Sunday, 19 December 2010
Christmas Blessings . . .
A bit of hope, a bit of love,
A tiny part of cheer,
A smile, a thought, an outstretched hand,
A dream, all soft and dear,
Some Faith and warmth and happiness,
And then a touch of prayer,
A bit of music, laughter too,
Of each a goodly share;
A window bright, a glowing fire,
Some holly and some pine.
A heart that holds a tenderness,
A peace on earth sublime,
Tranquillity and thoughtfulness,
A soul to seek a star,
A bit of each, and then we find
‘Tis Christmas . . . near and far.
~Garnett Anne Shultz
Blessings are all around us, especially at this time of year. We only have to look for them. They come in small packages, a friendly smile, a soft spoken word . . . they are the robin that sits on your window sill and cocks his friendly little head to say hello, the postman who smiles a greeting as he drops your letters into your letter box, (even if they are only bills!) the sounds of children's laughter in the local playground as it rings through the clear winter air, the glimpse of a clear night sky filled with stars in the heavens through an upstairs window . . .
The voice of a much beloved friend on the telephone, the feel of a growing puppy's wet nose against your cheek, the sight of big white fluffy snowflakes falling, a husband who runs . . . yet again . . . to the shops to pick up the newest ingredient that you have forgotten for that special dish you are preparing, knowing that in just a few hours you will be presenting a Nativity Play at church that you are all ill preparef for . . . but also knowing that everyone will love it anyways . . . because it's the children and it's Christmas . . . and Jesus is the reason for the season.
All these are blessings to behold and to experience, small gifts from above . . . rays of light in a world that sometimes seems all wrong. On this, the last Sunday before Christmas 2010, I would like to wish you a week ahead filled to overflowing with blessings, both large and small, a life filled to overflowing with love and peace and happiness . . . and a very Merry Christmas!
Oh yummmmm . . . we had this for our tea the other night. I'm quite sure Todd thought it was a blessing . . . man food . . . the food of his childhood, rib sticking, homey and comforting . . .
*Toad in the Hole*
Serves 2 - 3
I discovered this dish when I first moved over here to England. I had never heard of or eaten it before, although I had eaten sausages and Yorkshire pudding, just not together. The combination of the two is, well . . . heavenly! Don’t forget the mash and onion gravy!
1 package of good quality thick pork sausages (my personal favourite is Cumberland)
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 TBS sunflower oil
For the Batter:
3 ounces plain flour
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 fluid ounces milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 heaping tsp of grainy mustard
Pre-heat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Pour the sunflower oil into a solid based 9 inch by 6 inch baking tray. Throw in the cut up onion and scatter in the sausages. Place in the hot oven, on the lowest shelf, for about 15 minutes while you make the batter.
Using a sieve and holding it up high above the bowl sieve the flour into the bowl. (Doing this from a height forces air into the flour and gives you a lighter batter) Make a well in the middle of the flour and using a whisk, whisk in the egg and milk, along with some salt and pepper. As you whisk the flour will be incorporated from the edges and you will end up with a nice lovely thick and smooth batter. Whisk in the grainy mustard.
Take the hot pan of sausages out of the oven and quickly pour the batter in and around the sausages while the fat in the pan is still sizzling. Return the pan to the oven, placing it on the highest shelf this time, and continue to bake for 30 minutes longer, until the sausages are nicely browned and the batter has puffed up all nice and brown around them. Serve hot, cut into squares with mashed potatoes and onion gravy for a delicious meal!
Over in The English Kitchen today, Figgy Pudding Truffles!