Sunday, 28 August 2011
The Sunday Drive
As a child growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s we sometimes went on what was termed a Sunday Drive. Everyone turned out in their best finery . . . and sitting in the car while we, as a family, went for a drive. Not to anywhere in particular, but just for a drive . . . to take in the local scenery, to relax, to get an ice cream, to visit my Aunt Freda and her family or some other relative. When we were younger, we used to enjoy those occasions, but once we got to be teenagers we really thought we had better things to do . . .
I think "The Sunday Drive" used to be somewhat of an institution in North America. Many people went for a drive on Sunday afternoons, a lot just to go and visit relatives, a lot just for the sake of driving, and most just to relax after church, and a big dinner and what had probably been a long and hectic week.
I can remember my dad grumbling about the “Sunday Drivers” that he would sometimes get stuck behind, any day of the week. That is what he called them. You know the ones . . . they drive slowly down the road, much slower than your patience can take. They are in no rush. They are just taking in their surroundings and enjoying the ride. My dad was always quite an impatient driver. He always wanted to get from point A to point B in the fastest manner possible. There was no stopping along the way, no smelling of the roses.
As for myself, I am in no rush to get anywhere. I normally leave in quite enough time for anything or any appointment, to get there well within the time that I should show up, and in fact, I am usually fifteen minutes to half an hour early for everything. I cannot stand being late. That means that I usually have lots of time to sit and stare, lots of time along the way to take in the scenery and enjoy myself, lots of time to be one of those irritating “Sunday Drivers.”
I reckon there is nothing on earth worth rushing so much for, that you put your own life at risk . . . not to mention the lives of others. I cannot understand these people that have the need to pass everything possible in front of them. I do understand that when there is a particularly slow vehicle in the road, one does need to pass, like an incredibly slow moving tractor or some such, but basically . . . I just don’t get the idea of passing. I am a “Sunday Driver.” Nine times out of ten, when someone has gone to great risk to pass us on the roadway, when we reach the intersection or roundabout down the road, they end up just in front of us anyways . . . their haste not having gotten them very far ahead at all. Traffic on our roadways over here is so thick and busy, that it really makes no sense to pass and attempt to rush to get anywhere. Why add all that stress and agro to your life??? It’s so un-necessary. Just leave a little bit earlier for everything and you won’t have to be in such a rush.
Life is a bit like that actually. People rush about in their madness to get ahead, to reach the front of the queue. In their quest, they forget to take in the scenery along the way and to enjoy the ride. Me, I like to smell the roses along the pathway and listen to the birds, take in that beautiful sunset, or that incredible sunrise. I’ll get there in the end, but I’ll have well enjoyed the journey I took to get there. Yes folks, I’m “Sunday Driving” through life . . .
We had a pretty good picnic at our church yesterday, even though it rained buckets off and on all afternoon. We just took the whole thing indoors. It actually wasn't a very good day for the picnic anyways . . . it being the last Bank Holiday weekend this side of Christmas and the last long weekend of the children's summer holidays!! There was a pretty poor turnout, but those that did show up seemed to have a good time!
It was an opportunity for us to use the pretty Picnic Basket I got for my Birthday. I do love it so, but then I felt a bit silly having it . . . there were a few comments about my "posh" picnic basket and I was made to feel a bit self conscious about it. I only wanted it because I fell absolutely in love with it . . . that's what Birthday Presents should be . . . something that you absolutely adore . . . and when I saw this basket I had such romantic notions about it . . . in truth is rather heavy even before you get any food into it, but I still love it all the same!
That meant though that I didn't really get anything cooked much yesterday . . . and so I am sharing with you something from my old Marie's Muses blog today. It's a bit of information that I reckon most people might find pretty handy to know!
*How To Cook The Perfect Steak*
When one has gone to the expense of buying a beautiful steak, there is nothing worse, no greater sacrilege than to ruin it by cooking it improperly. There are a few basic steps for cooking the perfect steak.
First of all, one must use the right cut. There are some steaks that are meant for braising (round and chuck come to mind here). You cannot simply fry these. You must braise them for a long period of time in a small amount of liquid in order for them to be tender. These are the cheaper cuts, and that is why they are cheaper. If you want a steak for grilling or frying, you must choose the right kind of steak. At those times you will want to choose a rib eye, or a tenderloin or sirloin.
Secondly you must cook a steak properly. Overcooking a steak, quite simply, makes it tough. Steak is a muscle after all. When it hits the heat of the pan, it tenses up, like any muscle would. The trick is to cook it only to your desired preference and then to take it out of the pan before it is done all the way through, giving it a few minutes to rest and relax before tucking in. You should only ever turn a steak once while cooking it.
The followings are guides to cooking times and touch testing. You can very easily learn if a steak is cooked to your desired doneness simply by feeling the steak with the back of your tongs and by it’s appearance. Remember to leave a few minutes for resting before serving.
Heat a heavy skillet until it is fairly hot. Add some butter to the pan and swirl it a round until it is beginning to foam. Add the steak and cook as follows:
Cook each side for 2 minutes, turning only once. This will give you a steak which is internally very red, moist and with red juices. It will be very soft to the touch.
Cook each side for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, turning only once before pink beads of moisture appear on the top of the surface of each side. It will be a lighter red colour inside, moist with pink juices. It will be soft to the touch, and yet somewhat springy.
Cook for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once. It will be internally pink red in colour, moist with clear to pink juices. It should be firm and springy to the touch.
Cook for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat and cook for a further 4 to 6 minutes. It will look a stone grey colour inside, and be dry and clear with no sign of any pink juices. It should feel very firm to the touch.
And there you have it, the perfect steak, done perfectly to your own liking. A good steak needs no real embellishment except for a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. I like to have fried mushrooms and sometimes onions with mine.
I'm sharing my favourite end of summer Desserts over in The English Kitchen today! It's a delicious round up of eight of my absolute favourite weaknesses!