Tuesday 27 April 2010

The Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY, April 27th, 2010...

Outside My Window...

The sun is up, the birds are singing, and it looks to be another fine day. We have been so lucky with the weather this past week. Most days there has hardly been a cloud in the sky. One wonders when this lucky run is going to end! It can't last forever unfortunately.

I am thinking...
How very fragile things can be. When I first came back online after having been away for those two weeks, I had over a thousand e-mails waiting in my in box. It took me hours and hours to wade my way through them, over a period of days. I did not want to miss anything important. Unfortunately one important e-mail got misplaced and yesterday I got another e-mail from a very upset person who could not understand why I had not replied to their first e-mail. I immediately wrote them back and apologized, but I fear it was too late. There has been no reply back. I am quite upset that it got overlooked. I am not that kind of person and it makes me feel really bad that someone now thinks that I am so full of myself that I could not take the time to reply to their very heartfelt e-mail. I suppose that I should have replied to it right away. I had put it aside so that I could attend to it at a later hour when I was not so swamped . . . unfortunately it got lost in the mire that is my e-mail box at times.

I am thinking too, of my sweet dear friend June, who has had to say goodbye to her beloved far too soon . . . My heart and prayers are with her as are the heart and prayers of many. I know that they are very much appreciated by her, but then again . . . I also know that right now they are probably not enough, and I understand that . . .

I am thankful for...
Sunny days and a husband that loves me, even if I sometimes don't come up to all that I should be. I try my hardest and that is enough for him. I think it works both ways really, and I am glad for that! ☺

From the kitchen...
There is a loaf that I have not written about yet and a few of those rocky road squares left from the other day. I am trying to be a good girl!

I am wearing...
Blue pajamas and my blue terry robe. It's been a lot warmer these past few mornings. Not much of a chill in the air at all!

I am creating...

I made the cutest little mouse doll over the past couple of days. It was quite involved and had a lot of hand sewing. All her body parts are soft sculptured, and her clothing is mostly hand sewn and stuffed as body parts. I think I will be listing her later today at my Etsy Shop. I have not been able to get any painting done over this past week like I wanted to. I still need to organize my craft room better. It is still quite a tip. Perhaps I will get stuck into that chore later today. There seems to be so much to do still, and only so many hours to get it done in.

I am going...
We have a bed arriving for the spare bedroom on Friday, so I really need to get that room sorted along with the craft room, so that there is room to put the bed in there when it comes. We tried to get bunkbeds, but they were too expensive, and the ones at Ikea that we wanted could not be bought online, so we ended up just buying a single bed from Tesco. Should be fun putting that together!! Then we are just going to get a blow up mattress to use as an extra bed should we get company. There will be the spare bed and the mattress. We usually give any company our double bed anyways. It's a lot easier that way.

I am reading...

Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, by Jane Brocket

I know it might seem a bit unusual to be reading a cookbook, coz that is what this is, and I have spoken of this book before, but I dug it out again a few nights ago and am really enjoying going through it again. As a child I devoured the books of Enid Blyton and the Famous Five and I loved reading Pippi Longstocking, and of course any other children's novel that I could get my hands on. I have always been a voracious reader. These children's books were filled with exotic sounding foods and this book is filled with little exerpts from the books and of course, the recipes. I am so enjoying this second trip down memory lane! Perhaps today I may even have a chance to bake some Strike Me Pink Raspberry Jam Cakes that Todd and I can wash down a bit later on with some Ginger Beer of course!!

I am hoping...
That this nuce sunny weather lasts for a few more days! I know it cannot last forever, but I am enjoying it so very much and would like a few more days of it. Greedy I know!

I am hearing...
A clicking clock, the tapping of my fingertips on the computer keys, birds singing in the garden. Yes . . . all seems right with the world. It is at times like this though that I really miss our Jess. She was my early morning companion. Always laying right next to me, her soft warm body against my feet . . . She was so loving and so dear. I miss her so very much.

