Monday 13 September 2010

A few minutes . . .

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a Heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour . . .
~William Blake

Modern life can be so demanding. We have more supposedly time saving devices than any other generation, but we seem to have less time. The days pass by in a seemingly rush and the weeks no sooner get started than they are ending . . .

It is important that in the muddle of all the rushing about we take a few moments now and then to just be quiet and stand still . . .

to reflect and dream a little . . .

to keep in touch with ourselves . . .

to smile at happy thoughts and pleasant memories . . .

to think about those we love . . .

to pray to our Heavenly Father . . .

to smell the roses . . .

Just a few minutes in a busy day. We will then be able to return to the business of our daily lives refreshed, renewed and ready to do whatever it is we have set out to do . . .

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
~ W H Davies

I hope you'll take some time to stand and just stare today . . . if only for a moment.

I did us a French meal at the weekend, just for fun. We started off with a lovely salad of Endive with celery, walnuts and Roquefort cheese, then the main course was Boeuf aux Carottes with all the trimmings, and for dessert a yoghurt cake. It was all delicious if I don't say so myself. It's nice to treat yourself well once in a while!!

*Boeuf aux Carottes*
(Braised Beef Brisket and Carrots)
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is a lovely meal that requires very little effort. You end up with meltingly tender beef with a rich broth, sweet and buttery in flavour from the carrots. I served it with a celeriac and potato mash and some lightly steamed haricots verts. (Green beans!)

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1.5 kg of rolled beef brisket (about 3 1/2 pounds)
1.5 kg of carrots, peeled and trimmed (About 3 1/2 pounds)
150g of bacon lardons (about 1/2 cup)
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 small leafy celery stalk
1 sprig of fresh thyme
500ml of dry white wine or unsweetened apple juice
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large roaster on top of the stove. (Use one with a fitted lid) Add the brisket and brown it slowly on all sides. Once browned, remove it to a plate, salt it generously and then set it aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the roaster and add the carrots, 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are browned. This will take from 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Put the lardoons and onions into the roaster and then cook them over high heat until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, beef and carrots. Pour in the wine or juice, and add water almost to cover. Bring to the boil. Skim off any foam that may surface, then top with the lid and roast in a pre-heated oven at 150*C/300*F. Roast for 3 hours, turning the meat over at least once during the cooking time.

Remove from the oven and take the meat out of the liquid. Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting in thin slices to serve, accompanied with the carrots and lovely juices spooned over top. Delicious!

Over in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Swede and Potato Soup!


  1. I so love stopping to smell the part of life..besides these yummy cooked carrots with the meat! :D

  2. I agree is so much nicer when we can take time to smell the roses...and the gardenias. I have a lovely big gardenia bush by my front door walk way. She blooms her little heart out and yet I only rarely stop and smell her sweet scent. I love that bush. She was the first I planted when we moved into this home 30 years ago...and yet day after day I pass her with little thought.

    I am glad that I could get to your blog tonight. I was having trouble earlier today. Now you are up ready to start your new week and I am headed for bed. Have a good day. I will check in with you again tomorrow. Hugs, Lura

  3. Just sitting here reading your wise words is a bit like smelling the roses, thank you. These momenets are so much neede at this time.
    Love Sybil

  4. G'morn Marie ~
    I have no problem taking the time to smell the roses daily ... what a lovely write & presentation, photos are beautiful.

    Have a beautiful week ~
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  5. Each day brings the reminder that time is flying by. Summer is just about gone now. Leaves are starting to change here and there in the trees and nights are already longer and cooler. I hope your Monday is a wonderful one.

  6. LOVELY thoughts and reminder for today, and everyday really too, Marie. Taking a moment each day--it is a gift to give to one's self. :o) Your French meal sounds wonderful...mmm... Hope you have a wonderful week ahead, dear friend! And that we get to chat... soon, I hope! ;o) LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  7. This is one of the greatest things about getting older! Everything seems to get righted in our lives as the expiration date becomes more visible! We don't have all the time in the world anymore so we best use it wisely!

  8. Aaah Marie, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet......." - this is Boiled Beef and Carrots at its very best (only that doesn't sound half so romantic!)

  9. Marie that looks so good...but I don't know the term "bacon lardons". Can you explain what that is? blessings, marlene


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