Saffron Polenta with Orange Fennel

And why not being perfect is much more fun

In the last few weeks I had worked a lot and didn’t get out of the house very much. After a while I got this tingling feeling that told me that it was time to have some fun again. So one evening Thomas and I met good friends with whom we had spent many funny and sometimes wild evenings. It was a beautiful and mild evening in Palma de Mallorca. We strolled through the streets, stopped at a bar and later went to a restaurant. Ronny, the cook, suggested we let him choose the dishes. And so he brought us plate by plate, and every course was delicious and made with a lot of love. We also drank wine and philosophized about life. It was one of those evenings that cannot be planned or forced.When only the food, the conversations and the mood count … and everything else disappears and becomes unimportant. I love indulging in these moments. And yes, that can also mean that I drink one or two (or three) glasses of wine too much. It doesn’t happen very often because I’m actually a cheap date cause I can’t drink lots of alcohol … but if I even forget that, then it was a really good evening. That evening ended with Thomas and me spending the night in our friends’ guest room because it was advisable not to drive any more. The next day wasn’t great, and yes, I may have sworn I would never drink alcohol again. It is also possible that I had to postpone a few appointments and mumbled something about an “upset stomach” to my business partners.

Why am I writing all this? Because I ought to be ashamed to go overboard as an author of healthy cookbooks. Because I’m really not a good role model. And I think that’s really good. Why? Because it makes me and you more free. We all have certain expectations of ourselves, but also of others. Especially to those who stand for a certain topic, such as health. We would like them to be perfect. Because if they are not, then how can we ever become perfect ourselves? The good (or the bad?) news is that no one is perfect and never will be. And if there is someone who claims to be perfect then run a mile! Because this person would be no fun to be with at all. After all, we are not machines but imperfect, passionate, silly, loving, thoughtful, interesting and sometimes wild people. Maybe on 10 days we are responsible and on the 11th day we throw ourselves into the river of life and dance naked in the moonlight.

For me, a healthy life consists of the balance between reason and unreasonableness. Both nourish me on a deeper level and give me what I need right now. Even if I don’t feel so good after an “escapade”, something nice can emerge from it, because I appreciate my body a little bit more and am deeply grateful to it for how good it normally feels. Then I treat myself very lovingly, because I want to be in top form again quickly. And so I restore a natural balance.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. “ Leonard Cohen

The recipe of the week

My recipe of the week is a sunny, light winter dish that might not be perfect (because who really is?) but tastes deliciously of saffron, fennel, corn and oranges. It puts you in a good mood, is healthy and doesn’t make you drunk – you can’t expect more from such a happy dish, can you?

And now my question for you: how do you find your balance between reason and unreason? And how do you like to go overboard? I am pleased about your comment under this post!


Servings 2 people
Cook Time 35 minutes
Print Recipe


For the orange fennel:

  • 600 g vegetable fennel
  • 1 grated zest of an organic orange
  • 1 organic orange pulp cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 small to medium onion peeled and cut into rings
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the saffron polenta:

  • 600 ml water
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 120 g quick-cooking polenta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt more according to your taste


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C top heat and circulating air.
  • Cut the fennel into bite-sized - but not too small - pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients for the orange fennel and mix well. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the fennel is cooked through and browned around the edges.
  • For the polenta, bring the water to boil. As soon as the water boils, pour 2 tablespoons of it into a small bowl, add the saffron threads and let it steep for a moment. Let the polenta trickle into the boiling water while stirring. Add the saffron water and continue to heat for about 2 minutes while stirring (be careful, the polenta tends to splash around). Remove from heat, stir in the olive oil and salt and keep warm with the lid closed. The polenta will become firmer over time. It is therefore best to stir in a little more hot water just before serving until the desired consistency is achieved.
  • Pour polenta into deep plates and serve garnished with the orange fennel from the oven and some freshly ground pepper.
Wellcuisine Stefanie Reeb

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