Bekonscot was one of my favourite places as a child, living in Penn, Buckinghamshire. In the nearby town of Beaconsfield was the model miniature village of Bekonscot, built in 1929 by an accountant. It was an idyllic vision of 1930s village life, with a railway station, houses, shops, petrol station, a windmill, farm – and of course an airport.
I distinctly remember seeing a face peering out of one of the railway carriage windows as it passed by – my older sister had convinced me that Bekonscot was inhabited by fairies.
Little hills were covered in real grass, or moss, and things weren’t always to the same scale. I remember that puzzling me a bit.
So fittingly, Tim decided to make a miniature garden of micro herbs for a dinner party in Beaconsfield recently. When he suggested it, it made me think of a school project for the local fete – each of our class had to construct a miniature garden in a biscuit tin – I remember circles of card wrapped in silver foil for ponds, and bits of shrubs and hedges stuck into plasticine borders. This tastes a lot better.
Served with crusty bread this was a great opener along with other little dishes.
Tim made a a layer of a kind of tartare sauce, made from mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, chopped cornichons and capers, and white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Then he scattered a layer of the ‘soil’ – made from pan roasted olives. Pan roasted olives were something his Gran used to do in Cyprus – whilst watching TV she would have them slowly cooking over a heater. She used to do chestnuts the same way. In Tim’s soil mixture he scattered a few bits of oatmeal, for a proper earthy, flinty look. Then he painstakingly implanted the micro herbs into the olive soil before serving – and a squirted a little misting of olive oil dew.