Wednesday, May 17, 2017

LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT



Moira Shearer - "The Red Shoes"

When I was little I wanted to be a ballerina, one matching, if not eclipsing the prowess and graceful fluidity of prima ballerina, Margot Fonteyn.  

When I was a little girl I dreamed of being  the exquisite Moira Shearer who starred as "Victoria (Vicki) Page" in one of the best, if not the best, ballet film ever made..."The Red Shoes".  I lost count of the number of times I watched that movie when I was a little girl.  

 (Shearer always reminded me of my mother.  Compare the photo of Shearer shown above, to the one of my mother in my previous post, and you may see what I always saw).
 
A little later I dreamed about being a trapeze artist flying through the air with the greatest of ease under the Big Top. 
  
I also dreamed of being a six-gun totin’, sharp-shootin’, whip-crackin’ cowgirl like Annie Oakley, or a swashbuckling pirate girl, with overflowing treasure chests in my sights. 

When I was little I dreamed of being the fifth member of the Three Musketeers.  Of course, I’d have to convince them to let a girl into their exclusive corps. 

Although I was unsure about Athos, Porthos or Aramis showing me much pathos, I was certain I’d be able to sway D’Artagnan around to my way of thinking because after he became a Parisian he proved his worth to the other three. He’d been through the wringer, and eventually came out a winner. 

A little further down the track I wanted to be an actress. Tony Curtis would be my leading man, and I, his leading lady.  I’d gaze at the glossy photos of Tony Curtis adorning my bedroom wall, dreaming of being the lovely Laurette de Latoure to his Rene aka “The Purple Mask”, in the movie of the same name, and of being his co-conspirator, Tina, in “The Prince Who Was a Thief”.  Curtis introduced me to the magic of “Houdini”. I never missed a Tony Curtis “picture” at the Saturday matinees Gympie's Olympia Theatre.  I was first through the theatre door, a bag of Maltesers or Jaffas clasped firmly in my hand.

Becoming a drummer was on my list, too.  A photo of drummer extraordinaire, Gene Krupa, held pride of place on my bedroom wall, too.

I could’ve been the Little Drummer Girl, opposed to the Little Drummer Boy.

As I grew a little older I wanted to be a nurse. 

I became none of the above, but the dreams were fun. All were remarkable adventures, none of which were little escapades. 

It’s fascinating where dreams will take you, if only in your mind.  Dreams cost nothing. They’re the cheapest way to travel because you don’t have to pack a suitcase, or live out of one for weeks/months on end.  It’s no little thing that no matter where you roam in your wildest, most fanciful dreams, you always feel at home. 

Someone said more than once: - “There’s no place like home, nor is any other bed as good as your own”. Whoever said those words spoke the truth, in my opinion; but then again, I am a self-confessed homebody.

Thoughtful gestures are what life is about, don’t you agree?  

To me, little things do mean a lot - kindness, simple and pure. 

Over the past few weeks I’ve been the regular recipient of the thoughtfulness of others.  Under the cloak of secrecy and blue skies, in stealth silence, friends from up the road have been leaving bags full of luscious home-grown grapefruits at my back door. Each morning I juice a couple of the delicious fruit, as well as two oranges, along with a lemon from my tree thrown in for added zing. 

A few weeks have passed since Cyclone Debbie’s aftermath travelled overhead dropping off a load of water upon our thirsty gardens on its way south.  From that benevolent gift, once more, Mother Nature’s awe-inspiring magic has been on display.  In little time at all, the rain has worked wonders.  Without exaggeration, the grapefruits, as well as my lemons, have doubled and, in some instances, tripled in size.   
That’s no little feat! 

The extraordinary powers of Nature never cease to amaze.

Simple pleasures - for instance, like when I met Simba, the not-so-little, handsome German Shepherd, anxiously waiting in the tray of his master’s ute in IGA’s car park the other day; and the jovial gentleman who took my trolley from me that same day (after I’d unloaded it, of course) – are part of the “little things mean a lot”.

In the sagacious words of Aussie singer-songwriter, Paul Kelly...”From little things big things grow”...this sentiment covers a multitude...pay it forward...

Grapefuit-Quinoa Salad: Strip peel from 1 grapefruit, taking care not to include white pith. Warm the peel, 8 thin slices fresh ginger and 1/4c x-virgin olive oil over med-heat. As soon as oil starts to bubble, remove from heat; set aside 30mins; then strain; reserve oil. Rinse 3/4c quinoa; drain; put in saucepan with 1-1/2c water and 1/2tsp salt; boil over high heat; reduce heat; gentle simmer, uncovered, 15mins; set aside, off heat, undisturbed 5mins; then transfer to bowl; fluff with fork; cool. Segment grapefruit; reserve segments and juice separately. Whisk 3tbs of juice with 1tbs white wine vinegar, 2tsp honey, and salt to taste, in bowl. Gradually whisk in 3tbs reserved grapefruit oil, starting with a few drops, then in a stream to make slightly thick dressing; season with pepper. Toss quinoa with dressing, 1 small minced serrano or jalapeno chilli, 2 finely-chopped shallots, 1c grated carrot and 2tbs chopped fresh coriander. Add 450g cooked prawns and 1 diced avocado, if desired.

