Thursday, April 07, 2016

DON’T FRET THE SMALL STUFF...INSTEAD FIND DELIGHT (YOU KNOW WHERE THE LIGHT SWITCH IS) IN EVERYTHING...BIG, SMALL AND IN BETWEEN...



At the beach at Southport on Queensland's Gold Coast - in years gone by -..with the daughter of friends of mine

Can you recall the days of splayds, Filet Mignons, Beef Wellingtons, French Onion soup, French Onion Dip, Chicken a la King, Chicken Kiev, Prawn Cocktails, Syllabub, Chocolate Ripple Logs et al; washed down with a glass or two of Orlando’s Barossa Pearl, or Lindeman’s Porphyry Pearl or St. Cora Burgundy

I never did drink the lightly effervescent Porphyry Pearl or Barossa Pearl after sampling the first sip or two of either.  Both Pearls were far too sweet for me; not my style of wine in any way.  I’ve always preferred red wine over white. And when I do have a white wine, I like it to be a dry white.

It seems like only yesterday when flaming Crepe Suzettes and explosive Bombe Alaskas reigned supreme on our dessert tables. 

Sometimes it feels as if it was only yesterday that I was still in my teens and early 20s, trim, taut and terrific, light-heartedly enjoying blithesome weekends with my group of friends at the beach .  Carefree times when our bikinis became briefer and our tans more golden.  These days a glance in the mirror quickly brings me rudely back to reality.  I don't recognise the stranger who lives in my mirror!  The girl that I was has long gone.  Fortunately, most of my friends with whom I shared those halcyon times haven’t departed (and they see similar reflections when they look into their own mirrors)!  When we chat these days, often we reminisce about our days in the sun.

Suddenly, without warning, today became tomorrow; and then the day after, and on rolled the years. All too soon, far too rapidly, the number of yesterdays multiplied.

Some dreams were fulfilled; some remain in the process of being woven; while many tapestries will never be completed; some hopes and dreams will be unfulfilled, but still alive in the mind - imagination. 

There are things each one of us have meant to say or do; things we’ve said and done.  We have past actions of which we’re proud; and then, we also have those we regret, the memories of the latter can linger endlessly, like an unwelcome visitor, eager to torment. 

Memories endure of people who’ve crossed our paths. Recollections, fond or otherwise, loiter within; the laughter shared; the tears spilled; frustrations and anger; confidences kept.

Life is funny that way.  The days of future passed – fading too quickly into memories, allowing little time to catch one’s breath.

Loved ones lost, but never forgotten, remain in comforting kind within our hearts and thoughts, to hold our hands, guiding us forward. 

We're not handed a script for life. Some people are more adept at hiking through life’s trail, but most of us muddle through the best we can.  We try.  We may not always receive an A-Plus, but we don’t always received a D-Minus, either.. 

Quite often as we traverse our path through life we ad lib it.  There are occasions we tread water as we attempt to regain our equilibrium; but somehow, we manage to make it through to the other side.

There are times, buffered by confidence we march along the road conquering the hurdles, letting nothing distract us from our goal.

At all times, the good, the bad; the happy and the sad, one must remember to take heed of the “inner voice”; to try one’s best  not to “fret the small stuff”.  It’s not always easy to achieve. It’s not always easy to make the attempt, either – but it doesn’t do any harm to, at least, try.

It is often said.... “We don’t miss what we’ve never had”.  I disagree.  

One doesn’t have to agree with everything that has been uttered by the so-called “sages”. Those “sages” don’t walk in my shoes, or your boots, whatever the case may be, Similar to you and me, even the so-called “sages were, and are capable of making mistakes.

I have no desire to burst anyone’s bubble, but no one is infallible. I don’t care whether it’s the Pope, the President of the US, the Prime Ministers of Australia and the UK, or, dare I say it, Putin – or anyone else, no matter who they are or what title they hold!  We all have our vulnerabilities; our chinks in our armour.  My goodness!  Even the White Knight’s armour gathered a bit of rust along the way!

How boring life would be if we never erred.

