Sunday 30 May 2010

Maries Sunday Six

Welcome to my weekly Sunday Six post. I have had a lot of special smiles this week! Visits from friends and visits to friends, some sunny days and lots of love, so here I go!

On Wednesday our friends from Kent, Pat and Peter came to visit! What a lovely day we had together. Todd is the best tour guide ever and he took us all on a guided tour of Chester City. We walked the length and breadth of it and everywhere in between. We shared a lovely meal together in a pub down by the river and even though it began to rain in the afternoon, we didn't let that deter us from exploring yet more. We returned to the house afterwards and then enjoyed a meal together here at the house and several more hours of wonderful companionship before they had to return to their room at the B&B to get rested up for the trip home in the morning. We enjoyed their visit so very much and hated to see them go. We have big plans though, to meet up in the Cotswolds at some point in the future!!! Being able to host friends in our home and to spend a leisurely day entertaining them makes me smile. It is one of the things I love most to do!

We had some really sunny weather this past week, so Todd had lots of opportunity to putter in the garden. I do love to watch him at work whilst I ply him with drinks and plenty of support. We put in a few shrubs and some bedding plants. Something has eaten all of our cabbages so we have about given up on them. We think it is the pigeons. We have a few wood pigeons that seem to have adopted us. In the meantime our beans, squash, etc. have popped up and are growing. Hopefully they will leave them alone, fingers crossed!! In the meantime watching Todd minister to our garden makes me smile!

My oldest son Anthony makes me smile in a very big way. He turned 35 yesterday! (I know!! I can't believe that I have a 35 year old son either!!) This is a picture of him with his newest child, Luke who was born on the 30th January. Anthony was the one who gave me the priviledge of being a mom for the very first time. He has always been a really big smile maker to me. My son that loves to cook and who thinks the world of me. He is a good husband and a wonderful father. He works hard to support his family and to care for them. He is the one who always takes time to see how I am doing and to show me he loves me. I think he is the one that is most like me. Sentimental and caring, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Tender hearted, he is not afraid to cry or to show that he cares. He is witty and warm and I love him dearly! I can't wait to see him (and my other children of course!) in July! That thought makes me smile too!

Basking in sunny days and getting to share them with my Todd makes me smile. We have such an easy companionship. We very rarely, if ever, get cross with each other, although to be honest we do annoy each other from time to time. He is my bestest friend and I love him so very much. We enjoy each other's company so very much and have so much in common. He really cares for me. I just love being able to spend more time with him. When I was working fulltime and for as demanding woman as I was I really used to fret over the time we did not have to spend together. Having found each other so late in life I really want to be able to spend as much time together as we can, even if it is only sitting together in a cosy companionship on the sofa . . . going for long walks together, sharing thoughts and feelings, praying together . . . looking up and seeing the other in work and knowing we are there for each other no matter what. This makes me smile. I waited a lifetime for this man and having found him makes me smile.

The two Phil's make me smile! We met these two wonderful Irish people on our Austrian Holiday last summer. Quite often you meet people when you are on holiday and you get along so well together you vow to stay in touch when the holiday ends. It never seems to happen though, no matter the intention . . . Not so with the Two Phils though! We have stayed in touch and often text and phone and e-mail back and forth. Yesterday we were able to drive up to Blackpool and spend a lovely day with them. It was so good to see them again and they were such lovely and genial hosts! We hope to do it again soon at a time when we can stay overnight. We had been supposed to go up to see the Illuminations last year, but sadly work got in the way and we never made it. Hopefully this year we will be able to make the trip, but in the meantime we had a lovely time yesterday. Getting to spend time with the two Phil's makes me smile!

Blackpool made me smile!! I had always wanted to go there. Todd had never been either, so it was a real treat for both of us yesterday to finally see it. A place that I had often heard spoken about on Coronation Street (one of my favourite soaps) and one of the largest sea side resorts in the UK, it had long been on my list of want to go places. Despite the rain yesterday we did get to see a lot of it and we were both very impressed. It is not just casinos and novelties . . . but so much more. There are lovely parks and walks, and it is a town just teaming with life and vibrancy! We look forward to going back and seeing it on a sunny day! (And of course, seeing the two Phils and the illuminations as well.) That seafront goes on forever and forever! I took lost of pictures so will show them to you another day . . .

In the meantime that was my smiles for this week . . . or at least six of the best ones at any rate!!

I didn't cook anything yesterday . . . no surprise there! With an early start off to Blackpool and a late arrival home, and so much fun tucked in between, there was not time, so I hope you will forgive me for sharing this recipe with you from my old journal on AOL. One of my favourite ways to prepare fish. You will want nice thick pieces of cod for this. Delicious!!!

