I had persuaded my mum to go with me to Petersham Nurseries for coffee and a cake as I had heard such good things about it and really thought I better go and see what the fuss was about. By the time we had arrived though, it was very nearly one o’clock and it seemed a shame to just have cake when it was so clearly lunch time! For matters of time and budget we opted for the tearoom over the café, which serves up seasonal light lunches of salads, quiches and charcuterie. We sat in their conservatory / greenhouse on carefully chosen mismatched chairs and tables, which offers a very laid back and attractive dining room. The tearoom is self service and the selection on the menu is limited but, as we discovered later, this really doesn’t matter when everything tastes so good! We opted for a three different salads for £12.95; chicken with radicchio in a yogurt and cumin dressing, grilled aubergine and tomatoes and yellow and green courgettes in a very garlicky dressing. My mum’s only adventurous difference was to swap the courgettes for tomato and mozzarella.
If anything should be said about this lunch of ours, it is this: good quality ingredients can make even the simplest things taste good. The mozzarella was like no mozzarella I have had for a very long time (if ever). The vegetables were so bursting with flavour that it was somehow OK to have a salad of just two different coloured courgettes. I can only imagine that the veggies are grown on site and I would urge people to go to Petersham Nurseries, if only to understand the importance of good quality produce!
1 small roasted chicken
200g natural yogurt (not fat free)
2 little gem lettuces - torn
3 red chicory or half a small red cabbage – shredded
2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 teaspoons cumin
1. Roast the chicken as per the instructions and leave to cool. Once cooled, remove all the meat from the chicken and tear or chop this into bite size pieces.
2. Pour the yogurt into a large bowl. Whisk as you slowly add the olive oil and then the milk until the yogurt is thinned and rich.
3. Add the cumin, mint and salad leaves and mix.
4. Add the chicken and mix until everything is combined and covered in the yogurt dressing.
5. Serve with bread and extra salad leaves if desired.
Total cost of ingredients: £10.40 (I already had cumin and olive oil)
This should serve 4-6 people which I think makes it quite a bargain!