Saturday, 22 November 2014

Birthday weekend :: and Salad Olivier: Persian, Chicken and Potato Salad.

It was a lovely cosy family birthday weekend that went too fast. Beginning Friday evening when my next door neighbour popped by to wish me a happy start with a curly willow wreath for the front door and a big bunch of hydrangeas from the farmers market. As they dry, the colours are changing like a beautiful oversized kaleidoscope. 

Saturday, we had a mad morning food shop dash after a late friday night manic rush, to finish papering H's (still-to-paint) bedroom. We almost missed the Postman, but 'A' gave chase and retrieved cards and a parcel containing a sweet silver necklace from his big sister to add to the already received indulgent cosmetics from his sis, S. Then a quick cooking session, whilst H and boyfriend drove over from Bristol. 

The day was grey and misty. 'A' got the fire blazing. When they arrived we snuggled down and ate amazing local cheeses and fresh bread or crackers with salad olivier, deli snacks and beer, played boggle until we couldn't spell any more. Watched an episode of this Scandinavian drama until we were almost about to snooze, then some of us wrapped up and braved the cold evening to walk down the road and collect eggs ready for breakfast next morning. Staying up much, much too late.

We had a leisurely breakfast Sunday morning with a retro 90's style croissants from a box-making-session. Everyone rolling their own. Then we ate them with local eggs,sausages, bacon or smoked salmon plus all the requested sauces and spices. A lovely birthday card dropped through the letter box from next door and H and B surprised me with gifts...despite me insisting that they shouldn't get any whilst on such a tight budget. An amazing V & A 1950's pattern book from H, complete with a disc so I can print off samples. Imagine the patchwork walls I can make now. Oh and lovely Burt's Bees almond and  milk hand cream from B for my sandpaper hands. 

We wrapped up again and drove to my favourite Richard Booth's bookshop across the border in Hay-on-Wye. I had a hobbit style second breakfast...(well it was my birthday.) Buttermilk pancakes with vanilla whipped yoghurt and maple syrup, plus indulgent honey icecream. Double scrumptious.

Back home to the warmth of the fire and steak or pan fried fish for supper, more games and then waving goodbye to H and B as they drove back to Bristol.

A memorable first  birthday weekend in Corner House...that continued Monday morning with a surprise visit from our next door neighbours with a bag of wonderful gifts, a beautiful cup by this designer and Monte Bojangles, Choccy Scoffy Cocoa dusted truffles...(now secreted away for a rainy day)...followed by a treat trip to this auction room and this gallery followed by afternoon tea at this cosy oldie worldie tearoom here which is a bit like a trip to an Agatha Christie film set. You should check it out and see. Not to mention another surprise postal delivery from a blogger friend but I'll tell you about that later. I have been thoroughly and totally spoilt...or spoiled...

To make Persian Chicken and Potato Salad, Salad Olivier you will need the following ingredients:

  • Cooked chicken breast. This is best poached in seasoned water but you could use any left over ready cooked chicken.
  • Boiled potatoes three or four medium sized ones to one large chicken breast. Use ones that are suitable for mashing.
  • About four to six boiled eggs.
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fresh lemon or lime
  • Sea salt
  • Gherkins

I have been fairly vague with the ingredients as every family has their own recipe for this dish. We like it with plenty of chicken and eggs and not too much potato or mayonnaise but enough to make a smooth creamy salad.

  1. Drain and mash the potatoes in a large bowl.
  2. Flake the chicken or cut into small pieces and add to the potatoes.
  3. Shell the eggs and chop finely adding to the salad. 
  4. Add a big dollop of mayonnaise and cream the salad together. Adding more if needed. 
  5. Chop some gherkins into small pieces and add to the mixture combining well.
  6. Season and add lemon juice to taste and the consistency that you are happy with. You should be able to spread this on toast or crackers.
  7. Put into a serving dish and cover the top with a thin layer or mayonnaise. This will keep it from drying out. It's traditional to decorate this with thin slices of gherkin and sometimes olives too.
This is a lovely alternative potato salad that apparently has it's  origins in Russian cuisine. Usually served buffet style at Persian social gatherings. 

So that was my birthday weekend...did you notice that the choccy scoffy wasn't hidden away for too long?

Hope you are all keeping toasty warm.


  1. Hi again Jules. Thanks it was a great weekend.

  2. what thoughtful gifts!!!! the ceramic cup looks a lot like Lotta Jandsdotter's work---which I ADOre! Hope you keep celebrating all month long!

    1. I was so kind. I can see the likeness to Lotta's designs Steph...lovely. Thanks,

  3. happy birthday!!!! I would love to be in that bookstore, it looks and feels like a library from your photos. Glad you celebrated in high style!

    1. Thanks Karen. It's an amazing bookstore, my favourite in the Uk. It has a lovely atmosphere.

  4. Happy birthday! It sounds like you had wonderful celebrations. And those book shop shots--to die for! (Did you ever see, no, no, it's not nasty like that. It's just a ton of pictures of bookstores, libraries, etc...bookshelves galore!). Hope you are enjoying more cozy fires.

    1. Thanks Erin, It was good. I must check out the website...a similar name to a blog that I love that's full of old log cabins. We are enjoying lots of lovely log fires as it's gone so cold here but we are lovely and toast.