Who’s idea was it to have valentines day after lent starts? Seriously. But I suppose, as I’m not giving up chocolate, I shouldn’t complain too much.
I’m giving up whatever I have to in order to read my bible every day. Other years I’ve given up meat or coffee (or both) and as helpful as the experience was I really want to get into a habit of reading my bible again, so this seemed as good a time as any. I could cut out a specific thing – reading trash, watching television, or some other wasteful time-suck, but I think I’m more likely to read my bible if I can then reward myself with a little trashy tv… hey, know thyself, right?
I’m also going to have a go at 40 Acts, which is all about being generous. I suppose the focus shifts from giving something up, to giving something up for someone else. And with my bible reading resolution, giving up something for something else.
And Valentines? Well I did think ahead and shopped the lingerie department during the last round of sales, but then yesterday I saw a recipe for red, heart shaped pancakes… So I’m thinking I’ll make the mixture this afternoon and then serve them up for breakfast. We don’t have moulds but I’m wondering if a round pancake with a frosting-heart would have a similar effect. And it all goes down the same way (apologies… common saying in our family – more disgusting than I realise, possibly.)
— dropping Louis at halte garderie —
Stopped in at the church on the way back, just to check on a detail for my story (several scenes of which take place in the church), and it was packed out… The priest up the front is making a mark on the forehead of another priest, then on an altar boy – oh! It’s Ash Wednesday. Took me long enough.
Dates like this, and Valentines for that matter, make me think back to other years.
Two years ago, valentines day, Luuk and I went to a restaurant which no longer exists, because a week later the hotel crashed down around it in a massive earthquake. The city jumped up and down, as well as side to side, at 2gs, and little survived. Since then much of the city (including that hotel) has been demolished.
(not my image, belongs to ChristchurchNZ group)
It is so strange to think of all the places, of all the memories I have of things happening in places, that simply no longer exist. I used to work in that big hotel in the foreground… but the theatre over the road, gone. The Starbucks where I’d get my frapuccino (I’d lasted another day cleaning hotel room filth! Well done me!) is still standing, though not operational, but the cathedral is gutted and half gone.
Depressing. Moving on…
I’ve never been to very traditional churches till this last year but two years ago I went along to an Ash Wednesday service for the first time. It was just after the earthquakes and the cathedral was a ruin (the one in the middle of the image above). The catholic basilica was also a mess and there’s nothing quite like a natural disaster to bring people together. The respective bishops and other church leaders of the city got together and had a joined Ash Wednesday service at a little Anglican church in the suburbs. Louis and I went along. After the quakes we were encouraged to stay home, to limit strain on the infrastructure, and with a four month old baby I wasn’t much help digging liquefaction silt off of people’s driveways, so I was home a lot. On that Wednesday, I wanted to be a part of things, to see the community joining together, working and celebrating and mourning together.
Now I’m a part of a very different community, and yet in some ways I’m not a part of it. I’m an expat, always a bit out of things, and then I speak middling French at best… This morning, Elena was ready for her nap, the church was full, it was half way through… I didn’t stay. Elena will have to wait till next year to get an ash cross on her forehead, but she does get blessed every other week at church, and by us every night before bed. She’ll be fine. It’s not a magic spell.
I’ve gone off on a tangent. I was going to write about showing love through food. Yesterday evening I made mince and cheese pies, not an entirely self-less act of love, but Luuk enjoyed them at least as much as I did.
They turned out awesome, despite my basically winging it with regards a recipe. So, for posterity or something, here’s what I did:
1. butter, shallots chopped fine and mushrooms chopped roughly, all fried up.
2. I used the chinese food dishes from the previous night (reduce reuse recycle!), rinced them well and then lined them with pre-rolled flaky pastry. I put the mushrooms in first then…
3. Cooked up the beef mince.
4. Grated a potato, skin and all, and added this to browned beef.
5. A glass of red wine and a dissolved stock cube in less than a cup of water, added gradually… and herbs, seasoning, etc.
6. I put the beef/potato/gravy mix into the pie dishes on top of the mushrooms then grated plenty of (comte) cheese on top.
7. I managed to do this with just one sheet of pastry, but I had to wrestle the pie tops to fit. And then I poked holes and then baked at 200 for about 40 minutes.
8. Cause I’m a good girl, we also had a half head of broccoli each, steamed with a tiny bit of butter and the last dregs of that stock water.
I saw a picture of an old Georgie Pie meal deal on facebook yesterday and it made me crave pie… I haven’t had mince and cheese pies since we left New Zealand, and I’ve had some very good ones in my time (thank you Mountain View Bakery, Pirongia, to name one source in particular) but seriously, take that Georgie Pie!