Delighting in a monarch is no bad thing.
The Queen of England turned 90 recently. At the age of 21 she promised her people that, no matter how short or how long she lived, she would serve them until the end of her life.
She has kept her promise. On her 90th birthday she walked along the streets of Windsor, through thickly packed cheering, smiling, flag-waving people. Hundreds of spring flower bouquets pronged out from the crowds into her hands, amid laughter and gratitude. The community’s apparel was amazing to behold. I don’t know how many bolts of Union Jack material were used to attire their dogs and themselves in suits, dresses, skirts, shorts, hats and crowns but it certainly indicated where their loyalty lay. “There is a thread that draws us together,” said one of her subjects. “She is the spirit of that thread.”
Now, the longest reigning British monarch still spends three hours a day reading reports and keeping up to date with the country. During almost 60 years of her reign the country has welcomed people of all cultures and nationalities, turning Britain into a worldwide community.
Happy Birthday, Your Majesty, with love from one of your immigrants.
Coronation Chicken Waldorf Salad
Coronation Chicken was created in 1953 by Constance Spry, to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation. It’s got a hint of the Commonwealth in it (check out the curry paste). I’ve added a Waldorfian flair with apples and pears, just to stretch the international contribution even wider. (Well, okay, let’s face it – it’s to stretch the chicken too.)
Poach 1 lb of chicken in water just under the boil until it loses its pinkness (the chicken, not the water). Cut up into salad-size bites when cool enough to handle. Save poaching water for soup or casseroles.
Fry one chopped onion in oil, until soft. Add 6 – 8 chopped dried apricots and cook until they plumpen (a couple of minutes). Add 1 tablespoon curry paste (your choice of fiery-ness) and 1 tablespoon tomato puree (paste), 4 ozs (1/2 cup) red wine, and a bayleaf. Cook until the sauce is well reduced (a spoon drawn over the bottom of the pan makes a clean pathway). Whizz the sauce in a food processor until smooth. Cool.
Build the salad:
Your prepared sauce mixed with 1 cup (8 ozs) mayonnaise and 1 cup Greek yogurt or crème fraiche, or, if you are skinny, sour cream. (Constance used whipping cream.)
3 apples, peeled and chopped
1 – 2 pears peeled and chopped.
5 finely chopped spring onions (scallions)
½ bunch of chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) or parsley,*
1 – 2 stalks finely chopped celery
Sliced Chinese water chestnuts
Roasted sliced almonds
*If not using coriander or parsley, serve salad on a bed of watercress.
Vegetarian option: leave out the chicken and bump up the other ingredients.
I tried it out on fellow Tai Chi learners, during her birthday week. Unfortunately, there is no picture of anyone actually eating the salad. However, going home with a near-empty container proved that someone – or someones — did.