Friday, 12 February 2010
Thoughts on love . . .
Love is found in unexpected places.
It is there in the quiet moment,
When we first discover a beautiful thing,
When we watch a bird soar high against a pale blue sky,
When we find a place that shelters us and is our very own.
Love starts in little ways
It may begin the day we first share our thoughts
with someone else . . .
Or help someone who needs us . . .
Or sometimes it begins because,
Even without words, we understand how someone feels.
Love comes quietly . . .
but you know when it is there.
because suddenly . . .
you are not alone anymore . . .
And there is no sadness inside you.
Love is a miracle . . .
It can come to any of us at any age
at any time
and in any place.
All we need to do is to reach out and give . . .
And then, to reach out and receive.
This coming Valentines Day will be Todd and my tenth one together, and I can honestly say that with each year we spend together, what we have together only gets better and better. You never think that a love such as this will come your way this late in life, and it is a wonderful gift when it does. It is not the first flush, hearts and flowers love of youthful ardour and romance . . . but something which is much deeper and abiding, a love that transcends the here and now, that takes us into eternity in a very beautiful way. I know that we are each other's . . . not just until death do us part . . . but for time and all eternity, and that is a very special thing. To know that this man I care so very deeply about, cares enough for me to want to be with me for time and all eternity, makes me feel very special, and valued beyond measure . . . It just doesn't get much better than that!!
I am sharing a lovely vegetable gratin with you this morning. Cabbage and leeks go so very well together. Very tasty indeed! I love gratins. They're not hard to make and they are a delicious meal all on their own. You can make a gratin out of just about anything. I love butternut squash gratineed with garlic cream. Even Swede (Rutabaga) is delicious in a gratin. Parsnips and carrots??? Double yum!! Use your imagination and try making one today.
*Cabbage and Leek Gratin*
You just can't beat the delicious flavour of cabbage baked in a lovely cream sauce with a buttery crumb baked on top. It's a way of helping even the most ardent cabbage hater to change their minds! I could eat a whole plate of this and nothing else!
1 medium cabbage
3 medium leeks
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
a dash of hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup of fresh bread crumbs
2 TBS butter, melted
Remove any old and tatty looking leaves from the outside of your head of cabbage. Cut it into quarters and remove the core. Shread coarsley.
Trim the leeks, cut in half and wash them thoroughly. Shred them coarsely as well. Mix them into the cabbage.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the vegetables. Bring back to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook them for about 5 to 6 minutes, just until barely tender. Drain in a colander. Make sure you get as much water out as you can. You don't want any to dilute the delicious cream sauce.
Preheat the oven to 180*C/375*F.
Make your cream sauce by melting the 3 TBS of butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring over medium heat, for about one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and nicely thickened. Season to taste with some salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Add a splash of hot pepper sauce to taste.
Put the cabbage mixture into a buttered shallow dish. Pour the cream sauce over top and allow it to soak in for a few minutes, while you make the crumbs for on top.
Melt the 2 TBS of butter and then stir in the bread crumbs, mixing all together well. Sprinkle the buttered crumbs evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until nicely bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned on top.
Note - I sometimes add a cup of grated gruyere cheese, plus 1 heaping TBS of grated Parmesan cheese to the sauce to give it a rich and cheesy flavour. You may also add some grated cheese on top if you wish.
We're going Vegetarian today with a delicious Spanish Omelette over on The English Kitchen.