For me, being a little kid in 1960s country Australia was idyllic, and I don’t think it’s because nostalgia has crowded out more sober or disturbing memories. It was just a safe, secure and happy childhood, untroubled by violence or poverty or strife, and full of love from parents who nurtured and cared for me – what we all hope and dream of for our children.
I come from a family of five siblings, very close in age, so we had a ready made gang and a pretty free-range childhood. Things that today’s parents would not dream of allowing their children to do were just a part of everyday life; we walked to and from school from the very first day, rambled unsupervised in the paddock behind our house, clambered over rusty tractors and among the hay bales in the shed of our friend’s farm, and scared each other witless playing Spotlight and Bogeyman in the darkness of our sprawling acre of garden.
Sunday drives, picnics at the seaside, family parties and church fellowship teas always included sandwiches, and mum’s specialties were ham and pickles, roast beef and mustard, and curried egg. I have made egg sandwiches my own over the last few years, especially as I have catered for a number afternoon tea weddings, where finger sandwiches are always on the menu. I make them with rye bread or a dark multi grain loaf in contrast to the filling. Needless to say the 1960s version was always soft white bread. Enjoy these sandwiches next time you picnic with friends, or want something a little fancy for afternoon tea,
Makes 12 finger sandwiches
15 cm piece of celery, very finely diced
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream or natural yoghurt
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices bread, rye or wholegrain are best
Place the eggs in a medium sized saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and pour off the water. When cool enough to handle peel the eggs. In a glass bowl and using a fork, mash the eggs until the the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the celery, nuts, chives, mayonnaise and sour cream and season to your taste with salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Place the mixture in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes. divide the mixture between 4 slices of bread, making sure that the filling goes right to the edge of the crusts. Top with the remaining slices of bread and press gently together. Using an electric knife carefully cut the crusts off the sandwiches and then slice each sandwich into three fingers. If not serving right away cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.