Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Wednesday Ramblings . . .
At the start of each New Year I am reminded of a a piece of writing entitled "The Gate Of The Year" by Minnie Louise Hoskins. King George VI quoted it in his Christmas message to the nation and I feel it is every bit as reassuringly valid today as it was then.
"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'"
Todd went to the Doctors yesterday afternoon and they were able to get him an eye appointment with the hospital for 9 am this morning. I am sincerely hoping that it is nothing serious. That is his stronger eye and he relies on it a lot. He had a squint in his other eye as a child which they corrected for him when he went into the army, but it has never been really strong, even though he was a marksman. This is another test of our faith . . . which can move mountains if it is strong enough . . . so we will be putting our hands in the hand of God on this one, just as we try to do in all things.
Did any of you watch the adaptation of Great Expectations which was on the television over the Christmas period?? We had taped it and finished watching it last night. It was very, very good . . . very well done indeed. It just goes to show you how brilliant those old writers were . . .Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, the Bronte's, Louisa May Alcott, Elizbeth Gaskill . . . Shakespeare even. All that they wrote remains every bit as entertaining and interesting today, as it was in their own days. I expect that is the one great test of anything's value is it not . . . Can it withstand the test of time? Will it be worth as much to me in ten year's time, or more than it is right now?
I expect that would be a good question to ask ourselves when we are faced with making most decisions in life . . . what is the eternal value of this? Unless it is of great long term or even eternal value . . . perhaps we would do better to rethink the situation, or purchase, or whatever it is we are trying to decide upon.
I have been busy over the past couple of days trying to put together a prospectus of all the Relief Society Extra Meetings for the following year. Arranging monthly activities for the Sister's in my Ward falls under the umbrella of my calling as the Second Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency. I have to say I really enjoy my calling. It is a blessing to be able to serve the Sister's in my Ward, and a wonderful opportunity for me to grow and to stretch. I know that some people might think that a church calling is an extra burden, and that some might even be frightened to take one on. I can say, with all honesty . . . any calling I have ever had in my church has been far more for my own benefit and improvement than it has been for anyone else's. I always look them as wonderful opportunities to serve both my Heavenly Father and also my Church. Some of them have seemed a bit daunting to begin with, but I have come to love each of them. I find that as long as one does what they are asked to with love and with strength of purpose, looking to the Lord for help and guidance in all things, then one is quite alright and can even bloom! I have been very lucky in each of my callings to have had the wonderful examples of strong sisters in the church to follow, examples which I have been really grateful for.
The strong winds of yesterday seem to have died down now. My goodness but it was really wicked! I know that it caused a lot of problems nationwide. It seems odd, coming from a country as wide and as vast as Canada . . . when something happens here in the UK, it pretty much affects the whole country as we are such a small place . . . and yet we have roughly three times the amount of people living here than they have in Canada. It would be unheard of that a Blizzard in . . . say Ontario, would create problems in British Columbia. Here in the UK though, a blizzard anywhere is pretty much everywhere, or at least the whole country would feel the fallout from it.
Well, I am prattling on about not a lot now so I will sign off and get ready to take Todd to the hospital. I say that rather loosely as I am only going with him, my reading student is actually driving us there. Todd would not be able to drive home afterwards, and I am not confident enough in driving our car as I should be . . . so we are prevailing upon our good friend today. I need to drive our car more . . . in truth, I have not driven it once since we got it. I used to be very confident in driving our old car as it was brand new and I felt completely safe in it . . . when we had to give it up and got this really old one, I seem to have lost all confidence and have not driven it at all. I need to give myself a kick up the backside I think!
Here is a recipe for a really tasty cookie! Cookies with jam are my absolute favourite kinds! I know that I have a great fondness for anything with jam in it, but cookies with it are the best! I have endeavored to convert the measurements into North American ones as best as I can.
*Not Quite Jammy Dodgers*
These lovely shortbread like biscuits have a wonderful light texture and basically just melt in your mouth. Deliciously crisp with a tasty dab of jam in the middle, these are what the British call moreish. You cannot eat just one. I dare you to try!
90g icing sugar (11TBS)
185g plain flour (scant 2 cups (1.84))
60g corn flour (corn starch) (6.5 TBS)
30g ground almonds (1/3 cup)
250g butter, cut into cubes (1 cup plus 1 1/2 TBS)
½ tsp almond extract
Icing Sugar for dusting
Jam such as strawberry or raspberry
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
Sift the icing sugar, flour and corn flour into a large bowl. Add the ground almonds and give it a good stir. Drop in the butter. Rub the butter into the dry mixture with your fingertips until there are no visible lumps of butter.
Stir in the almond essence. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured board and knead it a few times to form a smooth dough.
Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. (about an inch and a half in diameter) Using a 3 inch smooth edged cutter place the cutter on top of the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Drop one of the balls inside and push it down to fill the ring, flattening the top slightly with your fingertips. Repeat with the remaining dough balls, placing them about 2 inches apart. You will not be able to fit all of them on one sheet, so will have to do this in two batches.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until they are light golden in colour. Remove them from the oven and immediately tamp down an indentation in the middle of each biscuit to hold the jam. I use the tip of a wooden spoon and make an indentation about ½ inch in diameter.
Let the biscuits cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
When completely cool, dust the tops with icing sugar and place a dab of jam in the centre indentations. Simply wonderful!
Over in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Meatloaf Pie.