Saturday, May 8, 2010

Orchids in Bloom

Not a day goes by that I don't think about my Mom. Thank goodness for digital cable service, which includes discounted international phone rates. At least I can indulge in having long conversations with her to my heart's content, without having to pay exorbitant phone fees or suffering the inconvenience of using phone cards. But upon hanging up the receiver at the end of the call, I feel like I'm zapped back in time and space, back to the moment immediately before making the phone call, enveloped by a sudden sadness. The irony of pressing the "talk" button to end my call does not escape me.

Living overseas, I have developed a kind of sixth sense that is part memory - remembering my most treasured moments with her, and part imagination - wishing I'm with her and not being 5000 miles away, which has made me cope being so far away from Mama.

Seemingly common things trigger powerful, pleasant memories. Seeing a bouquet of flowers or orchids in a vase would make memories explode in my mind. Similar to what the narrator felt in Marcel Proust's novel, wherein a bite into a madeleine awakens vivid memories of the past and the happiness associated with it, I am reminded of my childhood days when I wake up and couldn't find my mom in the house. I would then check the garden wherein, sure enough, she is with her orchids doing her morning ritual of "talking" to them. The delicate and stunning orchids in bloom, and even the tiny buds that are just about to bloom, would always bring a bright smile to her face, like she's hypnotized by its beauty ... I would imagine her replanting, regrouping or propagating different plants and flowers, and with the use of nylon stockings, she would tie them around the betel nut trees that surrounded our house.

My mom is not into music or songs but I remember she once told me that when she hears the song "I Know Him So Well" (a hit from the 80's), she remembers the days when I used to play the song on the piano and my sister would belt out the song. So when I heard my flatmate play the song this morning, I was transported back in time, during those hot summer days, in our house in my hometown. Where the glistening wooden walls echoed the sound of the piano... and the chorus of voices singing along with the boisterous laughter.  Although I didn't know it then, my mom revealed that it brought so much joy to her heart seeing and hearing her children sing and acting silly....

As I look at the fridge with my leftover spaghetti sauce, boom, I can imagine my mom say: "make some estralladu (omellette)". Yes Ma, look I made eggplant omelet with my leftover pasta sauce like you always did before, only I made my own signature of tweaking the dish and modernizing it.

Thank you for always being there for me, and for the memories that make it possible for me to always be with you... like a time machine to carry me back to you… especially today on Mother’s Day.


Left-over spaghetti sauce (if you don't have any leftovers, saute' some ground beef and add tomato sauce then season it with salt and pepper)
2 eggplants
4 eggs, beaten
frozen green peas

Grill the eggplants until the skin is burnt like so:

Let it cool.  Meanwhile beat the eggs lightly.  Add the ground beef or the left-over spaghetti sauce.   When the eggplant is cold enough to handle, peel off the skin and give it a light mash.  Add the eggplant into the egg mixture.

Using a microwavable poached egg maker, pour the egg mixture on the one side and cover. Microwave it on high for 2 minutes. If it's not yet cooked at this point, microwave it for another minute. Let it stand, Unmold the poached egg maker and voila... you will enjoy your omelette in no time...



  1. cute post about your mum... have happy conversations! Cheers.

  2. Malou, this is so so cut, i cant imagine stayn that far from Mommy dear!!
    But i love the beautiful conversations u guys mus have!
    And well ,mama would sure be proud of the Ommey and her dear daughter!
    Are u on Facebbook?
    would love to have u as a pal there if yes!
    and hope ur adaptin well to ur new Job!!!

  3. Fantastic heartfelt post. You Mother should be very proud of the daughter she raised. Have a blessed Sunday.


  4. Thank you for the beautiful story and recipe! I adore the soft egg and grilled eggplant :)

  5. hi megan" thanks for stopping by... good luck on your online store... love your aprons!

    Mia: yes I do have facebook... email me your FB name so we could connect through that network:

    Lararo: it's always feels good to see you stop by... i feel honored to have you comment on my posts... please do come by every so often.. thanks mucho!

    lacquer spoon: how's my friend from the land of the rising sun... hopefully i will come visit japan soon.. not just at the airports hahaha...

  6. Lovely story. I miss my mom. She is so far away. I hope to go back and visit her soon. Love your egg and eggplant dish.

  7. Hi Malou, Love your post about your Mother and your breakfast looks delectable. Have a wonderful Sunday and a good talk with your Mom.

  8. Oh Malou, Happy Mother's Day!! It must be so hard to be far away from your mom, she sounds like such a dear heart...and similar in spirit to my mom! I have a feeling they would have gotten along quite well (like us!). And I gasped when I saw the torta, I completely forgot about this dish but my mom used to make it for us too!!! Thank you for the reminder!!! Hope you have a special Nanay's day with your family!!!

  9. This looks delicious. You gave us a wonderful recipe and a wonderful story. Thanks for both. This is my first visit here, but I'll be back more often. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  10. Thanks for sharing such an easy recipe. Look very delicious!

  11. What a wonderful post about your mom and the eggplant omelets look terrific! Happy mother's day!

  12. Mary: Your mom is in Malaysia right? oh well... i know how that feels...

    Penny: hello and happy mother's day to you too Penny!

    Liren: Oh yeah i had a wonderful Nanay's day... they really didn't want me to do anything... i could get used to this hahahah.

    Mary: Mabuhay and welcome to my site. I really hope to see you more... cheers!

    Ellie: so nice of you to come by...I am tickled pink that you are here today.

    Natasha: Happy mother's day to you too...thanks for the sweet words as always!

  13. Thank you for sharing an easy recipe for tortang talong. And thank you for sharing memories of your lovely mom.

  14. Wonderful post and lovely tribute to mom.
    I also loved that dish you created. Mouthwatering.

  15. Really lovely post for Mother's Day!
    And I love your eggplant and egg dish!

  16. Oh... and I left an award for you on my blog.

  17. M - This is a touching post about the deep and close relationship you have with you mother. I can relate to the morning ritual of tending to precious orchids. It always seems like a miracle to me when they bloom. BTW, have you used skype to call overseas? If so, I'm curious about your experience.

  18. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching post! I can't imagine being that far from my mom...why I could never move to the west coast.

    At least you can feel close to her through food...these eggplant omelets look like something I would ADORE!

  19. Oh! I love eggplants and always looking for recipes to cook it...thanks, will definitely try it this way :-) By the way, love your post.

  20. Aww Malou. I totally know what you mean. I always think about my Lola. She passed away so long ago but I still remember every happy moment with her. Your quick and easy recipe for tortang talong. Thats one of my favourite dishes. Especially with heaps of ketchup..

  21. oh looks great its so hard being away from home isn't it email any words of advice lol

  22. lovely story, and yummy that looks great :O) thanks for sharing!


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