Before the deluge set in that evening, Saturday was one of those beautifully bright and crisp winter’s days – the type of day that always makes me feel dramatic and optimistic. I woke up stupidly early, threw open the curtains and decided I would go to the shops, make gingerbread (recipe coming soon), walk the dog, read the papers, make lunch and visit a friend all before helping Ellie move Salad Club’s apparatus from her flat that afternoon. It’s amazing what you can achieve without a hangover.
With my long list of tasks mounting up, lunch needed to be speedy. The sunshine made me crave some fresh, summery flavours, yet the bracing chill called for warmth. A spatchcocked poussin covered in salt, pepper, chopped red chilli and a squeeze of lemon went into the oven to roast at 190ºC for 45 minutes. A healthy portion of new potatoes then went on to boil in salted water – small ones left whole and larger ones chopped into halves or quarters. I hate biting into a starchy, underdone potato so I always prefer to overcook them slightly until they’re forgiving and fluffy. As the potatoes boiled I made the dressing. I’m not a huge fan of potato salads drenched in mayonnaise. In fact, the only mayonnaise based potato salad I like is made by our friend Francis – he does an amazing dressing with mayo, mustard and caramelised red onions which I can never recreate. I’ll leave him to the white stuff and stick to this version – a light, fragrant dressing which works brilliantly both hot and cold.
With a pestle and mortar, pound together a handful of chopped mint leaves, some big flakes of sea salt and a light glug of olive oil into a paste. Scrape the paste into whatever bowl you plan to serve the salad in. Add the juice of a lemon, some finely chopped spring onions, lots of pepper, a bit more salt, another glug of olive oil and mix together. Chop some more mint and a handful of parsley ready to throw in at the last minute. After the potatoes have been boiling for about 25 minutes, chuck some sugar snaps into the water with them and cover. After about 3 minutes drain everything in a colander, shake gently and then tip into the bowl with the dressing. Toss everything together carefully, throw in the remaining herbs and serve steaming with the poussin, a dollop of chutney, or whatever else you fancy. A perfect warming lunch enjoyed in the shadows of a rare sunny day in November.