That being the case, I’ll tell you a secret; my life has never been boring, and mistakes – well, I’ve made my fair share and more; and, no doubt, I'll continue making mistakes!  I’ve made correct decisions, too. 

In life we come face to face with many, many choices; some expected, others unexpected; the – “whether to” or “whether not to”.  

When standing at the crossroad of choices, most times it’s prudent to ponder a while before taking the next step, or turning the corner ahead.   

However, there are times a spontaneous action can prove to be the better choice.  Take a deep breath; push the door open; barge on through without a backward glance.  The choice is one’s own; it belongs to the individual, not to anyone else.  As long as no one, including one’s self is going to be hurt or harmed a whole new and wonderful world might be waiting behind the door, eager to be discovered, giving  an entree to a different outlook on life; a different perspective on all things past, present and future..

Who knows?  It might be time to toss aside the unwelcome, uninvited fears that have surreptitiously snuck unnoticed into our life when our guard was down. No matter how much we might protest, we all have one or two, and oft times more. Fears have an uncanny habit of creeping in and silently taking hold, often keeping a low profile - when we least expect their rude intrustion. 

Who moi? Never! Not me!  Yeah! Yeah!  Pull the other one!

That’s when it’s time to take a deep breath and forge forth.  Show the fears who is boss.

Once we’ve kicked them to the kerb, some things that have been lost for years might be rediscovered.  It’s a case of looking in the right places, and knowing it’s the correct thing, for you...you...for YOU to do; not for your mate down the road, or your neighbours across the way...but for you.  We all have the power...the power to be...the power to be “me”...one’s self.

Who knows what we’ll discover behind the closed door....there might be a golden pastry-encased Beef Wellington a-waiting; or a bowl of aromatic Spaghetti Bolognese!

I’ll never forget the first time I made the latter.  I was 15 years old, and had not long started working in my first job as a legal secretary in a Gympie law firm.. I cooked enough pasta to feed the whole of Gympie and its surrounding areas; enough even, to feed the population of Maryborough, a neighbouring town!  Before 1960, the only spaghetti we knew and ate came in a Heinz can!

Prawn Cocktail: Combine 1/4c tomato sauce/ketchup, 1/4c thin cream, 1tbs fresh lemon juice, 1tsp Worcestershire sauce and a dash of Tabasco in bowl; season to taste. Shred some iceberg lettuce; place in 4 glass serving dishes or glasses. Using 600g cooked, peeled, school prawns (to make a seafood cocktail, add crab meat and oysters to the prawns) top lettuce with the prawns; drizzle with the cocktail sauce.  Add a slice or a quarter of lemon as décor on the glasses; serve immediately.

Beef Wellington: Season 1 whole beef fillet with salt and pepper. Seal in a roasting pan or on a flat top grill until all sides are browned. Set aside. Melt a little butter in a pan; sauté 1 finely chopped onion until soft, but with no colour; add 500g finely chopped mushrooms, 1 bay leaf and a little fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper; cook down until cooked and there is no moisture. Remove the bay leaf and add some chopped fresh parsley. Make crepe mixture: Sift 125g flour into a bowl, add 15g sugar and pinch of salt. Beat together 1 egg and 250ml milk. Mix flour and egg mixture together; add 30g melted butter (nut-brown). Set aside to thicken for about 15-30mins. Brush a crepe pan with oil and butter for frying; heat the pan. Ladle a little crepe mix into the pan; quickly swish around to cover the base. Cook briefly on both sides, but without getting any colour on the crepe. Set aside. Keep going until you have at least 6 crepes. You may also add a sprinkle of chopped parsley to the crepe batter, if you like. To assemble the Beef Wellington: Lay out a piece of puff pastry long and wide enough to enclose the beef fillet. Cover with crepes (this soaks up the beef juice and stops the pastry from going soggy on the bottom; you can substitute the crepes with prosciutto, if you prefer; or you can use a few strips of prosciutto, as well.  Using the crepes is the better option for the reason given). Place a layer of mushroom mix in the centre of pastry sheet; then place eef fillet on top. Roll over the crepes and pastry and neatly seal with egg wash. Place on a baking sheet. Decorate the pastry with shapes if desired. Egg wash the top; refrigerate 10mins to re-cool the pastry; then bake in preheated 220C for 15 minutes. You will need to increase the time for an extra 15 minutes if you are cooking a full Beef Wellington. You should have a nice medium pink beef fillet; if you have a thermometer cook to about 65-67C in the centre of the beef. Serve with a nice rich beef glaze or red wine glaze;- Using pan fillet was sealed in, add 1 knob of butter; melt; add 1 roughly chopped carrot, 1 roughly chopped onion and a few sprigs of thyme; brown; add 2c dry red wine; deglaze pan. Cook over high heat until reduced by half. Strain sauce into jug/pot; discard vegetables. Just before serving whisk in 2tbs chilled butter, a small knob at a time; whisk over high heat until glossy

