Monday, 10 January 2011
Thoughts . . .
One of the things that Todd did when we first moved back to Chester and into our new home, was to create a pond in the back garden. He had been talking about having a pond the whole time we had been married, but had never gotten around to it. Now we had a huge garden that was just perfect for putting in a pond and so he went to work bringing his dream to life . . . on the cheap, of course.
He dug a hole and lined it with black plastic, specifically designed for ponds. It took him days and days. Then he collected rocks to border it all around and a few special plants to make it look attractive like. He got a pond orchid, which is living up in the spare bedroom at the moment and a few lily pads . . . and then he got the piece de resistance . . . some gold fish.
Surprisingly they have thrived. I had my doubts, and now, hopefully, they are sleeping in the bottom of the pond waiting for spring. They are quite shy creatures and only very rarely came to the surface anyways, except at feeding tme and then they would dart up quickly only to disappear again in the blink of an eye. There were many times I questioned their existance as they hid beneath the plants that Todd has at the bottom of his pond.
Here, they have this big beautiful pond . . . well, much bigger than a bowl at any rate and they live in only a small area of it, choosing to hide and live at the bottom in a small, familiar to them, area, even though there is much more to explore. Why would they choose this instead of darting about freely with nothing to hold them back??
It made me think . . . are we not the same in some ways? Do we not sometimes shrink our worlds to the familiar? Are we not sometimes afraid to reach out beyond what we know and experience the possibilities that are just waiting for us to discover them?
I wonder . . . Every time I hesitate to do something unplanned or spontaneous . . . hesitate to reach out and help another . . . hesitate to question something I know nothing about . . .
When I ignore the inner childlike impulse to dance in the rain . . . or to grab someone close and just twirl about together in a measure of bliss and joy . . . to call someone up just to say, I love you . . .
am I missing out on something special?
I think perhaps I am.
"Love and do what thou wilt." ~ saint augustine
Here's a delicious comfort meal for these cold winter days. I love brisket. It is a cheaper cut of meat but so very flavourful. It takes a slow braising to bring out it's best, but when cooked properly it is deliciously tender. I don't have a problem cooking with wine. Neither did my Bishop's wife from my last ward, but if you do . . . then just substitute it with some fruit juice.
*Pot Roasted Brisket*
We love Brisket. Cooked properly it has a wonderfully rich flavour and melting tenderness. Plan ahead as the meat needs to marinate overnight.
3/4 cup of a full bodied red wine
3/4 cup of beef stock
2 TBS red wine vinegar
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 1/2 - 4 pound boned, rolled brisket of beef
2 to 3 TBS canola oil
2 TBS dry marsala or madiera
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix together the wine, stock, vinegar, garlic, bay leaf, onion and thyme. Place the beef in a very large bowl. Pour the mixture over to cover the meat. Cover with some cling film and then place in the refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally if possible.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/ 400*F/ gas mark 6. Remove the meat from the marinade, without discarding marinade. Dry the meat thoroughly with some paper towels. Strain the marinade. Set aside. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Add the meat and brown all over. Pour over about 4 TBS of the strained marinade. Cover with a lid and then roast in the oven for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the marinade has not burnt dry, adding a bit more if neccessary. It is important though that there are some thick sticky juices so don't add too much. Bring any remaining marinade to a simmer over medium heat, cooking until it loses any raw winey taste.
When the meat it cooked remove it from the pan to a platter, tent with foil and set aside. Remove any fat from the pan juices. Add the marsala and the simmered marinade to the pan juices. Bring to the boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and adding a little extra water if necessary. Season to taste with some salt and pepper.
Serve the meat thinly sliced with a bit of the gravy spooned over top.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today, some delicious Lemon Roasted Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes.