E is for ... Egg
Eggs are yummy.
I love them boiled a bit soft, mashed with some parsley and salt, and spread between two slices of splushy bread. Can be white or brown.
Or boiled a bit soft and in an eggcup, with toast cut into fairy's fingers to dip into the syrupy, golden yolk. Oooh, thanks Mum ...
I love them scrambled, with a bit of milk, sprinkled with parsley. A little girl called Nina showed me how to make them when I babysat for her 17 years ago. She'd been in bed for a while, after being so tired she'd refused dinner, and woke up ravenous. Her parents were committed health enthusiasts, and I knew she'd dob me in if I ordered pizza. She guided me through how she liked her eggs to be done, and we giggled so much, we woke her 1-year-old brother, Ralph.
Ended up with the three of us in the garden at 10 on Saturday night, creeping through the shrubbery in the dark to pick parsley for the eggs. Very Going On a Bear Hunt.
I wonder if Sweeney will drag some hapless babysitter out to the deck for basil for his spaghetti sauce or coriander for his laksa ... That's Mt Victoria, isn't it??
I like them fried, the way Dad has always made them for his weekend fry-fests. His eggs come out with all the white firm and cooked, and in some places downright crispy, and the yolk also firm and cooked, but still soft so you can dip your fork in, weighed down with bacon, tomato and maybe a mushroom. No artery in the region is safe, I tell you.
I like omelettes, the way Martin combines mushrooms, tomato and cheese with a few eggs and a glorious near-souffle comes out. We ate these every day for a month or more, a few months back. Mmmm.
I used to make a tortilla-type thing at Lone Star. It was when they'd just opened the first site in Christchurch. Fun every day. We were building and tweaking the menu every day, we were learning about Texan and Mexican food, but trying to be cool and interesting and avoid turning into a nachos and taco joint. The tortilla - as in chunks of spud in a pan, drizzled over with beaten egg, bunged into the oven until it's cooked through - was new to me. This is late '80s New Zealand, people, and all food south of the border came out of a Masterfoods packet. Guacamole was still controversial.
At the time, my tortilla, served with a monster salad, damn near flew out the door every night. I left Lone Star when I moved up to Wellington, and mostly forgot the things I'd made every night for a year. But a month or so ago, I chucked together a tortilla for myself and Sweeney, and the young squire downed it with the same gusto as he attacks yoghurt, stewed fruit or any of the things he loves. Chuffed.
E is for ... Embroidery
I've recently found two blogs showcasing incredible embroidery - Jo in NZ and small things. Check them out. These women are highly skilled technicians, and their work shows a second-to-none design sense. Envious. The pic here is a comfort doll stitched by Alison of small things.
Our Nana taught me to embroider when I was 9 years old. My first project was a horse's head, surrounded by daisies and leaves. Mum handed on Nana's unfinished work to me when she died - tablecloths, dresser sets, doilies - and I've had a go at finishing a few. It's really hard to take over someone else's work like that - it's like each person's writing has its own voice, knitting has an individual tension, how I make a piece of cheese on toast, it'll turn out differently from yours. And then there's the fact that she had about 3,000 years of talent and experience that I'll never have. There just isn't enough time before I die.
I like hauling them out and looking at the colours she was using, and the patterns she liked. She regarded cross stitch as a bit primitive, and all her work is in stem, satin, all the classic traditional embroidery stitches. I don't believe she worked tapestries at all.
Mum's got some lovely cloths that she made years ago. They're gorgeous. Even Dad developed an enthusiasm for embroidery and knocked up a table runner, albeit with a very untraditional colourway. He goes in for the variegated silks in a big, big way.
E is for ... Elephant
When I was in Cambodia, there were elephant rides on offer all over the show. In Phnom Penh, there was an elephant, Samboh, who went for a walk every evening through the CBD with his keeper / human companion. I can't remember his name.
Samboh was born in the Cambodian countryside in the late '70s, orphaned and ended up living with a family of subsistence farmers until a bunch of Khmer Rouge soldiers muscled the family off their land, to labour camp and/or execution. Samboh was used by the Khmer Rouge for muscle until the Pol Pot regime was finally removed, years later. At that point, he was 'liberated' into the wild, still in Cambodia. The youngest son of the family survived the camps and searched for Samboh. For years.
Can you believe they found each other? He was a child when they'd been separated, and now he's a middle-aged man. Samboh lives with the man's family in Phnom Penh, and until just before we saw him, tourists took rides on him for enormous amounts of money. He's getting on now, old Samboh, and he's retired from business life, and the only walking he has to do is an ambling constitutional in the twilight.