Michele Roberts enacts the perfect equinox ritual

Eggs and chopped vegetables: all you need to enact the perfect equinox ritual

Still racing after ideas for good fast food that can be cooked at home, I have decided that quick preparation is the key. As soon as you get in, dump your coat and bag, kiss any nearest and dearest hanging around, whizz into the kitchen, don your apron. Don't shilly-shally: just decide quickly what you fancy eating. Speed up your gestures. Practise slashing onions and thwacking carrots faster and faster. Keep your work surface cleared and your knives super-sharp; whet your chopping and slicing on the stone of your hunger and greed. Within five minutes, you'll have a heap of vegetables ready for the pan.

From these and from a box of organic eggs, you can conjure feasts. Eggs, as a symbol of springtime, of fertility and renewal, seem particularly apt for this time of year. As the Zoroastrian New Year, celebrated by Parsis across the globe, fell on 21 March, an apt seasonal choice for the current equinox would be a Parsi dish. Joyce Westrip, in her new book Fire and Spice: Parsi cookery (Serif, £9.99), recommends the spiced omelette eedan no poro: "You will be able to have a light but nutritious meal on the table in a matter of minutes."

All you do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl and then cook them. Combine three lightly beaten eggs, one finely chopped onion, two to three finely chopped green chillies, two tablespoons of finely chopped coriander leaves, one medium finely chopped tomato, half a teaspoon of ground black pepper, a quarter-teaspoon of turmeric powder, half a teaspoon of cumin powder, salt to taste and three teaspoons of ghee. You heat the ghee in a small non-stick frying pan, pour in the egg mixture, fry on one side, turn, and fry and set the other side.

I tested this recipe, chopping everything at top speed, and indeed got it on the table in less than 15 minutes. Absolutely delicious. It made me feel completely springlike as I gazed through the kitchen window at the hail and snow outside.

Eggs play a significant part in Parsi rituals, Westrip says. At weddings, eggs are put on a tray together with rice, coconut and fresh flowers. In a special prenuptial ceremony, an older woman, usually the mother of the bride, takes an egg in her right hand, rotates it seven times over the groom's head and then smashes the egg next to the groom's feet. (How delightful to see older women, reviled in the west for having no more eggs, playing such an important and powerful role.) The rotating of the egg seven times supposedly infuses the celebrant woman with energy. The egg absorbs any evil destined for the groom, and its smashing ensures the evil's destruction. This sounds like an excellent recipe for ensuring the new husband gets on well with his future mother-in-law.

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