A miniature garden

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.


A miniature garden of micro herbs


Goes down well with crusty bread


A spritzing of olive oil as dew


Winter salad in the unexpected sunshine.

Kale with egg, real bacon, avocado and a beetroot dressing

How strange. But fantastic. Where’s the scummy white liquid that comes out of supermarket bacon? It seems to be missing from this proper bacon from the local butchers. Which is why the bacon is more expensive, but better value, as it shrinks less, and is much better to eat.

Proper bacon, with no added water

Perhaps the new EU regulations that proposes that bacon with more than 5% water added should be labelled ‘bacon wither added water’ might change things. Water is added for one reason: to make more money. It’s like an extra tax on the bacon eater, that goes to the industrial manufacturer’s pocket. Adding the water also means that the bacon now has to be frozen to be sliced. Rapid curing and injections of brine mean that a supermarket rasher could be 50% water.

Proper bacon is a long process, around 5 days dry salt cure and then another 10 days maturing. The quick fix method cuts the maturing time to half that. Not dissimilar the the horrible things that were done to bread with the Chorleywood Process. And continue to be done with pretend bread.

Anyway, minor rant over. Recipes notes in the notebook to follow below. Note the sudden appearance of the neighbours cat when he smelled the bacon in one of the pics.


Er, it's all about the colours.


Gratuitous egg pic.


The neighbour's cat appears after a whiff of bacon.


Kale, Bacon & Egg sald with beetroot dressing - notes


Winter salad in the sun.