My dreams of becoming a dirty hippy are finally materialising. I wrote about being invited on trips with Blenderman and his friends a while ago, and last weekend was one of the more memorable occasions of me tagging along. On this particular occasion, I was invited to spend the weekend in Liguria, one of my favourite regions in Italy, in a camper van! This was my first time in a camper van and I thought it was awesome. We were a company of five smelly people and two dogs. Admittedly, no drugs were used, and there was no slightly off-key guitar to play us shitty music, but I felt like a goddamn treehugger all the same, strutting about barefoot and having my hair all messed up with sand and seawater.
What I hadn’t expected is that a camper van is actually a pretty comfortable way of travelling. If you manage to ignore the stuff that you haven’t secured properly flying around and hitting you in the head whenever you take a sharp curve (of which, incidentally, there are quite a lot in Liguria), you can just chill out on a bench whilst you’re travelling, or you can even settle down on the big bed, the one above the driver’s seat, and watch the scenery from the big front window. It’s amazing, I tell you. The bed was actually a lot more comfortable than expected, especially because I got to share the big double bed upstairs (“upstairs”) and I was never cold! The lack of a shower is something you just have to live with (the heating didn’t work but there’s showers on the beach so you can rinse off the worst of the salt and just ignore the rest of three days’ accumulated filth).
As for the kitchen, it was actually more spacious, comfortable and well-equipped than some of the kitchens I’ve seen in my student days. I hadd expected to have to eat out all the time, so imagine my surprise the first morning when the owner of the camper van suddenly whipped out a caffettiera and a jar of coffee, folded up some seemingly solid furniture and magically MacGyvered a cooker with two fully functioning hobs! I was dead impressed.
On Saturday afternoon two people of our company returned from the local supermarket with a bunch of food, including eggs and asparagus. “For you, Ditta, so you can make breakfast tomorrow!” Dude, I’m not even mad, that’s a fucking amazing idea. How did they come up with that? I mean, asparagus and eggs is definitely something I would make for breakfast, but coming from Italians, it seemed like a pretty radical choice. Never mind the fact that they’re making the only woman in the company cook breakfast. I’m a bit of a raging feminist, but I was too chuffed with the amazing breakfast idea to hold it against them. Plus, I like cooking and I felt that I had to justify my presence somehow, seeing that I was sort of tagging along and the camper van owner had never even met me before agreeing to have me on the trip.
Only one thing was lacking: ham. You see, I have this trick for when you’re working with kitchen equipment of unknown quality. Eggs tend to get stuck to old frying pans like nothing else, and if you don’t want to use six litres of oil, you have to come up with something else. That’s what the ham is for: it doesn’t get stuck to the pan as much, so you use a modest amount of oil, then cover the frying pan with slices of ham, and you fry the eggs on those. Works like a charm and actually, it’s a golden combo with the asparagus as well.
So, asparagus, ham and eggs for breakfast!
As you will imagine, surely, this recipe is really a suggestion for a combination of ingredients, rather than a recipe. But here you go, anyway. For 5 people, use:
- one bundle or half a kilo of green asparagus
- 10 eggs
- about 5 slices of ham, depending on how big they are, of course
- some oil for frying
Assuming you’re working with a camper van cooker and you can only use one hob at a time, start with your asparagus. Cut off the woodeny bits at the bottom, then just chuck them in your frying pan with some olive oil. When they’re all cooked, keep them warm somewhere (I used an upside-down plate).
Now cover the bottom of your frying pan with ham, cover the ham with eggs (as many as you can fit in the pan so that everyone can eat as soon as possible) and cover with a lid to promote swifter cooking. Repeat with the remaining ham and eggs. Serve up!