*Pan Roasted Cod with Fondant Potatoes*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is cod cooked to perfection, meltingly tender and flaking gently beneath your fork, accompanies with potatoes that are crisply browned on the outside, with creamy tender insides. Delicious.

For the fish:
675g of cod loin fillet, washed, skinned and cut into 4 thick pieces (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 sprigs of thyme
Some flour for dusting
knob of butter
the juice of half a lemon

For the potatoes:
2 1/2 pounds floury type of potatoes
(This means one that is good for mashing or roasting)
chicken stock as needed
3 TBS butter
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised
1 to 2 springs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre heat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Start preparing the potatoes first as they will take the longest to cook.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunky slices crosswise, about an inch thick. Put enough chicken stock into the pan along with the potatoes, to just cover, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until barely tender. You don't want them to be overcooked and breaking up. You want them to be still fairly firm. Drain well.

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet until it starts foaming. Place the potatoes in, cut side down, along with the cloves of garlic and the sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes, then carefully turn and continue to cook for a further five minutes, until golden brown in colour all over. Discard the garlic and herbs, and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Keep warm while you cook the fish.

Season your fish pieces all over with some salt and pepper and dust with some flour, patting it on and then shaking off any excess.

Put a knob of butter into a clean skillet with an oven proof handle and heat it until it starts to foam. Put in the pieces of fish and cook over medium high heat for two to three minutes until nicely browned on that side, then carefully flip it over and add the springs of thyme and continug to cook, browning it lightly on the other side. Squeeze the lemon over all and then pop it into the heated oven, cooking for a further five to ten minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish, cooking only until the fish flakes easily with the tines of a fork.

Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before removing to heated individual plates for serving. Divide the crispy fondant potatoes between the plates and serve immediately.

Over on The English Kitchen this morning, Wacky Chocolate Cake. An oddity that is mixed and baked in the same pan and which contains no eggs or butter!


  1. I am smiling over here! What a fun week you have had. It is nice to see you doing some great things with friends and relaxing some after all you have been through in the past few months. Jim and I need to do that more too. We miss our friends! I look forward to his retirement like a silly school girl so we can entertain more!

    We have never dreamed of the reality of time together unencumbered by a busy work schedule. In fact we both figure we have really never had it except before age five when we stated kindergarten.

    I am sorry the pigeons kept getting your cabbage. I bought two big tomato plants yesterday to try once again to get something to grow and not get eaten by the deer. Oh they wait until you are about ready to harvest before coming in for the kill. Smart little rascals.

    How are you feeling, Marie? I am thankful you could walk all over Chester! What a blessing!

    Hugs to you~Bonnie

  2. Your smiles made me smile...nice. I love the look of this cake, will check it out...have a nice weekend, :D

  3. Your week sounds delightful. I am so glad that you treasure these moments. What a lesson to learn.

    I am off to check the chocolate cake recipe. I am allergic to egg yolk so this sounds like it should be a recipe I need to know.

    Enjoy your week.

  4. Hi, dear Marie! So much to smile about here... and so loved this post bursting with family & friends. You sound extra happy today! Happy birthday wishes to your Anthony...and baby Luke is such a sweetie-pie...aaawww... Love the fish meal today! Hoping to catch you online for a chat this evening--hope so! LOVE YOU HEAPS!! OXOX ((BIG HUGS))

  5. Is there injustice here? Are the poor pigeons being wrongly charged? Could it be SLUGS who are eating your cabbage plants?

    love, Angie, xx

  6. I was going to say the same as Angie Marie.Are you sure it's not the slugs or snails,who ar edoing the chewing, there seems many snails lately.Love all your pictures and I am so happy you had a wonderful time with both sets of friends.The garden looks to be coming on realy nice tell Todd well done.I can almost feel how happy he is pottering away there.Like me he looks so busy and to be in another world.

  7. What a lovely Sunday Six. No wonder you were smiling. I just love reading about your smiles because they always make me smile too. How nice that you could have nice visits with friends, go fun places and enjoy sunny weather.
    I surely hope that one day John and I can take advantage of Todd as a tour guide. We would love to take that tour of Chester with you.
    Have a good week dear. Hugs, Lura

  8. p.s. I love the picture of Anthony and the baby. I know you are so anxious to get to visit in July. I am happy you can do that. XOXOXO, Lura

  9. What a lovely post -- hope you're having a wonderful weekend with your sweetie. The cake looks most wonderful. Thanks for your very sweet visit.


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