Good Eatin’ – Fennel Pollen and Tiger Nuts

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

As I have mentioned a number of times before: I love that this food list has resulted in people giving me food-based gifts. In today’s post I finally got around to trying two gifts that I received from my husband for Christmas. Both very different items and both very much appreciated.

img_4767Food item: Fennel Pollen

If I had made a Top 10 most wanted list, I would have had fennel pollen on that list for the better part of a year. The idea of using flower pollen as a spice really piqued my interest.

When I first slid open the metal case to the fennel pollen the smell just hit me. The smell of licorice. For pollen of the fennel plant the smell and taste of the raw pollen was far more on the side of anise than of fennel (although the distinctive fennel flavour is still there). I guess it’s the sweetness of the pollen that gives the anise the leg-up in terms of flavour.

Now obviously you use this in cooking, so I figured that I would go for a pasta recipe that I found online.

img_4772

The recipe I went for was for Spaghetti With Fennel Pollen, Orange, Garlic, and Mint. The orange zest was a tad overpowering in the recipe, but I could still get that fresh hint of anise amongst the citrus.

Seeing that I own an ice cream machine I might have a go at making some fennel pollen ice cream. I can only imagine how much my husband would appreciate that.

img_4768Food item: Tiger Nuts

First things first, these are not nuts. They are more closely related to the papyrus plant than they are to almonds or hazelnuts. Still, they can be used as you would almonds as they taste fairly similar. In fact these are better than almonds since they are also rather milky as you bite into them.

The weird thing I had to get used to is that tiger nuts are chewy. Worked this out the hard way when I bit into them hard with my canines and that little bit of give REALLY hurt. I almost didn’t forgive them for that pain, but they’re so nice to chew on.

Another use of tiger nuts, rather than eating them out of hand, is to make them into a drink called horchata. The only reason I’ve heard of this is because of Vampire Weekend, but having sampled the nut I want to try this beverage for myself should I find myself in Spain.

Thanks husband for the good food presents!

Progress: 625/751

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