Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Tying knots in our tethers . . .
I reckon that nobody gets through this life without having experienced difficulties at one time or another. The test of greatness lays in how we handle them and what our attitude is towards them. When you look at those we seem to put on pedestals, you can easily see that they are no strangers to pain or disappointment no matter how charmed a life it might appear that they are living on the surface. Indeed, into each life some rain must fall . . . and into some lives more rain falls than in others. I was thinking about this the other day and found some great quotes that some famous people have made about this very subject.
General Charles De Gaulle said, "I find difficulties and problems attractive. It is only by coming to grips with difficulty that I can realize my potentialities."
Bishop Philip Brooks wrote, "I do not pray for an easy life, I pray to be a stronger man; I do not pray for tasks equal to my powers, but pray for powers equal to my tasks."
John Mason Neale, remembered for his carols "Good King Wenceslas" and "Good Christian Men Rejoice", is quoted as saying, "If possible it shall be done, and if impossible, it must be done."
Nobody can avoid suffering at some time and we are often tempted to ask when bad things happen . . . "Why me?" The truth is, that through our life's experience, both the good and the bad . . . much of the warmth, understanding and compassion inherent in each of us can and has the opportunity to emerge . . . if we will only let it.
I am reminded of the great composer, Sir Edward Elgar and this story. One day he sat listening to a young singer who was singing with faultless technique and marvellous tone . . .
"She is good," he said afterwards, "but not great. When something happens in her life to touch her heart . . . then she will be great."
I love the heartfelt prayer of an unknown writer, which says . . . "Lord, when I get to the end of my tether, tie a knot in it for me to hold on to."
May we, each one of us, find knots in the ends of our tethers and the strength to be able to get over the potholes in the road of life . . .
I have been slimming lately, or at least trying to. The hardest part comes in me trying to take the weight off, whilst trying to keep the weight on Todd. He is one of those lucky people who seemingly can eat whatever he likes and never gains an ounce. Actually he has a real problem keeping weight on and loses it at the drop of a hat and so it's a real struggle to keep him at a good weight. Anyways, it's been slimming food for me and of course I don't have time to cook two separate meals so he gets it as well and I try to augment it for him with extra potatoes and a treat or two. Yesterday I made him some gingerbread, which he really loves and I served it up to him after his dinner with a delicious Cider Lemon Sauce and a huge dollop of whipped cream on top. It went down a real treat!
Makes one 8 inch cake
This gingerbread is everything that a good gingerbread should be . . . dark, moist and spicy.
2 large eggs
3/4 cup molasses
(if you cannot get molasses in your area as is sometimes the case, use equal parts of golden syrup and dark treacle as a substitute)
1 scant cup of packed light or dark brown sugar
2 TBS ground ginger
1/4 tsp each, ground allspice, cinnamon and freshly ground black pepper
the grated zest of one lemon
2 cups of flour, sifted
6 TBS butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter and flour an 8 inch square pan and set it aside.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and frothy. Add the molasses and continue to beat. Stir together the brown sugar, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, pepper and lemon zest. Gradually add this mixture to the beaten egg mixture, beating it together until well blended.
Lower the speed of the mixer and beat in about 1/3 of the flour, then the melted butter and then another third of the flour. Stir together the buttermilk, milk and soda and then stir that into the batter. Fold the last third of the flour into the batter, mixing it in only until it is evenly blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the gingerbread shrinks slightly away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. If you find that the gingerbread is browning too quickly while it is baking, loosely cover it with some foil halfway through the baking time.
Cool it in the pan on a wire rack and cut into large squares to serve along with some of the following sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.
*Cider Lemon Sauce*
Makes about 1 3/4 cups
Lemon sauces are perfect to serve with warm gingerbread. This one is a little bit different than the usual lemon sauce, and oh so very delicious!
1/3 cup sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup pressed apple juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
the finely grated zest of one lemon
Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a saucepan until the mixture is free of lumps. Whisk in the cider and salt and then place over medium heat. Bring to the boil and then boil gently, whisking until smooth and lightly thickened, about five minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Cool to lukewarm. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve spooned over the warm gingerbread. Any leftover sauce can be kept tightly covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.