Friday, 5 July 2013

Pretty Salad

We all like to eat beautiful food. I'm not very talented in the presentation department, but occasionally, with a bit of effort, you know, I can produce something that looks reasonable as well as tasting good.

The answer appears to be flowers.

I got a gorgeous little packet of violas in my veg box the other week - that's what I love about getting my veg from a truly local outfit - a family run farm a couple of miles away. The monthly newsletter that came with that particular box included the following:

"We always have blocks of different colour lettuce but this year we are also growing viola, calendula, cornflower and borage for salads..."

How exciting!

We had a glut of eggs, and try as I might, there's only so much cake you can bake. Pink and her eggy bread addiction helped, but I was fighting a constant battle as all 5 chickens were laying every day...

One of my summer stand bys is a very straightforward salad that once started off as a River Cottage idea - probably from one of the first books, where you 'soft hard boil' eggs, so they are still a bit squidgy in the yolk, then serve with a fairly plain salad of crispy lettuce, and a vinaigrette type dressing (by which I mean whatever combination of oil & vinegar plus a little mustard takes your fancy).

We have loads of lettuce in the garden too - so it was a very local meal - apart from the olive oil and cider vinegar that went in the dressing, of course, and some toasted pumpkin seeds and pistachios that I added - a handful of each - and so, so pretty.

I think I will be tempted to put more flowers in my food from now on.

There's no recipe, I'm afraid - you honestly don't need one. The eggs are something I do by eye but roughly, put them all in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and boil for 6-7 minutes depending on size which ensures hard whites, but ever so slightly soft yolks.

The lettuce should be crispy and wash it well, especially it's from your garden or organic veg box (they may prove that it's organic, but no one wants a slug in their tea...) - use little gems if you don't have any thing else.

A handful each of pumpkin seeds and pistachio nuts dry toasted in a frying pan adds extra crunch and interest.

I learnt my vinaigrette ratios in France, and although I can never quite remember, I usually use about 3:1 oil to vinegar, and then taste massively. Dijon mustard is good, may be a pinch of sugar; salt and pepper...

Scatter with pretty flowers and sigh at the loveliness..



  1. I love pretty salads so much - just about to get chickens so may need advice......feels pretty scary! X

    1. Ah chickens are a breeze! And it's so wonderful to have fresh eggs even if it can sometimes be a little overwhelming!


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