Cucumber salad

Well sadly my great grow your own experiment was a disaster. The cucumber plants both shrivelled and died after about a week – almost as if they’d been poisoned – and after yielding one marrow, the courgette plants died too, after both stems rotted inexplicably. Maybe I just gave them too much love – aka water. Or maybe it was karma, for killing all snails within a 30cm radius. All hope hangs now on the tomatoes. But even they looked a bit wilty this morning, so are clearly feeling the pressure to perform.

Pre-cucumber-geddon I’d planned to blog about what an underappreciated vegetable they are and how beautiful they taste when fresh from the garden. But alas the one pictured here, came from Tesco in the obligatory protective condom-like-thingy. But with a bit of jazzing up, you’d never have known it had started life in Letchworth and travelled on a lorry to Chiswick via who knows where. I ate it in a salad with an oriental dressing and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, the recipe is below, but I also like to eat them in sandwiches (white bread, crusts off, salted butter, cucumber sliced thin, seeds and skin removed) just to reinforce my Englishness. A friend swears by chilled cucumber soup (she peels them and purees with yoghurt and curry paste and serves cold).
Serves: 4 as side dish, 2 as a light lunch
Prep time: about 5 minutes
2 medium sized cucumbers (peeled and deseeded – simply cut in half, length-wise and scoop out seeds with a spoon)

1 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Slice the already halved cucumber into crescents about the thickness of a pound coin. Put in a salad bowl. In another small bowl or jug, mix the sesame oil with the rice vinegar and salt. Pour over the cucumber. Serve and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.


  1. Sounds lovely. I recently had cucumber with a dill dressing which was surprisingly nice. Not reminiscent of fish in the slightest….

  2. I can tell you that my experience with cucumbers is that they are more for an experienced veg grower. My cucumbers did grow but were incredibly tough skinned. I have a feeling they are better off in a greenhouse.
    I have to say I had to stop doing tomatoes too as we’re always away for the last 2 weeks in August, just as they are ready to be picked!
    I have an allotment now so in theory my veg growing is going to take off, given all our lovely neighbours who happily offer up advice and plants too!
    The easiest beginners plants to grow seem to be dwarf French beans and peas. They have succeeded with very little effort, and feed once a week wih seaweed extract. It’s the only plant food I ever use during the growing season.
    Don’t give up, it’s so rewarding when it works!

  3. Thanks Laura. I think I was lulled into a false sense of security when in my pre children days when I was as undomestic as it is humanly possible to be, I pretty much slung some vegetable plants onto the roof terrace, ignored them and was rewarded with loads of amazing cucumbers and courgettes. This time around I’ve done everything I should have done and the blighters have turned on me. Good suggestion on the peas though – something to try for next year…..

  4. The best newbies vegetation growing seem to be dwarf France beans and also peas. They have got became popular with very little energy, and give food to once per week wih seaweed extract. Oahu is the only plant food We actually make use of through the expanding period.
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