Friday, 5 June 2009


“A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.” - Welsh Proverb

“Fawlty Towers” was one of the most successful and funny TV comedy series ever produced. Its few episodes have become classics of the genre and the actors that were assembled to act in them were exceptional and worked as a wonderful team. One of the episodes features an irascible American guest of Basil Fawlty’s establishment who wants to eat a Waldorf salad… How did I remember this? Well it was Waldorf salad tonight for dinner, with crisp, tart new season apples. You know the kind, acidly sweet, juicy, crisp and flavoursome. Here is the recipe – with no sugar, no raisins, with home made mayonnaise (so it’s not sweet) and apples that are tart. This is a savoury dish, remember, not a dessert!

3 cupfuls diced tart apples (e.g. Granny Smiths)
2 cupfuls finely chopped, tender celery stalks (and leaves, if desired)
1/2 cupful chopped toasted walnuts
3 tablespoonfuls home-made mayonnaise
1/2 cupful sour cream (or yoghurt)
1 teaspoonful of mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (to taste)
lettuce leaves

Mix the mayonnaise with the cream, mustard powder and the lemon juice, stirring well to incorporate. Add the other ingredients except the walnuts and blend well. Refrigerate for three hours before serving, folding in the walnuts just before serving on a bed of lettuce leaves. Garnish with chopped chives.

There are a few apocryphal stories around regarding the origin of this salad, but the true origins are as follows: The salad was created at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 not by a chef but by the maître d'hôtel, Oscar Tschirky. The Waldorf salad was an instant success, even though the original version of this salad contained only apples, celery and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts only became an integral part of the dish later.

Enjoy your weekend!

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