Healthy fennel salad and olive oil cake topped with grapes

Fish...definitely something you shall include in your diet, preferably on a regular basis. This is something, what seems to be practically impossible in our my husband, who comes from Sweden (as we remember), does not like fish!!! I know how it sounds, but I guess he just had too much fish as a kid, so he rebels against it as a grown up.
I, on the other hand love fish, probably because I did not had too much of it. So what to do if you have this kind of dilemma?!? The answer is easy...BE CREATIVE and never ask your husband if you shall have fish for lunch or dinner!!!  Any time I would raise this question, the answer from my husband would always be a very strict "NO", so over the time I stopped asking him and started to surprised him with creative fish dishes and I can say so far I was quite successful. I also have to admit that I would never get a compliment like "This is the best dish I have had since years, this week, this month etc" (you got where I am heading to) however he will tell me that he actually liked it and would eat everything, which is the biggest compliment I can get.

I am not an expert on fish either, I like to have it as simple as possible...fried or grilled with some simple spices and fresh herbs. And to make it a bit more special I would get crazy on the salad. Something special, something we would not eat everyday, something  so extraordinary what will highlight the fish even more and convince my husband to try it....

One of these special salads is my fennel salad. Fennel is not really something you are thinking about, when it comes to a salad, but to me this would be exactly the vegetable, I would chose to prepare a salad to fish. The crunchy texture, mild anise taste and the freshness it provides in the salad, is unbeatable and very very special. I am going to spare you all the healthy features this vegetable has, as the list might get too long....Fact is this salad is tasty, healthy and rich on vitamins, exactly what we needed as we are still suffering from the cold....

Hake fillet with fennel salad:

  • Hake fillet 
  • 1 big fresh fennel bulb
  • 2 oranges (or 1 small grapefruit and 2 mandarins)
  • 5 radishes (or more if desired)
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • salt, pepper
  • zest of an orange or mandarins
  • 1 pear (optional)
In a bowl mix together olive oil, grapefruit or lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper and marinade the hake fillets for couple of hours in the refrigerator. 
Slice the fennel, radishes and pear (if using) as thinly as possible, arrange it on the plate. Take of the zest of the orange, peel and fillet it, so you will get nice small orange fillets, spread it over the fennel, radishes and pear. For the dressing: squeeze the juice from the remaining rests of the oranges, mix in olive oil, orange zest, honey, salt and pepper and pour it over the salad...let it rest.
Fry the fish in a pan with some olive oil, ca.3-5 min each side. Add a small piece of butter shortly before taking it out of the pan.

Another specialty of our house is the fact, that we never have dinner without having a dessert matter how filled up we would be, there is always space for a small little sweet treat. As I wanted to stay a bit "healthy" at the dessert too, I went for the olive oil cake topped with grapes..

Olive oil cake topped with grapes

  • 8 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 115 g sugar
  • 150 g flour
  • 60 g almond flour (grounded almonds)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • grapes seedless (or half the grapes and take out the seeds)
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a big bowl whisk together yogurt, olive oil, eggs, lemon zest and juice, till everything will come together (can be done with an electrical or stand mixer). Add sugar, flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt, mix well. Grease you baking form and pour in the batter. Put the grapes on top and bake for 15-20 minutes.