Around the house...
Things are still looking quite settled despite the craft room that needs to be sorted and the spare room . . . Everything in the rest of the house is very organized. There is a routine that needs to be followed when one wants to use something and it must be put back as soon as we are finished with it as there is no room in this house for things to be out of order. As a bit of a clutter bug, this is a hard adjustment for me to be making, but I am trying really hard.

One of my favorite things...
is absolutely sharing my thoughts with you on here each morning. I am sorry if I sometimes disappoint. I really don't mean to do so . . .

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
I have a bit of work to do with Todd and of course dolls to finish and paintings to paint. I need to work some on the second cookbook I am writing. I am sending off a Book Proposal to a publisher this time, not trying to do it all on my own. I may get somewhere. I may get nowhere. I must remain positive about it, and never give up.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is a picture I took last spring of some of the blossom on the Estate down South. Oh I can imagine that it is an absolute riot of bloom and blossom at the moment . . . we were so very blessed in so many ways to have lived there for the seven years that we did. Nevermind . . . there are new blossoms here to discover and new adventures that are just waiting for us to experience them!

And there you have it, my Simple Woman's Day Book for today. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!)

My Todd is a pie man. There is nothing he loves more than a nice wedge of meat pie and a pile of mash, all smothered in Bisto Gravy of course!! He is not hard to please. I am thankful for that in so very many ways!

*Steak and Vegetable Pie*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

We are real pie people in this house. You could put pretty much anything between two crusts and we would love it. This is a particularly delicious steak pie. I suppose you could just stew the meat and add some frozen mixed veg if you wanted to, but I love the flavour of the swede and carrots when they have been stewed along with the steak. It's pretty yummy! (Plan ahead as it takes several hours to make)

1 1/2 pounds stewing steak, diced
1 TBS olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 of a large swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced (optional)
8 ounces (1/2 pound) shortcrust pastry
2 TBS flour
a 1/2 cups beef stock
a pinch of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
beaten egg to glaze

Mix the flour with some salt and pepper to taste and coat the pieces of meat in this mixture. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet that has a lid, and when hot, add the meat and brown it slowly on all sides. When it is nicely browned add the onions and garlic, and mushrooms if using. Cook for a few moments, and then stir in the carrots and swede. Cook and stir over medium heat until they begin to brown a bit and then add the stock and thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is quite tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/gas mark 7. Divide the pastry into thirds and roll two thirds of it out, 1/4 inch thick, on a floured board, rolling it to a large enough piece to line a 2 pint pie dish, allowing for a bit of overhang. Strain the juices off of the meat and vegetables, reserving them. Spoon the meat and the veg into the lined pastry crust. Spoon a bit of the juice over top to moisten. You don't want it too sloppy, but you don't want it dry either. Save the rest to make a gravy with if desired. Roll out the remaining pastry to fit over top. Moisten the edges of the bottom crust and lay the top over the meat and veg. Seal and trim the edges. Flute as desired along the rim and then brush the top with a bit of beaten egg. Make a few slits to vent the steam.

Place on a baking tray and bake in the pre-heated oven on the middle shelf until the pie is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot, cut into slices with some nice vegetables, potatoes and gravy on the side.

Note - if you want to make a gravy with the meat juices that you have saved, shake a TBS of flour in a glass jar with some water and stir it into the reserved juices. Bring to the boil, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and thick. Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. Serve hot, along with the pie.

There is a Hearty Country Style Tortilla over on The English Kitchen this morning. Quite, quite delicious!


  1. It is such a delight to find you now every morning giving us such positive things to think about. Thank You...So glad that the house is getting into shape. It takes such a long time dosn't it till things feel like "home" I wonder if you will eventually get another wee dog, I siad never again after Tams died but afraid it only lasted a couple of months when it just got to much and Dee arrived ..I can harldy believe he will be 9 come Christmas..
    Have a wonderful sunny day..It is cool down here this morning but looks lovely.
    Love Sybil xx

  2. Oh Marie that little mouse speaks to me. It is just so lovely. However I have a chaise full of bears as Pip collects them. There is not a lot of space for any more stuff around here.

