English Garden Salad

As much as I love travelling, I’m definitely an English girl at heart.  Nothing soothes me like a cup of tea, I always respect a queuing system, and I love complaining about the weather.  And then there’s this:

Ah, yes, Marks and Spencer.  As soon as I heard there were Marks and Spencer food outlets here inHong Kong, I knew I’d settle right in.  Truthfully, the majority of them are just full of various kinds of biscuits and sweets, but there are other gems to be found too – freshly baked goods, sauces and salad dressings, plenty of frozen delights.  And, more importantly, cheese.

It’s possible to get a decent selection of cheese from the bigger supermarkets – cheddar is easy enough to come by, along with mozzarella, Philadelphia.  Feta, goats’ cheese and halloumi usually require an excursion further afield.  And then there’s some cheese which I’ve only been able to find in M&S – including Cheshire and Lancashire cheese.  Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a little of the latter.  Obviously it’s pricey, as it’s imported, but in my opinion it’s well worth the cost.  But how best to use it?

Despite being vegetarian, I’ve never been a big fan of salad.  A little bit on my plate to supplement the main course is all well and good, but I never believed in salad as an actual meal.  It’s just a few leaves really, isn’t it?  But over the last few eyes my eyes have opened to the fact that salad doesn’t have to be merely boring rabbit food, and I now embrace hearty salads chock full of cheese, beans, vegetables, nuts, and tasty dressings.  This one is a recipe I’d been carrying around for ages but had never actually tried until I arrived in Hong Kong.  The name alone is encouraging:  English Garden Salad.  Sometimes, in these tropical climes, all I want is to be back in good old England, enjoying a light lunch in the mild weather.  This salad is really tasty, very filling, and makes good use of my M&S cheese!

English Garden Salad

(Serves 4, from BBC Good Food)


500g new potatoes, thickly sliced

350g runner beans

bunch spring onions, chopped

240g tub sunblush tomatoes, drained – I just used a couple of handfuls of dried tomatoes, chopped

225g Cheshire or Lancashire cheese (I only used half this amount and it was enough for me)

handful chopped mint4 tbsp honey and mustard dressing (I used one also from good old M&S)


1.  Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 7 minutes, then add the beans for a further 7 minutes, until everything is just tender – don’t let the potatoes get too soft, or they’ll just crumble.  Drain and refresh under cold water.

2.  Tip the cooked vegetables into a large bowl and add the spring onions and tomatoes, then crumble in the cheese, add the mint and dressing, and mix everything well.

3.  Eat, while daydreaming about the drizzly English summer.

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