Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

For friend hearts, and sweethearts, and parent hearts, too,

for hungry tummies, and open arms, this one’s for you.

Some truth, some fluff, some real love stuff . . .


Ah, Janey, make us swoon.

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.

~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Love? Yeah . . . You’ll be crying . . .


Well, well . . .

Handsome is as handsome does.

~J.R.R. Tolkien


Ah, at last . . .

I don’t want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you.

~Lucy Maud Montgomery,

Anne of the Island


Sweetest video ever made–send this one to your honey.


And this is what you can tell them over Valentine’s dinner ūüėČ

Opening her eyes again, and seeing her husband’s face across the table, she leaned forward to give it a pat on the cheek, and sat down to supper, declaring it to be the best face in the world.

~Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend


Love? Oh, WOW.



Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.

~William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis


A little something for the Valentine table.

For your children, for your honey, or for you!

Beetroot and Parsnip Soup with Horseradish*

(nope, not tomato!)

pink soup? think of that! and jolly easy to make!

30 grams butter

1 potato, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 large or 4 small beetroot,

peeled and chopped

800 ml vegetable stock

1oo ml cream and sour cream,


1 T horseradish mixed with

1 T olive oil and 1 t vinegar

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. And the onion and cook till soft but not brown, then add the potato, parsnip, and vegetable stock/broth. Bring to the boil and then add the beetroot, cooking for a further 15 minutes. Don’t overcook, as the beetroot will go from a lovely deep pink to a red color. When the vegetables are tender, remove from heat and puree with a stick blender (or blender) until the soup is smooth, but with a few lumps. Stir in the cream, sour cream, and horseradish mix and season with salt and black pepper. Exquisite!

*Recipe adapted from Delicious Soups by Belinda Williams


Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.

~C.S. Lewis


Wishing the happiest of Valentine weekends to you!

Avonlea x


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Happy Little Sigh
Homemaking Inspiration from Literature ‚̧



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A Dozen Cosies to Warm Your Heart  & Your Hands and  Bless Your Week . . .

  1. Spread a blanket and have a picnic lunch inside. Or a candlelit picnic at night when the children are abed?

  2. Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers and divide them up in jars around your house. Don’t forget your bathroom and your bedside table. And don’t forget to give them a smell. ¬†

  3. Rake some leaves and jump in the pile. Go in and warm your hands and your soul with some tea.


4. Bake something with cinnamon. Apple pie?

5. Go for a walk and pray until your nose and cheeks are red. Then go in and warm up with some tea.

6. Watch Anne of Green Gables and laugh and sigh when Anne is ‚Äúin the depths of despair.‚ÄĚ


7. Make a cup of tea and cradle it in your hands while you read the Bible. Psalm 42?


8. Make a big pot of soup. Calcannon, an Irish favourite?

2 Tbsp butter

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 large potatoes, thinly sliced

Chicken or vegetable stock/broth

Herbs and salt to taste

200 grams kale or cabbage, shredded

300 ml cream

1. Heat butter on low. Add onion, garlic, potatoes, cook for 5 minutes without browning.

2. Pour over enough stock/broth to cover, season to taste.

3. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the kale/cabbage, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Pour in the cream, ladle and serve.

9. Sprawl out on the carpet and listen to some favourite songs. Maybe this, by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins?

10. Invite some friends over without worrying about the house. Light some candles. Serve tea.

11. Stand under a tree, look up, and watch the leaves fall. Try to catch one.

12. As many times as you can remember, tell your spouse and your children how very much they’re loved. By God. By you.



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I suppose my first piece of British literature was the hardcover copy of Mother Goose Nursery¬†rhymes that I received as a young child. I still remember my fascination with the strange words and illustrations–tumbling bridges, broken eggs, blind mice, and ashes. Not¬†always the¬†cheeriest, these nursery rhymes, though there are a few¬†with a more positive theme. Hot¬†Cross Buns, for example. Do you recall?¬†

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

One a penny

Two a penny

Hot cross buns

I always longed to taste a real hot cross bun, along with fish and chips, crumpets, Turkish delight, and all the other mysterious British foods that I’d read about over the years. But I never got the chance to sink my teeth into one of these sweet, spiced, raison-dotted¬†Easter treats until I moved to Scotland. Now, they’re one of my own favourite accompaniments¬†to an afternoon¬†cup of tea. They can be eaten lightly toasted or cold, and spread with generous lashings of butter (I never said they were particularly healthy, just tasty, although the ones pictured are whole grain!).


If you live someplace where hot cross buns can’t be got (it’s worth having a look in your local grocery store just to be sure), you could¬†have a go at¬†making your own. Try this recipe from the BBC–¬†

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/hotcrossbuns_397 .

The recipe does involve kneading and yeast, and if that sounds just a wee bit too scary, you could try buying some plain or sweet buns or rolls and making crosses with white icing.

Or,¬†if like me, you live in the UK and perhaps feel that you’ve already consumed enough hot cross buns for the season, well, go on a have a few more, but in a different form, perhaps? The following dessert¬†would make a lovely end to your Easter dinner.


Cut some hot cross buns in half, add a thin layer butter, and then put them back together. Place into a baking dish and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Beat 2 eggs with 1 cup of milk and a tablespoon of sugar and pour the mixture over the buns. Then sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top. Bake at gas 3, 170 C, fan 150 C, 325 F for about 30-35 minutes, or until just set.  


To make your hot cross buns more than just a delicious treat, read about the very first Easter in the Bible, in Mark chapters 14 to 16. Or, if you have children,¬†use the crosses as an opportunity to speak about the real meaning of Easter with the precious little ones in your care. You could talk about the shape of the buns, too, which can remind us of the stone that the angels rolled away from Jesus’ tomb. For the real wonder, of course, is not that Jesus died for us, but that he rose again.

For other ideas on how to make your Easter special, see my previous post on making easy, dainty Victorian Easter cards.


~ Avonlea


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