Fennel, coconut and basil soup


Fennel to me is the signal of summer. It is a fat, juicy bulb shaved into a summer salad adding a crispness and its aniseed perfume that instantly uplifts. It is a sprinkling of its feathery fronds that provide an endnote.

This is my usual summer of fennel. Simple. Quick. Easy.

But I have eaten a lot of salad this summer and this soup arose from a mood for something different. This is quick and easy too. A base of coconut milk brings coolness to this summer’s heat and the basil adds an additional perfume to the aniseed note of the fennel.

I ate it warm, but it would be equally good as a cold summer soup.



  • 2 large fennel bulbs, sliced

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 400 ml coconut milk plus about 100 ml water

  • Splash of white wine of your choice

  • Small handful of basil, chopped

  • 2 tblsp olive oil

  • Walnuts, basil leaves and a sliver of lime to serve


Heat the oil in a pan and add the fennel, garlic and onion. Cook on a low flame until soft – about ten to fifteen minutes. Try to avoid them catching and colouring.

Add a splash of white wine and stir through for about 1 minute, then add the coconut milk and water and cook for about ten minutes.

Remove from the heat and blend until smooth. Add the chopped basil and stir through.

Serve with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts and basil and a little squeeze of lime.