Friday, 18 March 2011
To calm the soul and beast . . .
"Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."
It is a common joke in our house that oftimes, when we are watching a television program and dramatic music comes up out of nowhere, we turn to the other and ask . . . where is the orchestra hiding in that scene. I know . . . what a corny pair we are!!! Truth is, were it not for the music in some shows, you would not be able to feel whatever it is that the director is wanting you to sense . . .
I love music and often spend my time plugged into my discman when I am working. I have my favourites that I like to listen to as I putter away . . . such as Mindy Gledhill and Take That . . . they are like the soundtrack to my artwork.
Sometimes if I am in a reflective mood I will pop in Barbara Streisand's greatest hits, or a collection of National Trust Country walk discs we own.
In the car we like to listen to good old Country music. I think every journey we've ever taken, has been taken along with Dolly, Merle and Kenny, with a bit of Taylor Swift thrown in for good measure.
On the way to church on Sunday mornings we listen to a lovely album from the Tabernacle choir entitled, Heaven Song. It is beautiful and puts us in exactly the right frame of mind for worship. In fact, I often listen to it during the week as well . . . along with other Gospel music which I have in my collection. When I was working at the manor, I had gospel and uplifting music on my ipod that I listened to as I went about my duties. There were many times during the last year I worked there, which was particularly difficult for me . . . that I felt carried and uplifted through my hours of work and the demeaning atmosphere I was working in, by the positivity and inspiring nature of the music on my ipod. Many times I felt the hand of the Lord on my shoulder and His love for me . . . it truly helped to get me through days and nights where I only wanted to sit down and cry. It helped me to remember who I was.
I often put on Classic FM and just sit on the sofa with my eyes closed . . . letting the music carry me away to another realm of existance . . . there is no need for words . . . the melodies paint beautiful and soulful pictures in my mind. Oh, I do love those special journies so much . . . journies taken with a bumble bee as it buzzes through the garden, or a sailing ship as it sails the waves, or just wandering through a field of corn . . .
I think I could live without the television, and even without the computer if I had to . . . but I would have a very difficult time living without music in my life. I has followed me all the days of my life, and all I need to do is to listen to a particular piece and I am transported back to certain years and occasions . . . a special soundtrack that has catalogued all the events of my life . . . the good and the bad and everything in between.
I have an appreciation for it that knows no boundaries . . . well, except for rap music that is. I reckon there is a reason that rap rhymes with crap . . . but that it just me. That is the one type of music I have never been able to develop a taste for as a whole, and somehow . . . I just can't see it happening now! Heavy Metal also does my head in . . . just sayin . . .
Here's a tasty recipe from the archives of my Big Blue Binder. I can't remember where I got it from originally, but I have had it for years. It's great to take to church suppers and is always one of the first dishes to disappear. It's wonderful to make when you have lots of leftover ham you want to use up. I sometimes even go out and buy a big slab of ham specifically just to make this. You want a nice flavoured sausage meat to use in this. The leftovers make wonderful sandwiches!
*Church Supper Ham Loaf*
Serves 8 to 10
This is another tasty offering from my big blue binder. Perfect for when you have lots of leftover baked ham to use up. I sometimes even buy a pound of ham from the deli to use for this, for special occasions.
1 pound baked ham, ground, at room temperature
1 pound lean sausage meat, at room temperature
2 cups of soft fresh bread crumbs
1 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup of finely chopped onions
2 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp of paprika
For the Basting Sauce:
1 cup of soft light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of cider vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with deep sides and set aside.
Using a light touch, thoroughly combine the meats and bread crumbs. Beat the eggs together with the sour cream and seasonings, the onion and lemon juice. Mix this mixture into the meat/breadcrumb mixture, combing thoroughly. Shape into a loaf and then place into the prepared pan. (I usually line a loaf pan with cling film, pack the meat mixture in and then dump it out into the baking pan.)
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat that has accumulated.
Combine all the basting sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour this over the hot loaf and return to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, basting it regularly with the pan juices, until the loaf is cooked through and well glazed.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Cut into slices to serve, with a bit of the basting sauce spooned over top.
Over in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Onion and Mustard Sauce to serve with bacon, gammon (ham) or fish, or corned or spiced beef!