Grapefruit-Mint-Feta Salad:  Peel 3 grapefruits. Remove segments; halve segments; add 1 small Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, 1very thinly sliced red onion, 100g kalamata olives and leaves of small bunch of mint. Combine 2tbs sherry vinegar and 2tbs lemon juice; season; pour over salad; top with 180g feta, thinly sliced into shards.

Grapefruit-Candied Ginger Loaf: Preheat oven 190C. Lightly grease 9x5-inch loaf pan. Whisk together 2c plain flour, 1c sugar, 3/4tsp baking soda, 3/4tsp baking powder and 1/2tsp salt.  Add in 3/4c grapefruit juice, 1tbs grapefruit or orange zest, 3tbs canola oil and 1 large egg; mix until just combined. Stir in 3/4c chopped crystallized ginger.  Pour evenly into loaf pan.  Sprinkle top generously with 1tbs raw sugar (and a little more chopped crystallized ginger or walnuts, if desired). Bake 45-55mins. Cool on rack, 15mins. Remove from pan; cool completely.

Malteser-Oreo-Fudge Slice: Line a loaf tin with baking paper, with an overhang. Crush 150g Oreos (or biscuits of choice). Using 100g Maltesers, chop some in half and leave rest whole; cut 50g fudge into small pieces; add both to crushed Oreos. In large pan, gently heat 75g butter, 2tbs golden syrup and 150g, preferably, dark chocolate, until just melted.  Add the dried ingredients; stir until just combined.  Pour into loaf tin; push several whole Maltesers in gently along top for decoration. Chill until completely hardened.  Remove from tin; cut into small squares.

Jaffa Slice: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Lightly spray a 20 x 30cm slice pan with oil. Line the base and sides with baking paper, allowing 2 sides to overhang. Process 1c plain flour, 80g chopped butter and 2tbs brown sugar in a food processor until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 1 egg yolk and enough chilled water (1-1/2 to 2tbs chilled water); process until mixture starts to come together. Press evenly over the base of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 mins or until light golden and cooked through. Set aside in the pan to cool completely. Meanwhile, for the Jaffa topping - place 200g pkt Allen’s Jaffas in a small sealable plastic bag. Wrap in a tea towel and use a rolling pin or meat mallet to pound until roughly crushed. Reserve 2 tbs of the crushed Jaffa.  Sift 1/2c plain flour, ¼ S.R. flour and 1/3rd cup of cocoa into a large bowl. Stir in 1-1/2c firmly packed brownsugar and 1tsp finely grated orange rind. Make a well in the centre. Add 200g butter, melted and 3 lightly whisked eggs; mix well until combined. Spread mixture evenly over the base. Sprinkle evenly with the crushed Jaffas, lightly pressing into the mixture. Bake 23-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool completely. Cut into slices. Drizzle with the chocolate sauce and sprinkle with the reserved Jaffas.




25 comments:

  1. It's good to know that something good came out of a cyclone.
    There certainly is no place like home, and no bed is as good as your own - home is where you heart is, your belonging, your family and friends.

    You had a lot of dreams then, but it's always nice to dream.
    Can't remember if I dreampt about being anything in particular.
    I was a ballet dancer that danced on the stage in a big theater, had my voice trained for years, I did become a RN and so on, guess I was lucky. Did acting, modelling and so the list goes on :)
    Also my husband and I did see Margot Fonteyn dance the Swan Lake at our local theater some years ago - she was just delightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there Margaret....I still have dreams. :)

      To have seen Fonteyn dance (live) would've been a dream come true. I was also a huge fan of Marilyn Jones.

      I did see Nureyev dance live back in the Seventies, in Brisbane...and to be in his presence and see him dance certainly was a dream come true for me. He was magnificent. He even bowed to me, and smiled...another story, for another day.

