I love sweet peas, the most fragile of flowers; it seems as soon as you pick them with a waft glorious perfume the petals fall and are gone. We’ve tried growing them but to no avail, our plants are spindly, attacked by creatures and the few blooms seem to be fragrance free. Maybe we should try again. My uncle had an allotment and grew rows of sweet peas; once after a visit, he filled my car boot with flowers,wrapped in damp newspaper. When I got home and opened the boot, I was enveloped in glory!
In my ninety year old cookery book, there is a section of suggested menus for each month. As you can imagine for July, salmon and lamb are there, with new potatoes, and followed by gooseberry pie.
Appetites in July often need tempting for summer days are not conducive to eating. But few could resist the little menu we offer.
For each ‘little dinner’ there is also a suggestion for how to decorate the table:
Sweet peas – shall they be pink or the spiritual mauve? Shades of one colour with little fairy like greenery make a gracious centre-piece.
I have no idea who wrote this book, I have tried to find the author – maybe it was just someone commissioned to fill the gaps between recipes. Whoever it was, I love the way they wrote what could have been dreary little intros!
So, on the menu – salmon mayonnaise, roast lamb with buttered peas and carrots and new potatoes, followed by gooseberry pie and cream, and for the savoury, tomato toast.
The recipe for the salmon gives instructions for cooking 2 lbs of fish and unlike some older recipes it is only lightly cooked and not boiled to death! ‘Cook it very gently’ the recipe say and for only fifteen or so minutes. Once cook it should be carefully skinned, boned, and broken into even shaped chunks.
There follows a recipe for home-made mayonnaise, made with tarragon vinegar which sounds a very nice accompaniment for the fish. It should be served on a bed of lettuce and endive, and garnished with slices of hard-boiled eggs and capers.
I think that sounds like a lovely summer lunch – if only my family liked salmon and salad!
It would be rather nice with trout instead of salmon… especially if it was a brown not rainbow trout!