Wednesday 24 March 2010

Spring . . .

There is so much going on in the garden right now that it is pretty hard to keep up with it all. the crocuses are swarming over banks and borders and positively humming with life as fat springtime bumble bees amble betwixt the blooms . . .

The quince beneath the window is just peppered with small rosy buds and the damson trees down by the tennis courts are on the point of breaking out into blossom . . . I dare say it will be any day now, or is that just wishful thinking . . . .

The old Dutch honeysuckle which grows amongst the hedgerow at the back of the garden is flecked with new leaves and purple Hyacinths are pushing up out of the frosted beds, amidst the stones. Spots of violet primula wanda make velvety mats of bloom along the edges of the footpath that runs across the front of our cottage . . .

Forsythia in the shrubbery are like golden fountains that arch gracefully over budding daffodils and Jonquils, not to mention the yellow primrose that has made its way up through the bed of mulch that we put down last autumn . . .

The birds are building and each morning begins now with their beautiful song . . . it floats through the air, such a beautiful melody to wake up to as the sun begins it's ascent into the early morning sky . . . It is a time that you want to slow down the passing of hours . . . to prolong these beautiful early spring delights . . .

It will be our last spring here at Oak Cottage . . . I will be sad to let it go . . . but we will build a new life back in Chester and there will be beautiful springs there to look forward to as well. Spring is a state of mind . . . and it comes to all places . . .

It can be found amidst the dry leaves and blooms of many places . . . a softly blowing ripple of air blowing up out of the south . . . a hope that hangs precariously on the edge of the mind, heralded in by blackbirds, that dance in gardens throughout this beautiful country. It will not be the cottage spring that I have come to love over these past almost 7 years, but it will be spring nonetheless, and I have a feeling that it will be just as welcome . . . and I will love it just as much.

I am having to use up odds and sodds in the larder and freezer right now. We won't be taking the small freezer with us, so it must be empties. I found some leftover turkey in it yesterday and used it to make us up a delicious casserole last night. You don't have to use turkey in this though. It works equally as well with leftover roast chicken or ham, or both! It's quite delicious with any of those meats.

*Turkey Divan Casserole*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is one of the most delicious ways of transforming your leftovers into a delicious feast for the eyes and tummy. We love this. You can use low fat mayo and soup if you are watching the calories!

3 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cooked turkey, chicken or ham, cut into cubes (you can even use both turkey/chicken and ham together)
3/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 tin of condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Campbells or Baxters)
1/2 to 1 tsp curry powder
(depending on taste)
the juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup strong cheddar cheese
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 TBS melted butter

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly butter an 11 by 7 inch glass baking dish and set it aside.

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil and then cook the broccoli in this only until crispy tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well.

Lay the broccoli in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the chopped pieces of meat over top.

Turn the soup into a bowl and mix together with the mayonnaise, curry powder and lemon juice. Mix all together well and then spread this mixture evenly over top of the meat.

Mix together the grated cheese, bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle evenly over top of all . Place in the heated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

There's a delicious Simnel Tart over on The English Kitchen this morning. Deliciously different, and very easy to make.


  1. I love seeing the signs of spring here too. Our orchard trees are covered with blooms. They smell so good. My pansies nod and smile at me as they sway in the breeze.
    I hope that your new home in Chester will have spring blooms waiting for you....or...if not I am sure that you will plant some to enjoy.
    My love and thoughts are with you. I am sorry for all of the overwhelming work of packing and moving. I am tired just thinking of all you are doing. I hope that you will be blessed with energy and strength. Good luck dear. Hugs, Lura
    p.s. I noticed the change in your header.... yes...home is a state of mind not just a place.

  2. I am thinking of you as you pack and make ready to move one. Spring is beautiful in some places and while you welcome it I am welcoming the cooler nights that come as Autumn nears.

    Love and prayers.

  3. The days are counting down no fast Marie and I am sure your new neighbours up in Chester are "wondering who the new folks next door will be" As Grammy says I hope that your new garden will be full of the signs of spring as well. It is quite exciting really to wonder what will come up in a new garden in the next few months..I know that it will never ever replace the affection for your beautiful surroundings but it will be, like life...different...
    Much Love Sybil xx

  4. Oh, how beautiful! Thank you for sharing one last taste of spring in Kent with us, Marie! I relish all of these flowers... Here it has been chilly & foggy this week, no flowers yet! I know it will be hard for you to leave lovely Kent. But hope you are excited about all the new and familiar in Chester. Can't wait to see the flora there! Love the new addition to your banner--well done. Home is in the mind, in the heart. :o) Wonderful casserole today! Good luck getting that freezer cleared out--I'm sure Todd's not minding! ;o) LOL! Thinking of you extra much these days, dear friend... LOVE YOU HEAPS!! OXOX ((BIG HUGS))

  5. We are on the same wave length...awww, Spring! I like what you said about it being a state of mind. In many ways it really is. The idea of a new beginning, new growth, a rediscovery of the beauties of the earth can be found almost anywhere.

    We will truly miss our cottage too if and when we move. It will not be until the economy is strong again. Jim turned in his retirement letter yesterday so our lives will be changing too. Last day 6/30. Not public knowledge over here yet but it soon will be.

    Go forward in faith..Chester will unfold some wonderful life experiences for you~no doubt!

  6. marie, your descriptions are always so beautiful and vivid. i always feel like i'm right there with you(which is pretty cool since i'm almost halfway around the world:)

  7. It sounds lovely! I'm so happy it's Spring!

  8. Thank you for the pictures today! Your spring is way ahead of ours and we are not seeing much yet, but the shoots of leaves from the daffodils and the tulips are now above ground and will soon bud. Actually the daffodils on the sheltered sunny side of the house do have buds already. You are right it will happen no matter where we are. I had to leave the home I loved when my husband passed away and that was almost 18 years ago now.
    The house I'm in now will never have the love I had for the other place yet Spring comes here as well as it did there. I'm just so thankful winter is over that I could care less where I was at this point. Your casserole sounds wonderful and I'm saving it for the next time I have leftover ham chicken or turkey as I do want to make it. I hope your Wednesday was a good one!


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