Raspberry-Orange Syllabub: Divide 300g fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries between six small glasses. Finely grate zest of 1 orange; squeeze the juice of 2 oranges into a large bowl. Stir in 6tbs Grand Marnier (or Cointreau) and 75g caster sugar.  In a bowl gradually whisk 568ml double cream until it just holds its shape in soft folds; spoon cream over the raspberries; serve with soft amaretti biscuits on the side.

48 comments:

  1. I do admire the comfort you have in who you are.
    I am less confident. A work in progress.

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    1. I'm not sure if your admiration is warranted, EC. I, too, am a work in progress.

      I know who I am and what makes me tick, but whether that gives me comfort, I really can't say. There is a lot that goes on within. And don't be fooled, I'm not as confident a person as you might think me to be. It's all smoke and mirrors! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. I remember most of those foods, although I haven't eaten many of them. Never drank the wines either.
    Like EC, I admire you for being who you are, knowing who you are. I like to think I know who I am too, but sometimes I wonder. I am comfortable with myself though. I'd like to say my fears have been kicked to the kerb so often they're permanently bruised, but that might not be quite true.
    "We don't miss what we've never had" I disagree with that too. I miss being filthy rich, yet I've never had more than just enough to get from one payday to the next.

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  3. P.S. you were very pretty and I'm jealous of the long hair. I've always wanted mine long enough to sit on, but it doesn't grow much past my shoulders :(

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    1. Hey and Hey again, River...read my response above to EC. I do know who I am but whether I get comfort from that or not...sometimes I do, but I also have my moments of upheaval and doubts...just like most of us do, I suppose. I'm too old now to try to be anything other than who I am. It's not worth pretending...we should be who we are and not try to be someone else.

      I miss being filthy rich, too....I'm sure I'd enjoy being wealthy; no chance of the status quo changing in that quarter, either...unless I get a big win in the Lotto!! ;)

      For the majority of my younger life I had long hair. I never wore it out, though. A couple of times I decided on a change and had it cut, but soon grew it again. I cut it to its present length, where it has remained, about 10 years ago, I guess...thereabouts.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. I love eating with a splayd and never realised they were dated. Love the long hair look of your twenties Lee!

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    1. P.S. We too had only ever eaten tin spaghetti and I remember my mum making apologies for us when we went to a friend's place for dinner once and got the real thing.

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    2. Hi Carol....splayds are almost as dated as I am! I never bought myself a set, but I did use them when dining elsewhere.

      I had the long hair look for quite a few decades...the longest time I've had it short has been in the Naughties. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. I remember Barossa Pearl, my mum used to have it at Christmas time = Christmas Day.
    Great memories back then for you, and what great long hair!

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    1. Hey Margaret...those were fun, great times...worth remembering. My hair sure was long!

      Thanks for calling by. :)

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  6. One of my greatest memories was my grandfather serving our family flaming baked Alaska. Don't know if that is what any of your mentioned dishes were like. It was a time for me too when I was the person who is no longer in my mirror either.

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    1. Yes, Annie, the Bombe Alaska is a baked flaming Alaska...flamed with alcohol as it's brought to the table for serving.

