Eggs and effigies

What a social whirl this week. Cake after cake, treat after treat, chocolates every which way. On Tuesday we had some fun at the Muenster Family Restaurant:

Awesome pork chops. Lemon potatoes. Mmmm, be it ever so humble….

Then we marched back through the frosty night air to have cake with Fr Demetrius, to celebrate his birthday, with musical stylings by Reg.

Thursday was the colony’s weekly reading and we did a mini-tour of two of our artists’ studios as well. Shelley showed us the beginnings of another of her awesome photographic projects, this one documenting a buffalo effigy in Saskatchewan. Apparently such effigies are not unusual in Saskatchewan; they’re made of boulders and often featuring turtles or human figures, but this seems to be the only one of a buffalo. She’s taken 1500 photos which she’s merging for a life-sized reproduction which will measure about 15 by 35 feet. I have yet to walk all over the project she showed us last time I was here, which was stunningly beautiful photography of tipi rings, now installed on the floor of the Regina Airport.

We then had a look at Honor’s charcoal portraits. If all life begins from carbon, she reasoned, what could she create with a simple stick of burnt willow? Some kind of beautiful, it was. Portraits of many of the writers who are here again this year, and she’s going to add some other life forms too including Tipsy the sheep who just gave birth to lovely little lambs (clocking in at 12 lbs each).

And lambs there are a-plenty just now.

Buddy’s a trainee sheepdog.

Maureen tells me that the farmer told her a great story about Buddy’s training. He was taken out to a field to meet the sheep, and when he got out there in the middle of them, they all gathered in a circle around them. He looked them all over for a minute and then went and licked each sheep’s nose in turn. I think he’s gonna work out just fine.

I whirled up a batch of Uova Tonnato for aperitivo hour, and was fortunate to find that Cupid had decorated the table before I got there.

I have earlier given a link to Delia’s version of this magical sauce, but as many seemed to want an actual recipe, here’s my modified version of a nice simple one, from my treasured Good Cook series. When choosing your tuna, remember that Bluefin and Yellowfin are endangered (overfishing) and even Albacore, which I’d heard was the one sustainable species, is also being dramatically overfished. Alas…

Uova Tonnato (Eggs in Tuna Sauce)

Based on a recipe for Vitello Tonnato/Veal in Tuna Sauce, from The Home Book of Italian Cookery, Beryl Gould-Marks (Good Cook: Beef & Veal)

3.5 oz (125g) can tuna, preferably packed in olive oil, drained
3-4 anchovy fillets, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and patted dry
1 cup (250 ml) (approx) olive or other good quality oil
1-2 tsp (5-10 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp capers, rinsed & drained well
salt & pepper
1 dozen organic free range eggs, hard-boiled, shelled and sliced

  • Puree tuna, anchovy and capers to a paste; add enough oil by drops to make a thin mayonnaise. Add lemon juice and seasonings to taste. Best if left a few hours or overnight so flavours can meld.
  • Drizzle over the egg slices and garnish with a scattering of capers. Use bread, cauliflower or cucumber or celery sticks to mop up the sauce.
  • For shockingly good not-devilled eggs, try stuffing them with a mixture of hard-cooked yolks plus Tonnato sauce.
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