Once upon a time, there was a man who had four sons. He wanted each of them to learn to judge things carefuly, so he sent each one on a questio to look at a pear tree in a far and distant land. The first son went in Winter, the second son in Spring, the third son in Summer and the youngest son in Autumn.
After they had returned home, he asked each to describe what they had seen.
The first son went and came back, stating that the tree was ugly and twisted, and of no possible use.
The second son, upon his return, said that it was covered with green buds and just full of promise.
Upon the third son's return, he reported that it was filled with sweet and fragrant blossoms, and very beautiful indeed.
The last son disagreed with all of them and related that it's branches were heavy with ripe fruit.
The father listened to each of them carefully upon their returns. When the last one had gone and come and spoken . . . he called them all together. He pointed out to them that each of them had been correct in their observations of the tree, but that they had each seen only one season of the tree's life. He then went on to explain that we cannot judge others or circumstances until all the pieces of the puzzle are available to us, to present a complete picture. We must never judge others too quickly, or on the basis of one encounter. To do so is unfair and unwise. All living things should be evaluated only after observation over a course of time, and only after repeated careful inspection. You just never know when something which looks dry and ugly will turn into something beautiful, which bears wonderful and delicious fruit.
I think this parable is a wonderful little reminder to us that we shouldn't give up when we are going through the Winters in our lives . . . for in doing so, we risk missing the promise of Spring, the beauty of Summer, and the fulfillment of Autumn. ☺
A tasty recipe here today, French in origin. It uses an old fashioned cut of beef . . . the brisket. Slowly braised with carrots and onions, it's very easy to execute and always turns out tender and moist. All you need to serve with it is perhaps some mashed potatoes and a salad, and you will have a meal fit for a King. At least it was fit for the King of this castle!
*Boeuf Aux Carrotes*
(Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots)
This is a lovely meal that requires very little effort. You end up with meltingly tender beef with a rich broth, sweet and buttery in flavour from the carrots. I served it with a celeriac/potato mash and some lightly steamed haricots verts. (green beans)
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds of rolled beef brisket
1 pound of carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 ounces bacon lardons
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 small leafy celery stalk
2 cups dry white wine, or unsweetened apple juice
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large roaster on top of the stove. (Use one with a fitted lid) Add the brisket and brown it slowly on all sides. Once browned, remove it to a plate, salt it generously and then set it aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the roaster and add the carrots, 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are browned. This will take from 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Put the lardoons and onions into the roaster and then cook them over high heat until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, beef and carrots. Pour in the wine or juice, and add water almost to cover. Bring to the boil. Skim off any foam that may surface, then top with the lid and roast in a pre-heated oven at 150*C/300*F. Roast for 3 hours, turning the meat over at least once during the cooking time.
Remove from the oven and take the meat out of the liquid. Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting in thin slices to serve, accompanied with the carrots and lovely juices spooned over top. Delicious!
There are some scrummy Parmesan and Pinenut Muffins over on The English Kitchen this morning!