Old Fashioned Roses and an English Garden Salad with Cheese and Eggs
Nodding seductively by the gate to the drive, are several beautiful old-fashioned shrub roses, some of them bought and some of them from cuttings by my very green-fingered mum, who simply sticks rose (and other plants) stems into soil and they all take! The scent is heady and powerful and whenever I am dead-heading them, or just weeding in general nearby, they remind me why I love these types of roses IN the garden, as opposed to the long-stem roses you buy from the supermarkets and florists; beautiful though they may be, they lack the soul and fragrance of an old-fashioned shrub rose. They only have a short flowering season, and only once a year too, but that enhances their musky beauty even more, as just like seasonal fruit and vegetables, you look forward to them blooming and are not too sad when they all fade, as their fragrance often lives on in a bowl of dried rose petals or as part of some home-made pot pourrie.
Mixed with daisies, forget-me-nots and honeysuckle, I place my freshly picked roses onto small glass yoghurt pots, and then rather than having a large vase of flowers (roses) I can scatter my little posies all around the house for maximum fragrance and enjoyment. I am a “posy” kinda gal, and much prefer the wild and unfettered beauty of a contrived posy to a formal arrangement, although, I can see the beauty and skill in more formal arrangements. With the sun finally shining and summer in full swing (fingers crossed) I am now well into “salad season” and although we eat salads all year around, there is something very seductive and pleasant about a bowl of soft sun-warmed lettuce leaves having just been freshly cut. And so my recipe today is one of my favourite summer salads, an English Garden Salad with fresh free-range eggs and English cheese.
This is a salad designed for salad cream, and NOT mayonnaise which would overpower the soft lettuce leaves, eggs and cheese. It’s a soft salad of carefully selected parts, with each part playing a vital role, and it’s my favourite salad of all time…..often made for my by my mum, and served simply with bread and butter, it can even shine brighter than a classic French salad. So, what makes it English? At risk of annoying my Scottish, Welsh and Irish friends and readers, I suppose it’s “Englishness” comes from what I was brought up with, and those soft, buttery leaves, such as Webbs and Butterhead lettuces. It’s NOT a showy salad such a salad Niçoise, it’s quiet and unassuming with that restrained “stiff upper lip” of “Englishness” running through it. It’s all about tea on the lawn, sitting in an old canvas deck chair, or Sunday afternoon tea at my grandmother’s house – it’s classy and well-bred without being showy.
It’s the perfect salad for a hot June day, and sits alongside my little posies of old-fashioned roses so well…….I DO make my own salad cream from time to time, and I WILL share that recipe very soon, but for now I am suggesting you use a quality commercial salad cream (unless you have some home-made to hand) and it’s the salad cream that brings all of the ingredients together. I hope you are all enjoying the summer (in the Northern hemisphere) and do give this quintessential English salad a try, with a few posies of roses on the table too, maybe! Before I go, let me share a photo of my two latest arrivals to the Coronation chicken run……Betty and Peggy, just finding their way around their new surroundings, with earth, and worms, and trees and grass, they have settled in very well already. That’s it for today, see you later, have a wonderful Wednesday, Karen
The salad was served with home-made Tiger Bread, recipe is here: