Sunday 13 November 2011

A list of lights

We spent the day walking around a new little town a few weekends ago, and when I got back home, the camera showed me something I wasn't aware of. I take pictures of lights. A lot. As in lampshades, and street lights, candles and chandeliers. I dare not think what light Freud's couch would've thrown on that.

Sometimes these lamps hang low, intruding on private moments. One hung from the ceiling of a coffee shop, above a couple who leaned into each other. Their fingers nearly touching, but their feet tucked away under their own chairs, as if to quieten the eagerness of their torsos.

An old rusty lamp, looked down at passersby on a pavement. How many years had it been there, hunched over hurrying people, melting snow and pub brawls? Along the way, it had lost its bulb. Now, every evening, it gave the pavement a patch of dark, for people who needed the privacy of shadows.

At a restaurant, a chandelier hung poised above a large family gathered for Sunday lunch. There were grandparents, a few pairs of parents, three teenagers, a toddler, a dog and plates of pasta. The crystals in the chandelier broke up and shattered the light in the same way the toddler's cries fragmented the chain of conversation at the table.

Behind a shop window hung vintage glass lamps that had crossed over from Calais to Dover to lend unimaginative interiors a Parisienne chic. There were enamel lampshades hanging over freshly baked bread. Bright spotlights above swathes of Amy Butler fabric. And a naked bulb at a market stall that lit up a basket of speckled quail eggs.

Quail eggs with coriander & chilli aioli

This is the most gorgeous, garlicky, pale-green aioli. And it packs a punch. Once you've made it, you will have to double the recipe many times over, because it will seem really important to always have an entire jar of it on hand, to spoon out and smear at the slightest excuse.


12 quail eggs
3 tbs mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic
3 tbs chopped coriander leaves
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 tbs olive oil
A little squeeze of lemon
A pinch of salt

Put quail eggs in a pan, cover with cold water and put on the heat. As soon as the water begins to boil, watch the clock for 1 1/2 minutes, then remove pan from heat and let the eggs stand in hot water for another minute. Peel shells and cut eggs lengthwise in half.

Now, the aioli. In a small food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and blitz till smooth. Top the eggs with dollops of the most gorgeous aioli, pale green and packing a punch!


  1. Sensational writing there Ms. Ghosh. The quail eggs look quaint and sublime.
    Photography - way too awe inspiring.

  2. many many thanks, ms. menon :) much appreciated!

  3. Beautifully written, Pia.

  4. thanks orko, for reading, and for leaving a comment here. *all smiles*

  5. Beautiful photographs, and writing of course! Some happier jam jars too! Emma :)


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