Friday, 6 November 2009
Friday Ramblings . . . .
I set the table full of food
And here they come, my hungry brood,
All flocking down with eager haste,
And not a morsel goes to waste.
A blue tit, swift on dancing wing
Is first to find the peanut string,
And then a robin, bold and bright
Is quick to feed . . . and quick to fight!
More mannerly, a song thrust calls
To glean the fruit and fat that falls
While finches swoop with joyful speed
At any sight of sunflower seed.
A blackbird's choice is apples, sweet
Yet sparrows care not what they eat
But gorge as long as food is there
Then fly away without a care.
No "thankyou" ever comes my way
For all the meals I set each day,
But my reward is in their song . . .
I'm serenaded, all year long!
Oh how I love to feed the birds. We have several feeders out in out garden and we keep them filled all year long. I do believe they are the best fed birds in the UK! They get all our stale bread and baking, plus we put out several different types of seed and nuts each day.
Our reward is in the watching. Todd and I both love to watch them at the feeders. Some can be quite aggressive, like surprisingly the robins, and other's are almost shy, just flitting in and then out again.
We get nuthatches, sparrows (of course) finches, robins, blackbirds, wagtails, thrushes, tits, amongst others. They're so much fun to watch. I think last year we clocked 18 different species of birds in our garden all told.
Some are annoying . . . like the Starlings, that come in and empty your feeders in short time . . . I have to remind myself each time that they are God's creatures too and have a right to be fed as well . . . they're just so greedy and aggressive, both with each other and with the other birds.
And then there are the squirrels . . . they are quite ingenuous in their drive to empty feeders. We have had great fun figuring out ways to keep them off, and I think we finally have that nut cracked as we have not had any in a while. But there have been times when we've found them quite entertaining to watch.
Nature is so beautiful, and watching the birds is something that Todd and I have had in common from the start. The reward is in the watching, and in the lovely birdsong that we get to listen to each day. It's so wonderful to be able to have something that you love so much that you can enjoy doing together. It's like the icing on the cake!
I have to go to the Dentist today for a rather big treatment. I had been going to another Dentist, and he had made a mistake with a filling in one of my back teeth, and so now I am having to go to a new Dentist to have his mistake undone. Most annoying, but really . . . what can you do? It's expensive too, but I will be glad to have it sorted once and for all. I hate going to the Dentist. I don't mind the check ups, but I hate having to have any work done at all. It makes me incredibly nervous and anxious. I hate needles and I hate drills and I hate the vulnerable feeling that I feel when I am laying back in their chair . . . it must be difficult to be a Dentist in some ways I should think . . . and have people dislike coming to you, viewing you as one of the necessary evils in life. Fingers crossed today's visit all goes well . . .
I'm not a big fan of store bought cookies, well . . . unless you are talking about Digestive biscuits . . . those I find completely moreish, oh . . . and Tunnocks Tea Cakes, they're pretty scrummy as well. I do like homemade biscuits and cookies the best of all though. I make a lot of chocolate chip at work as well as oatmeal. They go down a real treat. I like the old fashioned kinds of cookies best of all. My mom always makes a tin of old fashioned rolled out Molasses cookies for me when I go home and they taste so good, especially with a tall glass of cold milk. I love these molasses cookies here today as well. They are old fashioned, spicy and soft. They kind of remind me of little gingerbreads. You don't have to ice them, but I like to and then I add a sprinkle of sultana raisins on top . . . just because. You could also sprinkle them with chopped nuts, or even both! Or you could just be lazy and stir them into the batter before baking. They're delicious any way you choose to do it.
*Soft Molasses Drop Cookies*
Makes about 36
These are everything a good molasses cookie should be in my opinion. Crisp on the outside and meltingly tender on the inside and faintly spicy. These smell wonderful when they are cooking. I always ice mine and top with a few sultana raisins. You don't have to do this if you don't want. They are quite lovely without it. You may also stir in a couple handfuls of raisins and chopped nuts if you wish as well.
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground powdered ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
Vanilla butter cream icing and sultanas
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Cream the shortening and the sugar together, until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and molasses. Whisk the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together and beat this iinto the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, only adding enough milk to give you a good dropping consistency. You don't want it too wet.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms and set on the tops. Remove from the oven to wire racks to cool completely before icing if desired.
No, it's not some wierd alien creature, it's Cauliflower Cheese Pot Pie! A little whimsey of mine, showing today on The English Kitchen.
PS - for those of you who asked, I'll be posting my chocolate whoopie pie recipe soon!!