    The bed solutions sounds a great compromise.

    Take care and enjoy your day.


  3. Hi, dear Marie! LOVE the mouse doll--it is so sweet! Hope you might make more of those--great idea! My Dad's nickname for me is Mouse...LOL! What a pity about the uhnappy email situation. Sometimes email is not the best means to communicate, and sometimes emails can get "lost", misplaced, etc. It's a great, easy way to be in touch, but it can cause problems sometimes too...LOL! Do hope the situation resolves more happily. So glad you have a craft room now to work in. I sounds so comfy & cozy there... Have a great week, dear friend! Hubby would love this recipe you've got here today. :o) ((LOVE & HUGS))

  4. It's too bad about the misunderstanding over the e-mail. Things like that happen to all of us at one time or another. Your little mouse is adorable. I've known several mouse collectors that would just love a doll like that. I hope your day is a great one. We have sunshine here today. What a blessing.

  5. Ahhhh...love these posts, Marie!

    Sorry you're feeling bad about that friend...I hate that feeling when there's been a misunderstanding...I'm sure it will all work out well!

    Your mouse doll is simply adorable! What a fabulous new creation! You come up with the most wonderful ideas!

    And that meat pie---oh, my! That MUST be tried--and soon! I LOVE meat pies--sorry, waistline!

    Much love to you today, my friend...I hope it's lovely in every way...just like you!

  6. The pie looks really good and hearty, Marie.

  7. Marie, thank you for your comments on my daybook. I still like doing mine on Mondays and I don't link in that often to the other one.

    I am sorry that someone would be in such a rant about you not getting back to them. Are they not a follower that would know you were buried in moving?

    Beyond an apology, what more can you do?

    I haven't had that experience on my blog. Most of my readers don't make comments. Here in CA most people I know read using the Google Reader so they don't become followers either. I always think I have just a handful of readers until someone very remote to me makes a comment in person.

    I wish they would comment more because it is a great way to become fast friends...but to each his own. All you can do is be yourself and hope for the best in this crazy mixed up place where we all live.

    Rest on it, as you did not offend intentionally and if that person didn't have a selfish thing going on here it would not have happened.

    Rest assured you are loved by so many! And I would imagine most realize you do have a life beyond the blogshere.

  8. Really it was irresponsible of me to not have replied right away. You cannot put yourself out as caring about people and then not live what you preach! I have since heard back from this dear lady and all is well. I felt bad to think that I had hurt anyone's feelings as that is not what I am about. I am really happy now and relieved that this has sorted itself out! She is a dear lady and I am happy to call her my friend.

  9. I'm glad it's all sorted out with your 'missing' correspondent.

    If we lived a million years you could never disappoint moi! I look forward to whatever you have to say, even on the days when you're having a rant.

  10. Hello dear,
    I am running very late but I had to take a minute to read your day book today and say hello.

    Hello... sorry.... not enough time to really comment but as always I love reading your post and John will LOVE that meat pie.

    I send love.... I have to be at a meeting in 20 minutes and I am not even dressed yet...yikes
    Hugs, Lura

  11. Marie, Don't ever feel that you must blog in order not to disappoint. I love hearing from you, but I'd still love you even if you missed a few days or longer. You're such an open and UP person. I hope the flub-up with your email friend gets settled.

  12. Marie, I adore your little mouse doll. What a darling she is. I think her name is Louise. I made your sausage, sweet potatoe and apple casserole the other night and my husband was mad for it! It was delicious! Thank you, my friend, for sharing this wonderful dish.

  13. Thanks for your very sweet visit. What a cute mouse! I'm so glad that things worked out with your friend - I know that you were feeling horrible about possibly hurting her feelings.


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!