Thursday 13 October 2011

Thursday this and that . . .

"When nothing is sure, anything is possible."
~Margaret Drabble

Margaret Drabble, a well-known writer, made this comment in connection with writing fiction. It certainly brings to mind a blank page or computer screen which presents itself to the writer when they are beginning a project. They may stare at it for hours, feeling quite uncertain and not a little bit afraid, before the words come and they begin to create a whole new world with a multitude of possibilities from whatever corner of their minds these imaginings come from.

I can see a great relevance of these words to other aspects of life as well . . .

Nobody knows what tomorrow may bring. When we are in the depth of despair over some occurrence in our lives . . . with a future which may or may not appear bleak and unclear . . . it would be so very easy to be discouraged and afraid. We may find ourselves having to make difficult decisions in the face of such uncertainty and be very discouraged indeed and more than a bit tempted just to do nothing at all . . .

If we were to stop for a moment and think however . . . we would see that uncertainties, in fact, present us with a gread abundance of possiblity!! Like an author faced with a blank page, it is up to us to aim for a story with a happy ending. We can be the author's of our own futures, and whilst we may not always be able to determine exactly how the story ends, we can make sure we have a pleasant time on the journey! This moment, this today . . . is a journey which will never come again. Why not make it the best that it can be. Don't spoil your present in worrying about an uncertain future.

Here is my latest creation I painted yesterday afternoon. I did this with a mix of watercolours and Copic markers. her dress, shoes and hair ribbon are done in watercolours. I love the subtleness of the mix and the way I was able to get the look of an actual fabric pattern in the material on her dress. That is something you wouldn't be able to get with such success in any other way. This picture makes me think of my mother when she used to be all dressed in her finery and ready to go out dancing with my father on Saturday nights. She always looked so beautiful and she smelled pretty wonderful, wearing her favourite scent . . . MaGriffe. To this day the smell of MaGriffe reminds me of my mother. Her dress would rustle as she moved, along with her crinolines . . . a special sound it was . . . my parents would be so happy as they got read and were waiting for the sitter to arrive. Special memories indeed . . . in any case this little fashionista is available as a print or a card. Just send me a message or a comment to find out how!

Don't you just love this picture of Todd and Mitzie? It looks as if he is reading her a very interesting story that she is listening to with rapt attention! Oh what a little dear she is!

And what a horrible pest I am disturbing her sleep to take silly pictures of her. She is very patient though and co-operates with me most of the time. I love her so very much . . . we both do, and you can tell . . . the feeling is mutual!

My father's cataract surgery went well and except for a feeling a bit uncomfortable he was doing alright yesterday when I called him. Many thanks for your prayers and happy thoughts. I think he will be having the other one done in another few weeks. He was in very high spirits.

I have long enjoyed a love affair with cauliflower cheese, that is until I discovered this little gem . . . my love affair has now expanded to include sweet potato with the cauliflower. Delicious!

*Cheesy Sweet Potato and Cauliflower*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is comfort food at its very best. Lovely, meaty, orange fleshed sweet potatoes combined with beautiful, earthy, cauliflower florets . . . all encased in a rich cheese sauce, crusty bits of grilled cheese gilding the top. What’s not to like!

2 large orange fleshed sweet potatoes
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
Cheese sauce (see below)
3 TBS snipped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
3 oz cheddar cheese, grated

Bake the sweet potatoes in a hot oven until tender. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. Put the cauliflower into a microwavable bowl, add a few TBS of water, cover with cling film and cook in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the cheese sauce as below. Preheat your grill.

Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges and lay them in the bottom of a greased oven proof dish. Drain the cauliflower and spoon it over the sweet potatoes. Spoon the hot cheese sauce over top (you may not need it all). Sprinkle with the grated cheese and the snipped chives. Grill for three to four minutes until golden and bubbling. Enjoy!

*Cheese Sauce*
Makes 1 ¼ pints

2 ounces butter (1/4 cup)
2 ounces plain flour (1/4 cup)
1 ¼ pints milk (2 1/2 cups)
1 bay leaf
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour, stirring until smooth. Let cook over low heat for one minute to cook the flour then slowly stir in the milk, whisking until smooth. Add the bay leaf and cook over medium low heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes until thickened. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

In The English Kitchen today, amazingly delicious Sticky Lemon Chicken for 2.

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