Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Hanging out, Being, Remaining, Staying

Every now and then a word or phrase haunts me. It appears in my dreams, pops into my head when I am idle, repeats likes stuck record. 'Stay with me, Lord, and teach me to stay with you', is one such phrase. It comes from a homily. I do not remember the Gospel, or the day, but the phrase will not go away. I connect it, in my mind, with another homily, given on a another day in a different place at a different time. This time the Gospel was John 15: 1 - 17: remain in my love. That word remain, could also be stay, or perhaps have some other meanings...

There are, apparently, 9 ways of translating the Greek word 'meno', and John uses 7: abide, remain, stay, live, dwell, be together, be. I liked that when I heard it. It was summer, June, if I remember rightly.  It made me think of what it is like when you first start 'hanging out' with someone and you cannot get enough of them. You relax completely in their company, laugh and the whole world lights up. There is something of Christmas in that delight: something of an exquisite summer day in the depths of winter. Of course, the time to 'hang out' will eventually become a time to 'stay' or 'remain' as we move through the liturgy into Lent and Easter, we know that already - the gifts of the Magi point us to it. But, for now I just want to 'be' and maybe 'hang out' a bit. I might read the Gospels again, especially my favourite, John; sneak into candlelit cathedrals and churches on my travels around the countryside, seek out the crib scenes in villages as I pass through on foot, by car or by bike; listen to those Christmas Carols and try to work out what it was that so inspired the lyricist or composer; light up the fire at home, and the Christmas candles and the crib.

One of the great culinary events of holidays is the leisured breakfast. Most of the working year round, there is never time. Proper breakfast, in my life at least, is reserved for holidays and Sundays, and it is always a privilege. It is the time just to 'be' with friends and family because you only ever do it when you really have time to 'hang out'.


Gypsy Style Baked Eggs
(It's a Jamie!)

1 mild Chorizo, cut into 1cm slices
A couple of small handfuls of frozen Peas
4 Eggs
Slices of grilled Sourdough Bread, to serve

Roasted Tomato Sauce

500g Tomatoes, quartered
1/2 Carrot
1/4 Leek, cut into 4
1/2 Red onion chopped
3 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 Parsley stalks
2 sprigs of Rosemary
1 Bayleaf
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsbp Smoked Paprika
100ml White Wine
30ml Sherry Vinegar

For the roasted tomato sauce, place all the ingredients, apart from the wine and vinegar, onto a tray and roast at 200C for 25 minutes, or until the vegetables and tomatoes have coloured. Once everything is cooked, place a pan on high heat and add wine and vinegar. When reduced by half, add the vegetables and cook for a further minute or so, till well combined and thick. Blend with a handheld blender and season well.

Using a griddle pan, cook the chorizo slices for 1 minute on each side. Pour a good layer of sauce into an ovenproof dish. Add the chorizo and peas and crack in the eggs. Bake in the oven at 200C for 12 minutes, or until the whites are cooked but the yokes are runny. Serve with grilled sourdough toasts. Eat leisurely.

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