Saturday 16 April 2011

Poetry Saturday . . . The Cherry Now

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
-A E Houseman (Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now)

The old Post Office in a village very near to where we lived down in Kent used to be surrounded by beautiful cherry trees in bloom about this time of year each spring. Can there possibly be a more beautiful sight to behold??? I think not!

My Step by Step program went well yesterday. I managed to keep up with most of the exercises, despite my bad knee, so that was good! It was mostly low impact, and I don't mind saying that I was perspiring at the end of the 60 minutes too! Then the best thing of all, I managed to lose three pounds in a week. Amazing. Go me! (I don't expect that kind of success every week though!)

We are off to the dog groomers with Mitzie early this morning. She is a digger we have discovered. She likes to dig in the dirt, and has taken to digging up our Jerusalem Artichokes. We have had to try to figure out a way to keep her out of that bed. We have to keep one step ahead of the little madame all the time! It's a good thing we love her!

A lot of people over here in the UK go for a Curry or a Chinese on Saturday evenings. We have a chippie down the end of the road that does really great Chinese. I love their Beef in Black Bean Sauce. Back home we often went to the Chinese Buffet place. I always adored the chicken wings and the Lemon Chicken. It's probably not very good for you, but once in a while it's ok to treat yourself just so long as you don't go overboard!

*Chinese Lemon Chicken*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This has always been my favourite kind of chicken. I just love the tanginess of the lemon sauce.

2 pounds skinless chicken breasts, sliced
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 cups peanut or vegetable oil
Lemon slices (optional)
White sesame seeds (optional)

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Whisk together the soy sauce and sesame oil for the marinade. Coat the chicken with the marinade, cover and then place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least half an hour.

Combine the cornstarch and white pepper in a shallow bowl. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Roll the chicken pieces in the cornstatch mixture, shaking off any excess before frying.

Heat the three cups of oil in a large pan, until just smoking, then add the first batch of chicken pieces and deep-fry until cooked through. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Turn off the pan with the oil in it, removing 1 tablespoon of the oil into a medium-sized pot and heat over medium-high. (You can save the used oil for later use by allowing it to cool, then straining into an aluminum can or other container.)

Add the garlic and ginger to the 1 tablespoon of the oil, and cook briefly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, chicken stock, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook to thicken.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Add the fried chicken pieces and toss them in the sauce. Garnish with lemon slices and white sesame seeds, if desired. Serve with white rice and maybe some steamed broccoli or snow peas on the side.

There's a delicious Roly Poly Rhubarb Pudding waiting for you in The English Kitchen this morning! Have a wonderful Saturday everyone!


  1. Cherry blossoms already? I am super envious, Marie. I'd never seen massed cherry blossoms before I'd moved to Europe and now I can see why people love them so much. There is a well known park in the middle of Stockholm that is famous in May for the cherry blossom display - so delicate, fleeting and pretty. It is as though the trees have been sprayed with pink fairy floss (which I think is candy floss or cotton candy in North America). It cheers the soul.

    Well done on the weight loss and completing the first exercise program. It's always great to get that boost, but I can see that you know to take it easy with your knee and your weight loss expectations. Small steps - but always in the right direction. I actually made it all the way to the main shop in town and home again yesterday on foot, which I haven't been able to do for three years because of my knee. My new brace seems to have made the world of difference to my mobility.

    I used to love Chinese lemon chicken. We don't have Chinese restaurants here - well, hardly any, so I've not eaten Chinese food for years. I love lemon on anything, so I think I'll try this next week for a nice change. I can feel that zinging in my tastebuds already.

    Love to all of you and a special pat for Mitzie. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. That was great that all went to plan yesterday...good on you at the loss...keep going love you'll get there ....
    Yesterday Mary and I went into Bath and I took her to the big park where there is a Botanic garden...It was BEAUTIFUL full of spring blooms and the avenue of Cherry trees just took our breath away..We could not walk down the avenue as the Spring Fair was setting up and tents, rides, etc were in our way !! still I do agree that there are few things as lovely as the blossom on the cherry.
    Hope our wee one gets on ok at the groomers today...we do love them but it is costly when they have to go to the "hairdressers"!!!!
    Love Sybil x

  3. Here it is Cherry Blossom time in Washington, D.C.. It is said to be beautiful but I've never seen it in real life, only in pictures.. We do have cherry trees scattered here and there though around where I live and I see the beautiful blossoms often. It's an inborn trait for a dog to dig and I hope your artichokes survive. Great news on the exercise and weight loss too!

  4. Congrats on the weight loss. I am worried about how much weight I will gain from being down in bed all the time. It doesn't seem fair but I weighted the same yesterday as when I left home. How can that be when I have hardly eaten for 3 weeks???
    I got moved yesterday and it was a nightmare. I hope things get better today. I will try not to be negative.
    I'm sending love, Lura

  5. Marie I am so pleased that you are off to a great start on your weight loss program. I had my first little set back this week. But it was worth it just being with the kids and concentrating on them I wasn't as good about tracking the food and I did eat out three times and had two desserts..up 1.6. Not bad, it was worth it. I am not attaching any guilt or emotional baggage to it. It is simply life.

    I am happy if I lose 1 pound per week and maintain fairly well over vacations and holidays. Lanette, my friend and WW leader who weighs 100s per week says over four years she has never seen anyone consistently lose 2 pounds per week. So one per week is the norm. Of course the three at the beginning is a fantastic kick start but you are right not to expect that every week.

    So glad too that the exercise class went OK. People that do not know knee pain do not get the hesitation we have, but they would if they did!

    Hugs, B


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