Sunday, 9 November 2008

Flying Kites . . .



When I was a child I dreamed of being able to fly a kite and have it soar through the air like a bird on the wing. I can remember many Saturday mornings spent with tree branches, scraps of yarn and string, and old brown paper grocery sacks . . . cutting, colouring, taping and tying all the parts together, and creating what looked to be a beautiful kite. It would be all I could do to get through lunch so that we could go outdoors and try to fly it.



I would have such lofty dreams pinned on those few branches and bits of paper and colour and . . . whilst it may have held itself aloft for a few minutes, it never stayed up for very long, or achieved the promise of my dreams.

One time I saved all my pennies and purchased a real kite. I had been admiring one for weeks in the local Rexall Drug store. I did not have many pennies, so, as you can imagine, it was not a very good kite . . . only a few bits of plastic tubing and some very flimsy coloured plastic for the body of the kite. It did hold aloft for a bit longer than those paper and stick ones I had made though, so was well worth my tiny investment.



Truth is though, a kite is really only as good as the person who is flying it . . . and I was not very good.

One could quite well imagine the kite up there in the air having a conversation with itself and saying . . . "I'm up here flying high and gracefully, despite that horrible child down there hanging on to my string. Were it not for her . . . I could float off into the air and perhaps even visit the moon . . . sigh."

I wonder though if it would . . . it seemed that whenever I lost touch with the string, the kite would crash or become entangled in a tree or some such. Without me to tether it, it never stayed up long or had any direction or sense of purpose . . .



The thought occurs to me this morning that we, ourselves, are a bit like kites. Oh how we love to soar and raise our eyes from our earthbound realm from time to time . . . but just like the kite, we need a tether to help keep us sensibly grounded, so that we don't crash into trees or become entangled in power lines. Spirits were made for soaring after all, but we do need inspirational and loving guidance from time to time . . . the touch of the Master's hands.



We had a lovely day in Romford yesterday. It was really lousy weather to drive in by. Rain and wind and we did pass one accident on the way which really kept the traffic on the A21 snarled up for a time, but we, thankfully, got there in one piece. It was lovely to see Todd's brother and sister in law and niece and spend some time with them. They are such lovely people and it really does my heart good to see Todd enjoying time with his family. There are so very few of them around, we really should get together more often.

I still have no counter tops in my kitchen. Actually I lied. I do have one over by the window but it has the sink in it. Perhaps on Monday I shall get the rest. I do have some lovely white ceramic knobs on the cupboards. They look lovely against the oak, and the counter top that is there looks like white granite. I will be sure to take some pictures when it is all done to share with you.



I have a lovely Lemon Square recipe to share with you all this morning. I just love Lemon anything. Not Todd's favourite cup of tea unless it is quite sweet really, he doesn't like sour things, but I adore them. You have a lovely buttery crust topped with a tangy, yet sweet lemon curd topping. These have long been my favourites!





*Tangy Lemon Bars*

Makes 16

These bars are perfect for an afternoon tea or special occasion. They have a delicious buttery shortbread type of crust and a wonderfully tangy sweet topping. It's a compilation of several different similar recipes that I have used through the years. I took the best bits of each and combined them to make what I think are the absolute best!

For the crust:
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
1/3 cup sifted icing sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup ice cold butter, cut into bits

For the filling:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
the finely grated zest of one lemon

For topping:
1/4 - 1/2 cup of icing sugar, sifted

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly butter a nine inch square baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter it again. (I use two pieces criss crossed with at least a 2 inch overhang on each side so that when the squares are completely cooled I can just lift them out using the sides as handles. It's very easy to cut them into perfect squares then.)

Put the flour, cornflour and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor along with a pinch of salt. Blitz it once or twice to mix. Add the cold butter and pulse a few times until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and press them out evenly with your fingertips, creating a little bit of an edge on the sides. Chill for 15 minutes.

Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes, until set and beginning to lightly brown. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 160*C/325*F.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together in a bowl. Beat together the eggs and lemon juice and whisk this mixture into the dry mixture, making sure all are well incorporated. Pour this mixture over the partially baked crust.

Place back in the oven and bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes. Check at 20 minutes. The filling should be completely set and lightly browned. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled sift the icing sugar evenly over the top, coating it well. Remove from the pan and then cut into even squares with a sharp knife.

Put your feet up and enjoy!

16 comments:

Grammy Staffy said...

