Thursday, 9 April 2009
Springtime thoughts . . .
I'm just a fool for April
I love each tender day,
More kind than March's mayhem,
Less bold than teasing May,
Sweet April's wild and lovely,
With eyes as bright as rain,
She's graceful as the bluebells
That bloom in every lane.
She startles in an instant,
Her smiles may turn to tears,
But when she laughs, a little glimpse
Of Summer's joy appears.
Oh what a beautiful spring day we had here yesterday. It started out gloomy and dull in the morning, but before too long the clouds had parted, and the there was the sun in all it's glory, beaming down upon us and teasing us with the promise of summer's delight.
The birds sing prettier now than at any other time of year, and walking to work in the morning has become an occasion of pure and utter joy to me. Their lovely cries echo all around me in the treetops and hedgerows. This is the season of love for them . . . and homemaking and nesting . . . Soon their days will be busy with the endless finding of food for their gaping mouthed, always hungry broods. We have several nesting boxes hanging from a few trees in the garden, but I have never checked to see if they are being used.
Some years we have flycatchers nesting out behind the sheds up at work. They are quite wonderful to watch. On a summer's evening we often go down and sit at the tennis courts and just watch and listen, but it is too early for that just yet . . .
There are quite a few doves that nest in our treetops out front and quite a few wood pigeons that do the same. They do make an awful squawking when they are disturbed and are so clumsy in their charge to get away . . . I mean them no harm. I am only walking past . . . but this they do not know . . .
One year Todd tried to make a space in the garden just for hedgehogs. Each night he would put a little dish of cat food out for them at the end of the garden in a spot he had all fenced off just for them . . . a place where they could be safe, with a small shelter for them as well . . . but we saw nary a one . . . lots of bunnies though.
Looking through our garden we can see the extensive damage that this past winter has done. With the bitter cold some of our plants did not survive. All the plants in our rockery are gone and so they will have to be replaced and of course none of our geranium's made it through. We have been quite lucky in years past and been able to keep them in our shed over the winter. It just got too cold this year I guess. Our beautiful fuscia did not make it either . . .
Our minds are turned towards what we want to plant that will bring us joy over these next few months . . . my thoughts turn to pansies . . . I love their little upturned faces and then of course there are the sweet peas . . . I do love them so. We like to plant them underneath one window in the kitchen, and during the warm summer months, in the early evening, we can smell their beautiful scent in the fading warmth of a sunny day. I see the columbine and the lupins have made it through though, which is good news . . . and all of our flowering bushes. Even the Wisteria that Todd so brutally trimmed back several years ago has made it through. Most years blackbirds nest amongst it's twisting branches. They have a most beautiful song . . .
Yes . . . spring is awakening the garden all around me. Fat bumble bees bumble along and bump from wee blossom to wee blossom . . . the forget-me-nots and tulips and the early flowering shrubs. Behind our house, just across the hedge I see the orchards getting ready to break into bloom and in a few weeks, with the gentle ministrations of the warming sun it will be a sea of beautiful blossom and wonderful fragrance.
Oh this purely is bliss . . . if anywhere on earth was heavenly . . . this must be so . . .
I cooked Todd some lovely pork chops the other night. I don't ever seem to do things the same way twice. I am always looking for a new way and a new taste. Thankfully Todd doesn't mind being my guinea pig. In fact . . . I think he quite likes it!
*Spicy Pork Chops With Peaches*
Oh my but these are some tasty. I just love peaches and pork is a meat that goes so very well with fruit. Tender, juicy and spicy these chops please on many levels. I simply served them with rice and a vegetable and it was a meal fit for a king!
2 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS, plus 1/3 cup orange juice
2 TBS soy sauce
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless pork chops
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups peeled and thickly sliced peaches
Combine the brown sugar, 2 TBS of orange juice, soy sauce, cardamom, curry powder and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
Trim all the fat off of your pork chops. Place them into a heavy plastic bag or between two sheets of cling film and bash them with a rolling pin (gently) until they are about 1/3 of an inch thick and uniform in size. (this also helps to tenderize them) Place them into a shallow glass dish and pour the spice mixture over top. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes, or cover and place in the fridge to marinate for up to 2 hours.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Shake off any excess marinade (reserving marinade) and cook the chops in the heated pan, browning well on both sides. This should take about 2 minutes per side. While the chops are browning, add the peaches to the marinade, turning them to coat them all over.
Add the remaining 1/3 cup of orange juice to the pan and bring to a simmer, stirring. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the chops, turning occasionally,until the chops are cooked through, some 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chops from the pan to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Keep warm.
Add the peaches and the reserved marinade to the pan. Increase the pan heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid is reduced to a light sauce. Stir any juices from the resting pork chops. To serve, spoon the sauce and peaches over the chops.