Friday 25 February 2011

Friday meanderings . . .

These bodies are perishable,

but the Dweller in these bodies is eternal.

If you look at most vegetables and fruit, it is fairly evident that the most delicious part is the insides. If you want to get to the sweetness and ripeness, you have to penetrate the skin . . . to peel it away. Often the skins are quite horrible looking . . . take the skin of a Kiwi for instance . . . and they also taste pretty horrible . . . like an orange peel, all bitter and sharp, but if you are willing to make a tiny bit of extra effort, you will get to the inside and be rewarded with something that is beautifully delicious.

So it is with us. Our most beautiful and tastiest parts dwell inside us . . . not on the surface. Hidden deep within the recesses of our outer hull . . . which may or may not be beautiful to the eye . . . our spirit begins to grow and develop . . . being moulded by our experiences here on earth, right from the time we are born.

Life can be a tough journey for some of us, and perhaps a bit easier for others . . . but I don't believe that anyone truly gets through it totally unscathed, no matter what outward appearances would tell us . . . everyone gets put through the fire . . .

The difference lies in wether we choose to take these "Ripening" experiences and allow them to help us develop and to grow sweeter inside, or if we choose to ignore them and stay as we are . . .

It's like picking up two plums in a shop. Both look pretty much the same on the outside and each have beautiful colour . . . but you bite into one and it is hard and bitter inside, never having truly ripened . . . whilst the other gently yields beneath your teeth and it is sweet and juicy and pleasant to the taste. I know which one I'd rather be, don't you?

I had a bit of a funny day yesterday. I was kind of blue all day. Sometimes I just let the circumstances in my family get to me . . . and I cry. I sit and try to figure out how I could have done things differently, and I feel very discouraged . . . at one point I had convinced myself that I would never go back to Canada ever again . . . that if anyone over there wanted to see me, they would have to come here. It hurts when you love people, and they have no desire to spend any time with you . . . when they never send a card, or ask how you are, ignore all your efforts to communicate. It hurts to be told that you have never done anything for your children, and have never been there for them . . . especially when you know that the truth is quite different than that lie. You get to the point where you don't want to do it anymore, to feel it anymore . . . where you just want to excise yourself from the experience all-together . . . eventually though, as always, I managed to shake it all off and move forward. I think the great deceiver knows this is my weakness and he trys to hammer me with it every once in a while, as he does know all our weaknesses. I won't let him win though, and neither should you.

They're having a talent show at our Ward tonight. I am really looking forward to it. There is also going to be a cake competition so I will be baking a cake today. I am not really bothered about the competition, it will just be fun to bake a cake, and to eat it too, along with everyone else's!

Here's a tasty dish that is great for supper, along with a lovely tossed salad, or for a brunch at the weekend. It may look complicated, but it's really very easy. I hope you enjoy!

*Croque Madame*
serves 4
Printable recipe

A traditional ham and cheese toastie, topped with bechemal sauce and a fried egg. Delicious!

5 TBSs butter
2 1/2 TBS flour
1 3/4 cup milk
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
pinch thyme
pinch of grated nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 slices of sturdy white sandwich type bread
4 tsp Dijon mustard
4 ounces of Gruyere cheese, grated
12 ounces of leftover ham, sliced
1/2 ounce of Parmegiano-Reggiano, finely grated
4 large free range eggs, at room temperature

Melt 2 TBS of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk in the flour, whisking constantly until it begins to turn beige in colour. Slowly whisk in the milk, iin a slow and steady stream. Cook and whisk constantly until it is smooth and thickened and slightly bubbling. Whisk iin the brandy, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside, whisking now and then to help prevent a skin from forming.

Position your broiler rack 4 inches from the heat and heat the broiler to high. Spread 4 slices of the bread on one side each with 1 tsp of Dijon mustard. Top with the slices ham and then the cheese. Place the remaining 4 slices of bread on top.

Melt 1 TBS of the butter in a 12 inch non stick skillet over medium heat. Cook 2 of the sandwiches until brown and crisp, turning once, halfway through the cooking to brown the remaining side. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and repeat with another TBS of the butter and the remaining 2 sandwiches.

Melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking just until it turns beige, about 20 seconds. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream; continue whisking until smooth, thickened, and slightly bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the brandy, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Whisk for 30 seconds; then remove from the heat and set aside, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Ladle the bechamel sauce over top of the sandwiches. (It will run down the sides, but that's ok.) Sprinkle with the Parmigiano Reggiano. Broil until bubbling and lightly browned.

Melt the remaining 1 TBS of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Crack in the eggs and fry them sunny side up until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny.

Transfer the sandwiches to serving plates, placing a fried egg on top of each. Sprinkle with salt and a good grinding of black pepper and serve.

Cooking in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Scalloped Corn and Macaroni Bake.


  1. So sorry you had such a downer day yesterday, Marie! Given how things are, I'm sure such moments happen... and how can they not. There are things we cannot change, no matter how much we wish it, and not matter how hard we pray sometimes it doesn't happen either. Perhaps it is time to let go, release yourself of those heavy heart & heavy mind burdens. I know they are your children, and how hard that must be. They are adults now, and choose their own doings, even if it might not always be "right." You do your best as always. And that is all we can do. Sometimes by letting go a little, we gain a lot. :o) I hope you will be feeling better soon. Easier said than done, I'm sure! Must say I LOVE the photos in this post--these interior scenes are like a dream... Wonderful, Croque Madame--nice twist on a classic. Happy Weekend to you all--LOVE YOU LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  2. Dear Marie
    Over the years your blog has given me so much joy and comfort. I wish I lived closer to meet you face to face over a cup of tea and slice of cake. :-) You are so wise. I have my own issues which I pray pray pray about constantly and feel so frustrated when I get no answer. I know I have to release my burdens too. We are held in God's arms. I send you much much love. You are an incredible lady and the love of God just radiates from you! xx

  3. sorry you were down yesterday:( glad you were able to shake it. i get down about things too and its hard to shake that feeling. your children love their mother, you did the best you could do. some day it will all be right! xoxo

  4. Big hugs from Texas, Marie! And a warm nuzzle to your gal pal Mitzie.

    (You are usually the first blog to show a new post in my morning time, and I so enjoy reading your thoughts for the day. Thank you.)


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