      We all have strangers living in our mirrors these days, it would seem. I wish they'd all go and haunt someone else...I wouldn't mind having the old young me back again! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. You were gorgeous just like you are now!

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    1. You're too kind, Sandie. :)

      Thanks for your compliment and for dropping by. :)

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  8. I know that I have said it before but I will say it again: I do admire the ease with which you express yourself and your ideas. I would love to have written a post like that and some of your phrases, clauses and even sentences will make their way into my computer's scrapbook for plagiarising at a later date. I probably will not use "I don't recognise the stranger who lives in my mirror!" though because I have morphed over the years and I probably wouldn't recognise who I was when I was young.

    Am I allowed to say that you are very bonny young lady?

    As for the food I decided last year that it was so many years since I had had a prawn cocktail that I would make one when I had visitors for dinner. It went down so well that I have made prawn cocktails on a number of occasions since then. I have never had the courage to cook beef Wellington. Most of my syllabubs are lemon and orange.

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    1. Thank you, Graham for your words...you are most generous.

      It's years since I've made syllabub. My mates and I, in the early 60s had a bit of a craze on it...it and the cream-choc logs...and they featured often at our regular get-togethers. We had a lot of fun cooking for our "special" nights...mostly we sat around on the floor resting on cushions in those days - enjoying the food and our discussions. We figured it was the "bohemian" thing to do!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  9. The further I read the more I wondered how did you know so much about ME. I am afraid we have more memories of yesterdays than coming days, unless I lived to 140. Fat chance with my genes. Since Christmas I have been a rather sad kitty and run the gambits of all emotions. Then February and March were littered with flu, sneezing, coughing etc etc etc. I had told Prince when he gave me the sad news that( after we have taken care of this place and been promised that we would get the place for over 26 years now we will either have to buy it or get out after nine months when his mother dies) the year 2016 was mine to do whatever i wanted to do. I do not know how a Mother can do that to to the only child who has given up his life to take care of her and everything else that needs doing. What a mess here on the hill. My only do over would be to have bought a house for us when I sold my house back in 1989 and our home would be paid for with no looming move in the future. Sorry to burden you with my problem. Peace

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    1. Oh, Miss Kitty...there is no need to apologise to me. I'm so sorry to hear you have to go through this. The injustice of it is beyond my comprehension, so I can only imagine how you're feeling...what you're going through.

      You've taken and do take such good care of your home...and it is your home. Your distress is understandable. Is there nothing you can do to change the outcome? I hope you can.

      I rent this little cabin I've been living in for the past 14 years, and there are times, too often, that insecurity fears set in. I'd hate to have to move. Insecurity in one's four walls and roof over one's head is very unsettling.

      You've not burden me...I hope be expressing your feelings has lifted the burden off you somehow, if only briefly. I wish you all the best and I hope a positive outcome is in your favour. Hang in there! Miss Kitty Justice never gives up!

      Thanks for coming by...my positive thoughts go your way. :)

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  10. Wonderful post.
    You look good then. You look good now:)

    Oh FYI: relating to my A-Z, would you shoot me an email @ sandracox1@gmail.com if you have time? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sandra...I look a bit of a mess today. I've been lounging about reading the Sunday paper...not dressed in my Sunday best! ;)

      Ok re email...although I'm not sure why you've asked me to send you one. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. To see our old memories will boost us energy...

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    1. Hi WW....It's good to cultivate our memories...what occurred in them helped form who we are.

      Thanks for popping in. :)

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  12. I informed the nurse the other day that my mind was that of a 20 year old.
    "Your body is that of an old man" she sniggered.
    Tomorrow becomes yesterday rather quickly.
    Too much pasta is not good for you I find....

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    1. G'day Mr. Ad-Man...too much of anything is not good for us we are told repeatedly. Being told so often isn't good for us, either; it become tiresome. Moderation is the key.

