Summer Solstice Sandwiches
~ Cheese and Tomato with Salad Cream ~
~ Herb Garden Tea Sandwiches with Cream Cheese ~
As if in preparation for the Summer Solstice, the sun came out today……and so the table was set and chairs were arranged under shady trees……the heat soared and the scent of my climbing roses pervaded the air. And just a note for all of you pedants out there, the Summer Solstice is a day earlier this year, due to 2012 being a leap year…… the longest day (in the Northern Hemisphere) usually falls on the 21st of June, give or take a few hours, but the official date for 2012 is today, the 20th June. So what to prepare for a summery lunch in the garden, nothing too hot or filling, as the air was heavy and quite humid – a salad would be good, but I fancied something different today……and it was then that I turned to my magnificent Monday meal plan and remembered that I had suggested sandwiches for today, or was it yesterday!
My herb garden is coming on well, I have all the usual suspects, parsley – both flat leaf and curly, thyme, sage, bay, mint, French tarragon, rosemary, oregano and chives; but, I also have some less common herbs that are thriving this year - lovage, lemon verbena, salad burnett, borage, angelica, hyssop, sorrel – both wild and virgin, meadowsweet, chervil and lemon balm. My herb garden is set just to one side of my kitchen door, so I can step out and be amongst them straight away……there are little terracotta tubs that are set into soil, for my more pervasive herbs, and the rest jostle for position in a raised bed, under the shade of an olive tree. I am not at all neat and tidy with my herbs, but encourage them to grow in semi-organised chaos……I have never liked “neat as a pin” gardens, and I love the way that they all live side by side in herbal harmony.
Herbs play an important role in my kitchen and home – I obviously cook and bake with them, but I also use them for room scenters as well as insect repellents and to fragrance my linen cupboard. And,when they are at their peak, I preserve them by drying them; you will always see bunches of herbs hanging up to dry in my pantry and kitchen throughout the year……ready for stuffings, pies, stews, casseroles, soups and seasoning throughout the winter months, as well as herbal tisanes and teas. So when I decided what sandwiches to make today I turned to a favourite herb of mine, salad burnett – a tender green leafy herb that tastes and smells like cucumber, and it goes to WELL with cream cheese, hence my cream cheese and herb sandwich, a well brought up tea sandwich with good manners and elegance. But, one tiny flaw, my other half is not fond of herbs and cream cheese, so I also made a round of good old fashioned cheese and tomato sandwiches, with a retro twist of adding some salad cream!
These aren’t “haute cuisine” recipes, they are more ideas for fillings really, but, they were both enjoyed today, under the leafy shade of an old cherry tree with a warm breeze blowing, and with the prospect of an idle hour before weeding recommenced…..simple seasonal ingredients in artisan bread, in the garden on the longest day of the year, with a long glass of elderflower presse…….sybaritic and delightful and easy on the cooking, or lack of it! Enjoy your solstice bonfires, and your nocturnal picnics tonight and tomorrow……and I hope you find these sandwich fillings a little different to the usual daily fillers. See you tomorrow, Karen.