Leaves and flowers salad with nettle dressing and marigold and Parmesan scones

Leaves and flowers salad

Cottage gardens were designed to be as productive as possible and many of the traditional flowers grown had all kinds of uses from the medicinal, use as dyes or in recipes. I grow marigolds in my veg garden to try to distract the green and white fly from my tomatoes but the petals are also for adding wonderful colour and their peppery taste to all kinds of dishes such as these scones. In fact calendula was known as 'poor man's saffron' in the Middle Ages when it was used for its distinctive yellow colour

Serves: 4-6. Prepare: 20 mins. Cook: 12 mins

For the pastry:

  • 175g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g butter, diced

For the filling:

For the salad:

  • 200g mixed salad leaves
  • 12-16 seasonal flower heads (I used viola)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp nettle cordial (homemade or I use one by Thorncroft)
  • 3-4 tbsp local cold pressed rapeseed oil or a mild oil such as sunflower

For the scones:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • large pinch of salt
  • 50g cold butter, diced
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 8-10 marigold heads, petals picked off
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 100ml milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C gas / mark 7.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture is the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the Parmesan and marigold petals then whisk the egg with the milk and add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix to a soft dough then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly to form a round.
  5. Roll out to 2.5cm thick and cut out 5cm rounds. You should have about 8-10.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Wash the salad leaves and flowerheads and place in a bowl. Whisk the lemon juice, cordial and oil with seasoning and toss the salad.
  8. Serve with the scones and slices of good locally produced ham.
Aga cooks: Cook the scones in the lower half of the roasting oven for 10-12 minutes.
  • recipes Mary Gwyn
  • pictures David Merewether