Monday, 7 June 2010
Simple pleasures . . .
Take time to think,
it is the source of power.
Take time to play,
it is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read,
it is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray,
it is the greatest power on earth.
Take time to love, to be loved;
it is God's given privilege.
Take time to laugh,
it is the music of the soul.
Take time to give,
it is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work,
it is the price of success.
I found this poem in one of my many books and I just love the words . . . they resound with truth to my heart, and speak of things in life that are truly important, and sources of great joy . . . or at least the things in my life that I find important and joyful. I am a simple woman, with simple needs and wants and . . . joys.
We went for a long walk with friends last evening, down by the River Dee over on the other side of Chester through a tiny village called Eccleston. It's so very pretty there . . . and it was an easy walk . . .
We passed by beautiful cottage gardens, each one a picture . . . it was plain to see that they had been tended to by loving hands . . . a gift to us who wandered by and gladly drunk them in . . .
Fishermen down by the banks, quietly sitting and casting their lines . . . I wondered at the fish they would catch, but didn't like to ask and disturb their solitude . . .
Rolling fields, surrounded by moss covered brick walls and filled with dairy cows . . . softly mooing . . . the sound carried off through the eventide upon a gentle breeze . . .
We became acquainted with a couple of metal detecting men, who had stopped . . . the whistle on their detector going mad. We watched and chatted and waited while they went to work digging up their find . . . a piece of silver paper . . . long discarded from a bar of chocolate or some such . . . but it was an adventure all the same. You meet some really nice people walking along the river . . .
Several Kayaks, brightly coloured, drifted past . . . disturbing the quiet flow of the river . . . but not at all in an unpleasant way . . .
We walked and chatted and enjoyed the ambience of our long held friendship . . . this was a gift, is a gift, and we all thought to ourselves . . . we need to do this more often, but we know we won't.
It will continue to be a rare treat . . . these easy walks . . . but then again, it is the rareness that adds to their value . . . that lifts an ordinary walk up into the realms of something really special.
I am grateful for that. Simple joys, simple pleasures, the company of simple friends . . . All the best things in life truly are free.
We returned home afterwards and shared a piece of cake, none of us wanting the evening to end. This tasty blueberry cake went down a real treat. Easy to make and so very delicious when it is done, I don't know anyone that doesn't love it.
*Blueberry Crunch Cake*
This is soooo good!! With it's buttery, crunchy base and topping and it's lovely gooey blueberry filling, this is a real winner all the way around Serve dusted lightly with icing sugar, along with some cream for a really delicious dessert!
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 further tsp of cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup soft light brown sugar, packed, plus a further 2 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup of butter, cut into bits
1 large egg
the grated zest of one lemon
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 1/4 cups fresh blueberries
preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 9 to 10 inch spring form pan and set aside.
Place the 1/2 cup of the cornmeal, the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the 2/3 cup of brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Drop in the lemon zest and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. (alternately you can whisk the cornmeal, flour, soda, baking powder and brown sugar together with the lemon zest and then rub the butter in with your fingertips to resemble coarse crumbs) Beat the egg together with the lemon juice and add this to the mixture in the food processor. Pulse again, just to combine evenly. (Alternately whisk together and stir in with a fork to combine.)
Press 2/3 of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing lightly to even it out. Sprinkle with the 2 tsp of the cornmeal, trying to sprinkle it evenly over all. Top with the blueberries and then sprinkle the 2 TBS of brown sugar evenly over the berries. Crumble the remaining cake mixture over top of the blueberries and brown sugar. Bake in the heated oven for 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out fairly clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the sides of the pan.
Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with some pouring cream, spooning cream or softly whipped cream on the side. Delicious!
If you are looking for a simple dessert that is quick and easy to make and uses simple ingredients hop on over to The English Kitchen this morning . . . tis Cookies and Cream Dessert.