Sunday, September 16, 2012

Up up and away!

After a long period of blog silence I am happy to announce my return to Four Figs!  I have packed up my life in Canberra and moved to Geneva, Switzerland for the next three years.


Luckily I had two week's holiday in the USA (more about this in a future post) before the move, which helped to keep me relaxed and calm through the packing and uplift to my new life on the other side of the world.  But finally I am here, my kitchen paraphernalia and cookbooks unpacked and my wooden decoy duck in pride of place on the mantlepiece in my apartment.  It's time to explore a whole new world of food, flavours and cooking!



I've already made it to the nearby Ferney Saturday farmer's market (thanks to Ruth, Nick and Ava!) and  have cooked my first meal in this strange new kitchen.  It was a fairly simple dish but I was lucky to have a friend in town to share it with.  In fact, he was most insistent that it must make it to the blog as it had been too long since my last post.  It's nice to know my presence on Four Figs has been missed!

I've also been tasting some delicious local food - including cheese fondue at a restaurant, Cafe du Soleil, which is famous for this traditional Swiss dish and conveniently located down the street from my apartment.  



My visitor and I also managed to squeeze in a quick trip across the border to Annecy for moules on a particularly sunny and beautiful day.  In fact, the weather's been balmy - the last breath of summer before the long, grey winter ahead.


So here it is.  Lemon chicken with braised fennel and herbs, eaten on the balcony overlooking the Alps - the dish that christened my new kitchen and I hope you enjoy it too.

Lemon Chicken with Braised Fennel



- 4 chicken breasts (will feed two generously - but just add an extra breast for each additional guest and don't forget to increase the other ingredients too!)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 2 tablespoons flat parsley, chopped
- 2 sprigs of rosemary (fresh), chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 cup white wine
- salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (200 degrees if you don't have fan forced).

First marinate your chicken in the oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs.  Add it all to a non-reactive bowl (glass or metal), stir to make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated, cover the bowl in cling film and pop into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.




Meanwhile, slice your fennel bulb as finely as you can, discarding and tough bits from the base of the fennel or dry bits on the outside of the bulb.  Reserve some of the green tufts at the top if you can to add to the dish later.



Place the sliced fennel on the base of a baking tray or dish and sprinkle with the white wine.  Season with salt and pepper.


Layer the chicken breasts on top of the fennel, with the lemon wedges, and sprinkle with the reserved fennel leaves.

Cook in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts.  You should check them to make sure they're cooked -  try and have one "trial" breast you can cut to check inside.


The wine in the fennel base helps keep the breasts moist while cooking the fennel and provides a delicious sauce at the end.

I served this with boiled new potatoes rolled in butter and parsley.





  1. Lovely entry. Cooked it today and it was delightful. I predict we will see some interesting commentary on food and wine in and around Switzerland throughout the seasons.

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  3. Love these…can’t wait to make…I usually like to prepare…Thanks for sharing the recipe.