      I had ballet lessons for a while when I was a little girl. And I did model a couple of times, not professionally...but for the fashion company for whom I worked for 14 years...way back when I was young, trim and taut!! The only acting I ever did was in the local Gympie Drama Group when I was a teenager. Again, nothing professional about it! :)

      As for singing...I've had dreams of being a singer...but it is best it remains dreams...I'd scare everyone away if I started singing! I even scare myself! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  2. The little things are HUGE in my world. And yes, I am a homebody too.
    I never had the dreams you had, but a girl (or a boy) needs to dream. And I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here, EC...and I like it that way. Dreams can be a big or a little as one wants them to be...that's the fun of them.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  3. I dreamed of being a ballerina too, but only briefly. When I mentioned to dad I wanted to dance he signed me up for tap classes. I couldn't catch on as quick as I thought I should (immediately) so being the quitter I am, I took off for the beach instead. I preferred jazz ballet anyway and wanted to be able to do it on ice skates. An impossibility in Port Pirie of course. I also dreamed of having a two storey house with the whole upstairs front for my bedroom which was all pink and white.
    These days the little things mean much more to me, family and friends, Angel, my books and DVDs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved jazz ballet, too, River...still do. I loved tap, too. Mum tried to teach Graham and I how to tap. We didn't become the Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers of Gympie! :)

      The little things mean more to me, too. Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  4. I always like to see how the pictures you upload will be tied together. Well done! So nice of your friends and neighbors to be so thoughtful and bring fruit goodies to you like that. I agree - simple pleasures are the best. I'm a homebody, too - always have been.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Lynn...I try to link everything together...a story within a story. :)

      Simple pleasures are all I seek....

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  5. I took ballet and tap when I was a child and I probably wanted to be a ballerina; your first photo reminds me of a dresden ballerina statue a relative gave me for my birthday and later the filigree tuutuu was so damaged my mom threw it away, what a sad day. Those grapefruit recipe sound so refreshing since we are now marching into our hot seasons. Yep nowadays it's best to focus on simple pleasures, so glad you have such nice neighbors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there Linda...fortunately (because I love my privacy), I can't see any of my neighbours or their homes. I rarely even see my landlords whose home is up at the other end of this property...and I'm down the other end.

      There are only four houses as well as my little cabin on this lane/court where I live. I've never met or seen one lot of the neighbours in one of the houses. And I can't see any neighbours on any side - front, rear, left or right - not a house to be seen from any angle....a situation that I just love! :)

      Each block of land is about 3 acres or so in size. Directly across the laneway from me is vacant, treed land...no dwellings/buildings.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  6. You had some great dreams and aspirations;....when I was little I wanted to be a 'cowboy'.....obviously that wasn't going to work lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Delores...after every visit to the 'pictures' at the Saturday afternoon matinees I dreamed of being whoever the hero/heroine was that day. So for the following week dreams were filled with cowboys & indians, cops & robbers, swashbuckling pirates - being Jane to Tarzan, etc., etc. lol

      All harmless fun...using our imagination....

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  7. What an uplifting blog. You're so right, Lee. Something that may be small and easy to do for one person, means the world to another.
    Your mom is beautiful.
    Little girls and ballerinas....magical.
    The food (with recipes), as always, look luscious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sandra...I just finished (and drinking) a not-so-little glass filled with fresh juice made up of grapefruit, lemons and oranges. Yum! I'm addicted!!

      I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  8. How nice to live amongst caring, friendly people. My SIL loves Tamborine too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. G'day, Helsie. It's a lovely area to live in ... up here on the hill. It's managed to retain a village-like atmosphere...filled with nice folk.

      Thanks for taking the time out during your trip to pay me a visit. Take care. :)

      Delete
  9. How nice to have people leaving things at your door.
    I wonder if the butcher would leave meat....?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get on very well with the butchers up here on the mountain, Mr. Ad-Man! I wouldn't be surprised if they did. They willingly do special cuts etc., for me when I ask them...they're a good mob. My two cats would be very happy! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  10. So much truth in that title.
    These are wonderful things. I think we'll never get tired of the story of the 3 Musketeers.

    These foods are so inviting. I have a cough but I doubt I'd say no if someone offers me these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Lux...freshly squeezed citrus fruits would be just the thing you need to get rid of that cough, I reckon!

      Little things, the simple things are worth so much.

      Thanks for coming by. Take care. :)

      Delete
  11. I wonder if everyone has the capacity to dream vividly and expansively or are some people anchored so firmly to reality that they cannot fly away on flights of fancy? Does dreaming enrich us or leave us melancholic - haunted by images of what might have been?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. G'day Yorkie...I'm glad I have the ability to dream. It's a harmless pleasure. I can't imagine my life without my dreams.

      Whether dreaming is good for one or not I guess that's up to the individual. I prefer not being anchored to solid ground all the time. Reality gets pretty boring at times. Humans behaving in the same ill-mannered manner.

      I like being able to fly away fancy-free, for free! :)

      I'm sure even the most cynical among us have their own private dreams - they're just too scared (or cynical) to admit to having dreams.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  12. Little things definitely mean a lot and you have shared a lot:-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Annie....this is only a little bit...I've lots more! :)

    Thanks for coming by. :)

    ReplyDelete