For the last little while the lines, 'What fun/ My thumb instead of an onion', have been a constant in my head like a favourite pop song. So I was rather surprised this morning on taking down from the shelf the book – Ariel – to find that Sylvia Plath actually wrote: 'What a thrill – / My thumb instead of an onion.' A thrill indeed.
Yesterday I delivered the final draft of the thing that was new and difficult to the people who after reading it will tell me things I already know about my weaknesses. But I don't care, it's done and I'm free to go back into the kitchen. Or play with my birthday presents. Or read a book.
Last night, by way of a small celebration I made Tortilla for supper which we had with my latest favourite drink: an Australian sparkling wine that actually does taste of pear-drops. The first time I ever ate Tortilla was from a deli in St. Albans: a thick slab of cold egg the colour of butter liberally dotted with fried potatoes and onions. I couldn't believe how delicious it was: salty, oniony, oily heaven. I've been making it ever since, though we tend to eat it hot straight from the pan, too impatient to wait for it to cool down. Lucky Bob gets to have it cold for his packed lunch the next day too.
500grams of waxy spuds
two large onions
6 large eggs
olive oil (not extra virgin)
Boil the spuds til they're softish. Heat a good layer of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the spuds to the hot oil and brown them all over. Slice the onions as you like them, über-fine isn't necessary, and add them to the pan. Let the onions catch a bit in places. Break the eggs into a bowl or jug and with a very delicate hand cut the yolks into the whites until all is yellow. Sprinkle salt onto the spuds and onions then add the eggs. Keeping the heat low so as not to burn the egg leave it until the egg has set. Sometimes I faff about lifting the edges as they cook to allow the runny stuff to hit the pan, other times I just leave it and then put the whole thing under the grill to set the top. Last night I faffed cos I was in full kitchen mood, I wanted to feel thoroughly involved in the process of getting supper on the table.
I like to serve this with a salad of mixed peppery leaves dressed with mustardy vinaigrette, and maybe a hunk of crusty bread for mopping purposes.
I meant, this year, to try and grow my own onions, but what with one thing and another I didn't get round to organizing it. I wonder if it's too late now? What I really need is an allotment where there are people who know these things all around.
The sun being over the yard arm and all