I do love lemon bars and I will definately make these....soon....maybe tomorrow. I think perhaps they would be better than the Sunday dinner dessert I have ready....or maybe I should have both..never hurts to have an extra goodie does it??

As you can tell I love sweet things.....I suppose that is one reason I love you!!!

I'm glad that you had a nice visit with Todd's bother and family. I'm glad that the rain didn't cause you any trouble on the road.

I surely wish that you would send some of that rain my way. We really need it. It is cooler here now...in the 80s instead of the 90s but we really need some rain.

Have a good day...Happy Sunday to you. I'd better say good night...Church comes early and it is better if I don't fall asleep during the meeting because I've been blogging too late the night before....hee hee...I'd never do such a thing!!!

(((hugs))) Lura

Traci said...

Love Lemon bars. So good for the soul to visit family.

Lucy said...

Your lemon squares look delicious. All things lemon will be a winner in my book! The rain doesnt look so cheery though - I think here in London we have escaped the rain for now, what we need are some high temperatures!
I've given you an award!

Joan said...

Flying a kite, that's something I have not done for a long time. I remember while on holiday with my Mum and Dad when our son was only 5he was given a kite. We were on the coast and thought it would be now trouble to fly it. My Mum tried and tried she was out with Richard in all weather trying to fly it my Dad joined in we all tried and tried. I think eventually they did get it to fly but what a time we had and a great laugh. Happy times. Love Joan

lisita15 said...

Marie, WOW!! I haven't flown a kit in like FOREVER!!!! great pics and your lemon bars looks fantastic! I love lemon cake, bars, etc.. I'll have to copy this and add it to my Marie gotta try this list!! LOL.. have a great day. Lisa

LIZ said...

I remember going to the park and trying to fly kites...I wasnt good at it either! Hope all is well sorry I havent been by in awhile there just arent enough hours in the day!!

Take care, Liz

hoLLy said...

i love your analogy between us and kites-i had never thought of that before. good thing the Lord is holding our string-if He wasn't we would be stuck in a tree forever with no one to get us down! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time! I haven't flown a kite in forever!

Sylvie said...

I love flying kites. Once when I was only about 12 or so I went with my friend out into the fields just after they had been harvested to fly a kite. I remember walking backwards with the kite while she was holding on to the strings so we could get it up in the air. She watched me walk backwards right into a ditch and disappear with just my legs sticking out. She still swears that she didn't know about the ditch, but I'm convinced she just wanted a good laugh!

cyndi/mom/nana said...

You might not believe this but as I read your blog I thought what a great analogy. Then when I opened this screen to comment I had seen that Holly had commented the same hey, what can say great minds think alike. So not wanting to sound redundant but I will "Great Analogy". You are so right. Brought back many good memories. Lemon Bars YUMMMY YUMMY. Soon my oven will be up and running and so will I. Thanks for your great posts. love cyndi

Bunny said...

I love lemon anything so these are right up my ally. Marie please do take pictures of your kitchen when it's done, I can't wait to see it!

Jan's Blog said...

I just adore your kite blog, and your comparing us to kites. It's a combination of childhood memories and life lessons. Thanks! P.S. Can't wait to try the lemon bars.

Erin said...

Oh I ADORE lemon bars! I'll be tucking this recipe into my book of recipes for sure! YUM!

Angie said...

The male kids in our family (and I include here my father and sundry uncles as well as my brother) would often shut themselves in the garden shed when it came to take down the runner bean poles. A pile of Old newspapers, bits of string and a few bottles of pop later out they would troop with the fruits of their labours, to fly the next day. Girls were not allowed to touch their precious kite, nor help with the flying of it, which was absolutely fine because I never, ever, knew one to do anything other than nose-dive into the nearest bramble bush or, at best, get stuck in the lower branches of a tree.

Good job God turned out better at pulling strings than them!!

Hope they put your kitchen right soon. Workmen in the house, no matter how careful they are, is always stressful I think.

love, Angie, xx

Jeanie said...

I have never flown a kite but always wondered what it would be like to do so. I bought all my grandsons a kite and watched one of them flying it by the seaside. The winds there are brilliant for kite flying. Even for amateurs! We could have stayed all day had it not been so cold. What freedom to be a kite! I agree the tethers are necessary but it's still lovely to imagine being one.
Lemon flavoured cakes are my number one flavours. I loved todays recipe Marie.
Must try it soon.
Hugs
Jeanie xxx

Gillie said...

I've been looking for a good lemon bar recipe!
xx