Monday 14 June 2010

Monday morning thoughts . . .

Delicate and beautiful and vivid as the sunset skies . . . a mass of sweetness, like a cloud of pink and crimson butterflies. Are they flowers . . . these moth-like things with brightly tinted wings of flame??? Sweet peas . . . that is what they're called . . . but can such beauty have a name?
~Patience Strong

Sweet peas have to be one of my favourite garden flowers. I know I say that about them all . . . I guess I just love all of the garden flowers . . . but sweet peas touch a tender spot in my heart, moreso than any of the others.

I'm not sure why that is . . . I suppose it is because they are old fashioned, and I am somewhat of an old fashioned girl. I love to see an old fashioned cottage garden with the old flowers, haphazardly in bloom . . . larkspurs, hollyhocks, roses, bachelor buttons, pansies . . . sweetpeas.

It looks as if they have all just burst into colour wherever they fell . . . but you know in your heart that such haphazardness took a lot of planning . . . still, you enjoy the way that it all looks so natural.

Todd has been making progress on his "pond." It looks a little less like a moat and more like a doughnut . . . with a bit of grassy tuft in the middle. He is enjoying the mindlessness of digging and creating. I suppose it is like baking a cake in a way . . . you never would think when you are banging all the ingredients into a pan that it would turn out to be such a lovely thing would you?

We went for a long walk along the river with our friend Peter last evening. This time we crossed over the footbridge down by the Groves in Chester and walked along the river on the other side. It was so very beautiful and peaceful. There are some lovely homes down there. One time I will take the camera. It was a leisurely walk and we talked and just enjoyed each other's company and the company of a friend. At one point we saw a heron perched at the edge of the water on the other side of the river. After much discussion we decided that he must be a wooden one as after several minutes he still had not moved . . . but then he did move and we all decided that he was real . . . just very, very patient and good at standing still.

We also saw a Cormorant, wildly flapping his wings at some of the other birds on the wier . . . showing off, if you like. We all decided that we were very lucky to be living in a place that has so many beautiful walks to take, and a city that has so much to offer. It is a city, but it is a city with much heart and beauty and a small town feel to it. I love it so, and always have! It feels good to be back.

I finally got a calling in the Ward yesterday. That is what we call positions we are assigned in the church. We have no paid ministry so everyone must do their bit to keep things rolling along smoothly. Todd is still waiting for one, but I expect it won't be long before he has one. These positions are only given out after much prayer and thought, so they truly come from the Lord. Each one that I have been given through my eleven years in the church has helped me to grow and stretch in unimaginable ways. I was actually called into this position several weeks back, but whilst I didn't initially turn it down, I did say that I had hoped to have some time in Relief Society before being taken out into the other auxiliaries.

It is as first counselor in the Primary (children's Sunday School). In my eleven years in the church, I have spent most of my time in either the Primary or the Young Women's, and I had been looking forward to spending some time with the women, but alas . . . the Lord has other ideas about where He wants me to be, because they approached me about it again yesterday, and this time . . . I accepted. I know that I have a lot of experience in this area, and it must be going to come in handy I suppose! We shall see!

I'd like to share a lovely luncheon salad with you today. It makes a nice light ladie's lunch to share with a few friends on a warm afternoon. I always like to serve it with some crispy bread sticks and then an indulgent dessert to finish. You don't feel so guilty eating the dessert if you've eaten salad first!

*Endive and Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Toasted Pecans*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I try to use both the red and the yellow endive in this salad for a contrast of colour and to add interest. I love the flavours of the slightly bitter endive which go so very well with the sweetness of the pears. When you add the creamy tang of blue cheese and the sweet crunch of toasted pecans you have a salad full of lovely delicious flavours. It would make a perfect first course for a dinner party as well!

3 TBS sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Honey Mustard
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup salad oil

1 cup chopped pecans
9 belgian endives, a mix of yellow and red
1 full flavoured ripe pear
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Irish Cashel Blue)

Put the ingredients for the dressing into a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk together.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4 and spread the pecans out onto a baking sheet. Toast them in the heated oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned and aromatic. Set aside to cool.

Trim any sad leaves off of the endive and discard, then cut them in half and then into quarters, lengthwise. Thinly slice each quarter into strips. Peel, core and thinly slice the pear lengthwise as well. Toss both together in a large salad bowl along with the toasted pecans. Sprinkle the top with the crumbled blue cheese. When you are ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over all and toss to mix well. Serve on chilled plates. Delicious!

Over on The English Kitchen today, a delicious Swiss Roll, or Jelly Roll as it is known in North America!


  1. I too love sweet peas and scattered with everything flower pretty that way!
    I too have worked in Primary and YW's all my life and for the last 8 years have been teaching the youth in SS...I was called to the same calling in this ward too...but I do so love the youth and I know the Lord knows that too.
    This salad looks so yummy to me! :D

  2. My goodness, here you are posting your Monday post and I am just not sitting down to post my Sunday smiles. You are way ahead of me as usual.
    I too love sweet peas. They are so pretty and smell so good. I picked a lovely bouquet of them a few days ago and their aroma filled the house.

    I am glad that Todd is making progress on the pond. I always wanted John to make us a pond but he said the pool was enough to take care of. Oh well...

    I also enjoyed reading your Sunday smiles. It looks like you had a wonderful time in Chester city.
    I think all of my pictures have downloaded so I must hop back over to my blog and get my post done while it is still Sunday. I send love as always, Lura

  3. Sweet peas remind me of my grandfather. He grew them in profusion and every year I mean to plant some.

    I hope you find real joy in your new calling.

    Enjoy your Monday.

  4. Good Morning, dear Marie! Oh, I just love the old fashioned flowers too. I miss having sweet peas. I've not found a good spot for those, and they get droopy in the kitchen garden from too much sun sometimes. I think of their scent though. Congratulations on your Primary post! You will serve well, I know. :o) I'm sorry we missed again on chat. I think we must miss by hardly anything...and with the little time difference. But so looking forward to talking. How would this evening be?! :o) LOVE your salad for today--right up my street. And so much enjoyed your walk around Chester & goings on in your previous post. Many heartfelt thanks for your ever so lovely comment at my place for my blogiversary. We have been so blessed meeting through our blogs. LOVE YOU HEAPS!! OXOX ((BIG HUGS))

  5. Sweet Peas are, and have always been, my most favorite flower of the world. Can't grow them here in Colorado. Tried to grow them in California when I was visiting but they didn't take. It's like missing an old friend. Thanks for the pictures of them.

  6. Congratulations on your new calling. I pray that it will be a wonderful experience for you. Right now, I a Primary teacher and love it(although the five year olds can be a real handful!). I understand your desire to be in Relief Society at least for a little while. I know exactly how that feels.

    I am happy you had such a wonderful walk yesterday. I loved living vicariously through you. :)

    Hope your week is wonderful.`


  7. I'm afraid I'm ignorant--what's an endive?

  8. Hi Miranda. Belgian endive, also known as French endive and witloof, or white leaf, is a leafy vegetable that looks like a thin cylinder of tight, pale green leaves. It is somewhat unusual in that it is not grown from seed or seedlings directly in the soil. Instead, it is cultivated by forcing a second growth from the cut roots of chicory plants. It has a somewhat bitter taste. You could use any hearty variety of lettuce in this if you could not get endive. You will want one with a strong flavour! No wimps allowed! xxoo

  9. Woops - late again! I've always found endive bitter on its own but much nicer with a good dressing. It's also nice dowsed with olive oil and roasted lightly.


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