Friday 11 February 2011

Friday musings . . .

February may be the month of love . . . but it is also a month of uncertainties. One day the sun may be shining upon us like the face of God . . . and the next a ferociously cold wind will come roaring down from the North and the skies will lay heavy with the presage of snow . . .

Yesterday I stood in a patch of golden sunlight . . . looking down at one of Tennyson's "solitary firstlings", . . . and today it feels as cold and dull and I would not at all be surprised to find the little fairy bell dusted with frost . . .

The window next to our dining table frames a bleak and bitter scene. Branches bare, dried seed pods in pots . . . the hedge seemingly a pattern of wrought iron. It would seem that hope has been halted in her tracks . . .

but what is that I see . . . each bare branch tipped with a pale green bud, the slender leaves of the daffodils that we planted along the back garden hedge have pushed themselves up towards the sun . . . and the birds are once again singing brightly of a morn.

Oh . . . this is promise . . . and it is right around the corner!

A few of you asked how Mitzie fared with us having been gone the whole day on Wednesday. I would not have been at all surprised to get home and find her having made a big mess upon our return. We were gone for about 8 hours. We put her in the kitchen with her bed, some water and some toys before we left, putting the baby gate across and leaving the radio on so that she had some music to listen to (I know . . . what are we like?)

She was very, very glad to see us (of course) when we came in, and I was so pleased to find that she had not messed at all, nor chewed anything either. (And Todd had left the cereal cupboard open too!) She is a very grown up girl indeed! It is not something we would ever do very often . . . to leave her alone for that length of time, but it is nice to know that in the case of an emergency it can be done. I see a temple trip in our future for sure!

I made this delicious soup for our lunch yesterday. I love broccoli in any way shape or form. Todd, now . . . he's not so convinced it is a miracle vegetable, but that didn't stop him from chowing this down!

*Cream of Broccoli Soup*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I love Broccoli and this is one of my favourite ways to eat it. Easy to make and so tasty! You can add about 2 ounces grated strong cheddar cheese or crumbled stilton cheese at the end and stir until it melts…it then becomes Cream of Broccoli Cheese soup!

1 ounce butter
2 medium potatoes, peel and finely chop
1 large onion, peel and finely chop
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 bunch of broccoli, including the stalk
1 litre of hot chicken stock ( you can use vegetable stock
if you want a vegetarian version)(4 cups)
1 cup double cream

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the potatoes and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

Cut off the broccoli florets. Peel the stalk and discard the tough bit. Chop the remainder into half inch pieces. Add the stalks to the onion and potato and cook for about five minutes longer.

Pour the hot stock over and add the broccoli florets. Bring to a boil and boil gently, uncovered, for about 5 minutes longer until the broccoli is tender. Remove from the heat and liquidize with a stick blender. (You can also do this very carefully in the blender or food processor, but I recommend investing in a stick blender. You won’t be sorry and you’ll find you use it a lot!) Stir in the cream and gently re-heat. Serve in heated bowls with crisp parmesan toasts.

*Parmesan Toasts*

8 slices of toasted plain ciabatta bread
About 3 ounces freshly grated parmesancheese

Lightly butter the toasted slices of bread. Sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese and place under a pre-heated grill until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes or so. Serve warm with the soup.

In The English Kitchen today, delicious Bread Machine Chelsea Buns!


  1. I am glad that Mitzie was such a good girl...what else would we expect of such a clever girl...But it was along time. It is the same with Dee I don't often leave him much longer that 4 hours...but if I do I leave radio etc on...we are daft!! Love both your recipes today...hadn't thought about broccoli Todd I am not so keen on the broccoli on it's won but as a soup...well thats an idea...thank you X
    Love sybil xx

  2. Signs of spring and this post, Marie! That soup looks just the thing--a snow storm here today...bbbrrr... So glad all went well with Mitzie while you were away on Wednesday--what a good girl! Hope you all have a wonderful, Valentine weekend--LOVE YOU ALL LOTS ((BIG HUGS))

  3. Your Mitzie is a very good dog having done so well and still a puppy. I used to have to leave mine all day while working and put a gate so they had to be in the kitchen too. Now I'm not working and have no dogs... Hope your Friday is a wonderful one!

  4. Well Done Mitzie:)
    She did very well for such a youngster. You are not daft for leaving the radio on, neither is Sybil:)

    Lovely post again Marie, thank you.



  5. yea mitzie! :) i remember having to leave zac for about 8-9 hours when he was just a few months old. we did the exact same thing you guys did(even played music too! i read that helps them not feel so alone). and he did great too! its fun to watch them learn and grow.

  6. Hi Marie, I have left you an award on my blog if you would like to pick it up.
    Love Sybil xx

  7. What a blessing this little dog h been in your lives. I think of her a the exact place n time where things turned around for you and things started coming up roses! Thank you Mitzie for taking such good care of Marie and Todd!


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