Posted in Events & Adventures in Food, What's for Dinner Mom?

Salad Days (….return of the butterhead)

Finalmente! A new post. ¬†That word of Italian was one of the many gleaned from a beginner’s course that I’ve taken over the past year and it culminated in an exam last week so cramming was required hence the void in cyberspace that a blog post should have filled. (What do you mean you hadn’t noticed ūüôā ) And why Italian? ¬†Well my youngest sister is marrying a Sicilian this summer and I’m hoping to communicate with a little bit more than pointing and smiling.
Butterhead Lettuce¬†As well as being a beginner at Italian I’m also a beginner at gardening. ¬†Up until very recently when conversation turned to gardens or gardening, mulching and cutting back etc. I would retreat quietly and blush inwardly. ¬†It’s a low maintenance garden with grass, bordered with trees and a beech hedge . ¬†Prize-winning begonias definitely do not feature. ¬†Hardly surprising then that I approached the task of planting a raised bed in a somewhat cynical fashion.
Lettuce LeavesPlanting began indoors and seedlings were then planted out, in what most definitely was not my finest moment. ¬†The inner wayward child emerged while I attempted to untangle flimsy roots and as the lettuce plants flopped over I turned my back on them and left them to fend for themselves. ¬†Rain came, sun came and then really heavy rain came but somehow those weary looking lettuce leaves and flimsy carrots, parsnips, spring onions and strawberries, guzzled nutrients from the soil and began to bulk up. ¬†The leaves are truly flourishing now and it is beyond satisfying to step outside in the morning to tear off a few leaves and stuff them into the children’s school sandwiches. ¬†Again at lunch time I’ll nip off a few more and they’ll often make it to the dinner table too. ¬†Growing stuff is BRILLIANT.
Ripe Tomato
First Tomato Picking
I’m in my second week of not buying or throwing away lettuce and there is no comparison between the ¬†flavour of local and fresh VS chilled and well-travelled.
A true test I felt had to be that 80s classic salad plate, long since relegated in favour of more adventurous salads featuring sophisticated sounding leaves such as frissee, rocket and of course the baby variants of spinach and watercress.  Forks clashed  as we shredded leaves and mopped up salad dressing and the plate was cleaned with relish.
80s salad
Salad with Zingy Dressing
Butterhead lettuce is back people (you read it here first!). ¬†Accompanied by my eldest son’s first harvest of tomato and good old hard boiled egg I dressed it up with a zingy salad dressing.
Zingy Salad Dressing
Zingy Salad Dressing
You will need:
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp mixed herbs (dried)
Simply mix all the ingredients together.
‘Til next time, Sheila.