Archive | November 2006

A Thanksgiving Wave

Well, maybe a ripple.

We celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday with a group of Franco-Americans.  I imagine all over the world, there are people for whom this is an important holiday, but they can’t necessarily celebrate on the official US day.

I think that, in a sense, this is one of our purest holidays.  The pleasure of preparing and sharing, of getting together to be grateful for our many blessings, pretty well defines it. (Yes, I realize we often “commit gluttony”  Image )  I was very happy to be in a gathering where all had participated in the preparation, where we were safe in a comfortable home with all the conveniences, with no risk of bandits or soldiers bursting in, with nursing mothers and young children, with a splendid home-raised turkey, and those are just the blessings I noticed yesterday – there are many more in our daily lives.

 

“It is God who made the night for you to rest,

the day to make things visible.

Indeed God is gracious to men,

but most men are not grateful.”

Al Qur’an 40:61

 

 

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November 26, 2006

The plant is called solanum jasminoïde.  It is half-hardy.  One year it looked like I had lost it; the temperature had gone down to minus 12 or 19 C.  But then one day in that corner I saw something that resembled a tomato and that was it.  Maybe it came back from seed.  I don’t know.  It blooms from July to November, until it gets hit with a hard frost. It holds on by twining its leaves.   It is rather volubile; I cut it back severely every year when spring has truly arrived, usually March.  It is in a sheltered corner, facing east.  There are almost always birds popping in and out of there – mostly sparrows.

Diamonds!!!

solanum_06_11

Sitting at the lunch table

it suddenly seemed as though the flowers across the way

were hung with diamonds,

sparkling jewels

due to the conjugated presence and angles of the sun, wind, and rain,

prismed into flashing beams of all the colours of the rainbow.

Not stones that one would collect, hoard, keep to show others,

just a brief moment of splendor to be appreciated.

Vanilla Becoming Chocolate

One of my favorite sights!

 

This morning I decided to bake a cake.  I licked the beaters (very carefully, see “Pound Cake” http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-EuUj92o1caIrYJG6AWg-?cq=1&p=35 ) and made sure I left a good amount of batter in the bowl.  This I took care of before lunch.  Then when the layers had cooled a bit, I took them out of the pans and rubbed together those little bits that stick and have such a delicious flavour of Breton butter.  I took care of those after lunch – so basically I managed to have dessert before and after lunch plus there is still a whole cake left.  Heh, heh.

These whirling motifs are among my favorite.  If you start looking around, you may see them everywhere, and I don’t just mean when the bathwater is going out.  Look at shells, at the leaves dancing in the wind, clouds, the frost patterns on windows, water, the leavings at the tide’s edge, sunflower seed heads, Romanesco broccoli,… 

It makes me think maybe the Creator likes this motif also.

Perhaps you feel you are in downward spiral.  Sit down a minute so that things stop spinning and then decide to embark upon an upward one.  You will find it is contagious.  You can test this with a smile or a frown around you.  All of our actions make ripples and spread.

Hey, it’s not very often I get to use chocolate to represent virtue.

November 17, 2006

According to:

http://www.thehungersite.com

        this is a day for world peace.

Are you in peace and harmony with those around you?

Et Flan!

Last night husband decided to make a flan – baked custard.  This is not very hard to make, you don’t need any fancy powders, etc.  Just the caramel might be a bit tricky, if you have never done it before.  The better quality eggs and milk you use, the better this will be.  (whole milk and farm eggs)

For the caramel, put 100g sugar (a scant 1/2 cup) in a small saucepan.  Start it out on high heat and then lower.  You can swirl it a little bit, but don’t stir and don’t get it up the sides of the pan as that part will cool and harden.  Cook it until it is a nice warm brown colour, but not to the point of burning.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Pour it into the mold which should be sturdy, heat-resistant, meant to go in the oven.  Turn and tilt the mold so that the caramel is spread around as much as possible.  Watch you don’t get burned.

Beat together 6 eggs, then add 150g sugar ( 2/3 cup ).  Warm a liter of milk along with about an inch of vanilla bean, split.  Pour the milk into the eggs, beating all the while.  You can get rid of the vanilla bean, if you like.  Pour this mixture into the prepared mold.  You will also need another recipient, big enough to contain the mold and also that can go in the oven.  Put the filled mold into this second recipient and pour hot water so that it comes up around the mold, but doesn’t get in there.  Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour in a moderate oven.  Let cool, then refrigerate.

While husband was doing this, I was working on a pile of ironing.  Somehow he had a bit too much mixture to fit in the mold, so he poured it into a small bowl and said, “Do you want to drink this?” ” Hmm,” I answered, “would that be like eggnog?”  He promptly splashed a healthy dose of whisky into the bowl.

Suddenly ironing became a pleasurable task!