Wednesday 19 January 2011

January's Promise . . .

We had a fairly cold night last night. As I look out into the back garden I see a thin layer of ice on Todd's garden pond . . . poor fishies. I do hope they make it through the winter.

At a distance over in the Welsh hills I can see a light dusting of snow, whilst the bare tree branches in the park across the way stand etched against the backdrop of a cold, clear sky. Clear and frost . . . they go together well.

All is silent as a weak, pale and misty sun rises on the bushes and all the seedheads lay dusted in frost.

Two blackbirds pick amongst the dirt in the vegetable garden, hoping for some forgotten treat to feast on, whilst a robin, red breasted and bright eyed, perches on the handle of a frozen garden spade.

The silver grey branches of our magnolia tree lay bare . . . but already glossy green buds lay at their ends, rich with the promise of flowers.

This is the garden in winter, it beauty unique and no less inspiring than the spring splendour which promises to come . . . a cheerful thought on a cold January's day don't you think?

The doll's house arrived yesterday, now begins the business of putting it together and decorating. I was busy pouring over the catalogue last night looking at papers and tiny bits and bobbles . . . this is going to be so much fun! I promise to take you along on the journey of course!

My latest artistic endeavour, which I have entitled Wonderland. You'll have to hop on over to The Artful Heart if you want to see what it's all about! I think you may be pleasantly surprised!

Here's a delicious Vegetarian Meal that makes for a great lunch or light supper. I like to serve it stuffed into Chappatis or Pita Breads. It's so good that I may even have the leftovers for breakfast. I know . . . I am a glutton aren't I!

*Spinach and Pepper Rice Pilaff*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A great Vegetarian Meal. I like to serve with warmed chapattis bread or pitas. The roasted vegetables give it an earthy sweetness, which goes very well with the heat of the harissa and the tang of the feta cheese. Delicious!

2 yellow peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, halved
2 to 3 TBS olive oil
pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic cloved, peeled and finely chopped
12 ounces basamati rice (3/4 pound)
1 to 2 tsp of harissa paste (depending on how hot you like things)
4 cups of hot vegetable stock
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, washed and cooked until wilted
in the microwave
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped (cilantro)
3 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
paprika to dust

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.Place the peppers and tomatoes into a roasting tin along with 1 to 2 TBS of the oil, tossing together to mix. Sprinkle with the sugar and some seasoning. Roast in the heated oven for 20 minutes until tender and lightly charred.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, rice and harissa. Stir to coat. Add the stock and bring to the boil. reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the rice is tender.

Stir in the roasted vegetables, spinach and coriander. Spoon into a heated bowl and then sprinkle with the feta cheese and paprika to serve.

Look at what's baking over in The English Kitchen today. A delicious Lemon Swiss Roll!


  1. I think you are very wise not to be attempting such a long drive etc. Marie, No good upsetting your knee/hip any more than you have to. I will keep your cousins friend in my thoughts and prayers..
    I love it when Dee lies behind my back as is like having a warm hot water bottle lying there...mmmmmmmmm
    Love for now Sybil

  2. It was cold last night, wasn't it! I was quite surprised to see quite such a hard frost this morning. I'm beginning to think we mustlive in a bird-free zone. We rarely see anything more than blackbirds and pigeons!

  3. It was a very severe frost here this morning too Marie.Tell Todd to place a ball in the pond and remove it gently so not to startle the fish next day.This way the fish can still get air through the hole where the ball has been.Also tell him not to crack the ice with anything heavy as this is bad for the fish too.I hope he has dug it deep enough.Our goldfish grew enormous.We gave them away when we moved to the coast.My garden is full of blackbirds,robins, thrushes Yipee they have found me at last.xx Have a lovely day with your Dolls House Marie He-He.Take Care God Bless Kath xx


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