards. The only way I can do that is to make each shoot different, to attempt a different technique, style or angle each time. By using different and new props or paying even more attention to the styling of the food, I am pursuing actions by which you, my dear reader, will judge me. Not only that, but I also judge myself, so when I take positive actions, it makes me a more positive person – all of these small attempts to act differently have a huge impact on my life.
Summer Fennel Salad.
The recipe I’ve created for you today is a clementine and fennel salad with a dill dressing. I had a vision of a light, sweet side salad with the zesty overtones of clementine and the uniquely aromatic flavour of dill, a herb which I love dearly, almost as much as basil. Dill pairs beautifully with citrus flavours, hence the clementine, and anise-scented fennel is the perfect vegetable to base this salad upon, bumping it up to a full sized, slaw-esque side salad. I have visions of dark rye bread, gravadlax and a plateful of this salad creating a meal that balances flavours and textures to spectacular levels of contentment. That leaves me only one course of action – which is to take action – and make that beauteous vision of a meal into a reality.
Clementine and Fennel Salad with a Zesty Dill Dressing
By Gavin Wren
Serves 4 as a side
Uses a knife, chopping board, bowl and a cup
1 bulb fennel, halved then sliced
2 clementines zested, then peeled and each segment sliced into 3
1 shallot, finely chopped
8 sprigs of dill, fronds removed and chopped
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons cold pressed rapeseed oil
0.5 teaspoon dijon mustard
A good grind of salt and pepper
In a cup, mix together the rest of the ingredients until combined into a dressing, then drizzle over the salad and lightly toss. Serve, consume and enjoy!