Tuesday, 5 January 2010
Friends are like flowers . . .
Life is a garden
Good friends are the flowers,
And times spent together
Life's happiest hours . . .
And friendship, like flowers,
Blooms, ever more fair
When carefully tended
By dear friends who care . . .
And life's lovely garden
Would be sweet by far,
If all who passed through it
Were as nice as you are.
~Helen Steiner Rice
What would I do without my dear friends in life. I am not a person that likes to be alone. I cannot remember my mother having very many friends when I was growing up. She was far too busy working at her job as a clerk for the civil service and taking care of our family and home. Now that she is older and retired, and we are all living far away, she has a lot of friends, and that is a good thing. She seems to really enjoy their company and they do quite a few things together and speak on the telephone just about every day.
I would dearly miss the companionship of friends were I not to have any. That was the hardest thing when I moved over here, nine and a half years ago . . . not having any friends at first. I had left most of my friends back in Canada, and at that point I only had a very few of them as well. Most of my so called friends had jumped ship when I joined my present church. Oh, I had my Todd to be sure, and he is my best friend of all, but somehow I needed that special touch of a female friend that I could share things with. Somehow, it is a lot harder when you become an adult to make new friends. I don't know why that is.
I'm happy to say that I have quite a few friends these days. Some of them near and some of them far away. Lots are tangible, but a good many are invisible as well, what we may have called Pen Friends in the days of before computers. They are just as important to me as my real life, touchable friends, and perhaps, in some ways, even more important. It is sometimes far easier to share feelings and thoughts with someone in the written word than it is face to face. I'm not sure why that is.
Some friends I like to call my kindred spirit friends. These are the most special of all. These are the friends that you meet and right away you feel a special kinship with, a spirit touching spirit type of thing and you just know that you have always been friends and always will be, that, for whatever reason, you've been separated on this earth and have been truly blessed to find each other again. It's difficult to explain, but I just know you will all know what I am speaking about. I am so blessed to have a few people like that in my life . . . they are the brightest flowers in my friendship garden I have to say. I love all my friends dearly, but these ones are just uniquely special in a different sort of way.
Of course it goes without saying that in order to have a friend, one must first be a friend. I hope that I am that . . . it is not always easy to find the time to make the phone calls or visits, or even to write the e-mails, especially when you throw a full time job into the mix. It does take a bit of effort, but my oh my, it is an effort well worth the time, and even if it is not something that happens every day, I would hope that my friends all know every day that I love them no matter what, and that I think of them. Sometimes just a quick line that says, I love you and am thinking of you is enough just to let them know you appreciate them and truly treasure them.
Just my thoughts this morning, on friends . . . I saw this line written on the wall of a pub one time and have always wanted to put it on a board to hang above my own door.
"There are no strangers here . . . only friends we have yet to meet."
I like that. Welcome friend. Make yourself at home.
I wanted to share a really quick dessert with you this morning that I made out of some of the leftover panettone from Christmas. For those of you who don't know Panettone is an Italian Christmas bread/cake. Very rich and stogged full of dried fruit. We just love it here. I always have at least a couple of them in our house each Christmas. Quite often throughout the season we'll have a slice as we sit and watch the telly in the evenings for our evening snack. It's so very good. We really enjoyed this pudding. I made it for the New Years Day dinner we had with friends. It went down a real treat!
*Panettone and Butter Bread Pudding*
We always have several Panettone around at Christmas. We just love it's rich and fruity flavour. In truth I wish we had it every day of the year. Here's a delightful idea of what to do with it when it gets a bit stale.
1/4 cup of softened butter
10 thick slices of Panettone
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 TBS Demerara sugar
freshly grated nutmeg
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter a 1 1/2 quart oven proof dish. Lightly butter the slices of Panettone on one side and then lay the slices in the buttered dish. Beat the eggs and sugar together well. Whisk in the milk and cream. Grate in a small amount of fresh nutmeg. Whisk together well again and then quickly pour the egg mixture over the Panettone. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow it to soak in. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar at the end of that time and then put the baking dish into a large deep roasting tin. Place the roasting tin on a lower rack in the heated oven. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. BAke for 34 to 45 minutes, or until the custard has set and the top is golden. Serve warm or cold, with lashings of cream for pouring. Delicious!!
It is a day for leftovers today as over on The English Kitchen I have posted a tasty Cottage Pie made with the leftovers from our New Years Roast Beef dinner! This one has a delicious twist though as I have covered it with a scrummy Parsnip and Potato Mash!