Dinner With The Omnivore

Salad in the garden

Posted on: June 1, 2010

Well, the sun finally put in an appearance and provided us with an unexpectedly scorching bank holiday weekend. I’m sure this must be some kind of administrative error, but no-one was complaining. Beers were drunk, barbecues lit, new flipflops bought and cotton hippie-trousers fished out of the back of the wardrobe. It didn’t last, obviously, and we are now back to torrential rain and October temperatures, but it was a pleasant interlude.

During the sunny window, I thought I might as well test drive a new salad or two, just in case summer showed any sign of sticking around for a while. As if. I found this one in a BBC book which is awash with good ideas, though you get the impression that some of them haven’t progressed past the idea stage because the final result either doesn’t quite work or needs a further tweaking. It also has an annoying habit of telling you to buy stuff which you could just as easily make for yourself. But despite these niggles it remains a terrific little book which has contributed quite a few dishes to the regular menu – red onion tart to name but one.

English garden salad

You will need: new potatoes; runner beans; broad beans; spring onion; sun dried tomatoes; cheshire or Lancashire cheese; fresh mint leaves; yoghurt; mayonnaise; grain mustard; honey

Cook the potatoes and beans in boiling water until tender, then drain and rinse with cold water. Chop the onion, tomatoes, mint leaves and cheese then mix everything together in a bowl. Mix together the yoghurt, mayo, mustard and honey in proportions to suit yourself, pour the resulting dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly.

English garden salad, complete with sundried tomatoes

See the original recipe here – you’ll notice I’ve added the broad beans, which is because I love them and I happened to see some on the market last week.

Pernickety readers will no doubt point out that sun dried tomatoes are hardly known for being the traditional produce of an English garden. This is entirely true, and I suggest that you take it up with the BBC.

Being in France, I didn’t even bother looking for Cheshire or Lancashire cheese, but substituted Cantal, which was perfectly acceptable. I imagine it could work well with feta, though that’s possibly even less English garden than the tomatoes.

If the dressing recipe is a little haphazard that’s because it was one of the things the book advised me to buy (like I’m going to buy salad dressing, ridiculous idea) and I just made it up as I went along.

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© Christa GIMBLETT 2010-2011
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