      Too much past is not good for you, either, I find. I've not had a pasta dish for ages...I must have some soon.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. My life was shattered for me before I became capable of making choices. By the time I was capable, I was too timid. It wasn't until I was FIFTY YEARS OLD that I realized I had allowed myself to be victimized all my life. Age 50 was my turning point and at 67, I still want to turn around and kick my own arse for not getting my fair share of gumption along the way. You are my "go to" person for permission to keep doing what I've only recently done.

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    1. Hi LJ...I guess the important thing is that you did come to the turning point and are still continuing along the path it brought you to. To me, you seem to be doing fine.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. Nice post! "Days of future passed" - is that a Moody Blues reference hidden in there!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Hi Stewart...I think it's a great term. And, I do love the Moody Blues and that album...I still have the LP.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. Not knowing your email,I posted a food question for you in my comment section. Could you check it out please?

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  16. Who is that gorgeous beach babe in the fourth picture down? I will happily volunteer to apply her sun oil. Any time darling.... Your wisdom shines through once again in this post Lee. So often you articulate tricky thoughts quite splendidly - hitting the nail right on the head. For example - "Suddenly, without warning, today became tomorrow; and then the day after, and on rolled the years. All too soon, far too rapidly, the number of yesterdays multiplied." Exactly!

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    1. That girl left town, Yorkie! lol

      Thanks for your thoughts re my own. Pondering the meaning of life and one's role in it never grows old, even if we do.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  17. I think we all have the same looking in the mirror thing. Sometimes when I see photos of myself when I was in my 30s - I wonder that I was so hard on myself for the way I looked and really - I was quite attractive.

    Beautiful beach pics - you are still beautiful, I think.

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    1. Hey Lynn...I know what you mean..I think in our generation...well, mine, anyway, we were rarely given compliments re our appearance etc.

      A friend of mine from those days and I were discussing this a while back. In our day just blundered on through...our parents might have thought we looked okay and said it behind our backs, but rarely did they tell us to our faces. To receive a compliment, from anyone, really, was quite a big thing in those years. Now, I think it's different....and perhaps, in some sectors, it's gone overboard the other way!

      Like you, I look back at some of the photos of myself and think..."Well, you old bag...you didn't look too bad after all!" lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  18. Replies
    1. Thank you, Sandra - same to you. :) It's now Tuesday here and I'm waiting the arrival of my computer guy who, I think, will be taking my tower away for a couple of days to upgrade the hard drive. I'll be dependent upon my laptop...so I hope it does what it's told to do! :)

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  19. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. I love photos taken from the earlier years especially in the 60's or 70's. I think women are more classy in fashion then.

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    1. You're welcome, Lux. My memory lane is long and winding!

      Thanks for popping in. :)

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  20. You look like a model!

    I only freak out about the small stuff. The huge stuff, I take in stride. That's the nature of anxiety, I guess.

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    1. Hey there, RK....once upon a time I looked okay...now I look like a Model T Ford....I'm about as old as one! lol

      It too often is very difficult to control the sneaky small stuff that creeps up on us and catches us unawares. I'm a bit like you, it would appear...it's the small stuff that festers and causes anxiety. The huge stuff, I stand firm, look it directly in the eye and don't take a backward step or movement.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  21. Oh, the choices we must make.

    Thanks for visiting.

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    1. Yep...there's a million and more, Gail...and somehow we muddle our way through. Thanks for popping in. :)

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  22. Being comfortable in who you are is a great thing- something I am learning to do more and more the older I get.

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  23. Hey there, Keith. I think it is something most of us learn...slowly...as we grow older (quickly)...it's a step by step process...coming to the realisation...

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  24. that has got to be the most perfect beef wellington I have ever seen and I never tried making one either; been doing a bit of muddling this winter and now I have to force myself to emerge and kick it into high gear for the season.

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    1. Hey there Linda...it's a long time since I've made a Beef Wellington...I used to make them, but nowadays I couldn't be bothered...too lazy! :)

      I'm going to have a "muddling" day today....thanks for coming by. :)

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  25. Thanks for the recipes and Wooozer girlfriend! What a looker!
    hughugs

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    1. G'day Donna...That girl in the photos has longed left the stage! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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