Saturday, May 30, 2015

Chicken Jalfrezi and Culinary Attempts...

In our home we love to cook...  We love to gather around the dinner table and partake in the eating of a delicious homecooked meal, whilst enoying wholesome conversation and fellowship...


As we are young women who hope to one day have families of our own, we believe it is extremely important for us to learn to cook, and each of us have started at an early age... 
 I can remember assiting my mother as a little girl and then moving on to trying simple recipes by myself.
I can recall the first loaf of bread I ever made at the tender age of ten, and the meals I prepared as a twelve year old when my mom was expecting Gabrielle and too ill to cook...

Now my sisters are the ones in training and as I have a passion for cooking, I count it as a privilege to be able to let them help me and teach them things I have learnt along the way...

They also cook and bake quite a bit with my mom, and she allows them much more freedom than I do...I am sure this is a special gift as I find myself worrying about trivial things and not giving them enough room to try, fail and I did.

Each week Nancy and I take turns to cook.  Right now the younger girls keep my mother pretty occupied with their schooling, and as we love to grow in our abilities in the kitchen, we have the responsibility of seeing to each evening meal, with the exception of one day a week when Beth cooks with Mom.


This works very well for our family, and while it may not work for yours, I would heartily encourage any young woman to work on her cooking skills as it is not only a richly rewarding experience, but it prepares her for the highest calling of any woman - being a homemaker...


Last week was my cooking week, and it is always a good challenge to work within a budget and also cater for the various preferances of each family member. 
Fortunately none of the girls are very particular about what they eat, but I do have to ensure that a meal isn't too spicy for their tastes.  
And my friends, can you imagine what I did one evening...?  I added too much cayenne pepper to a meat ragout, and spent many anxious moments trying various 'remedies' to cool it down a bit!

Now, I love hot food and so does my dad, but my poor sisters and mother have very sensitive mouths and I knew the second I tasted it that I had made a serious error...  
Thank goodness there was a spare meal in the freezer which was just large enough for the younger girls.
Despite my fervent efforts to cool it down, it was still hot, but thankfully quite bearable and also wonderfully tasty!  
I shall attempt the recipe again sometime, but I have crossed out the 'teaspon of cayenne pepper' and replaced it with, 'cayenne pepper - to taste'...:)

Thus ends my sad story of the meat ragout, but I am sad to admit that I repeated my mistake two evenings later and made this meal a bit too spicy for certain people in the family...  
It was not hot, only spicy...  I did reduce the amount of spices considerably, just not enough.

But, as the flavour of this dish was truly delicious, I thought I would share the recipe with you...
Just please do remember to adjust the amount of spices according to your own preferences...:)


This spicy chicken dish has a lovely tomato sauce which is complimented by the addition of the peppers...  The fresh ginger gives it a wonderful tang, while the fresh coriander finishes off the delicious flavour perfectly...

Chicken Jelfrezi
Serves:  4-6
Preparation time:  10 minutes
Cooking time:  10  minutes

30ml olive oil
10ml each ground cumin, garam masala, tumeric and mustard seeds (adjust if necessary)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped (I used 1 cup homegrown bell peppers which I had preserved)
5ml each finely chopped garlic and root ginger
4 chicken breast fillets, cubed
1 tin chopped tomatoes (I don't use tinned tomatoes, so I just cut up 6 whole tomatoes and added a 50g tin of tomato paste)
Rice and fresh coriander, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add spices and fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add the onion and red pepper (if using bell peppers, add later on) and saute for four to five minutes or until the onion is soft.
Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another two minutes.
Add the chicken and tomato and stir well.  If using bell peppers, add them now.
Lower the heat, cover and simmer for seven to 10 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked.
Season to taste and serve with rice and fresh coriander.

Bon Appettit!


Have you ever made a dish too spicy before?
Do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen?

~ Blessings ~

''She is like merchant ships, bringing her food from afar."  Proverbs 31:14

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday

"A friendship does not grow up spontaneously.  
It must have a good soil in which to take root, good seed 
from which to start, and care and cultivation in order to become its best.
The good soil is sincerity and truth, coupled with kindness and affection.
The good seed is love and apprectiation.  
And it must be watched closely that no weeds of jealousy or envy creep in, 
and the soil must be constantly stirred by kind acts, words 
of appreciation and affection, and mutual admiration.  
There dare be no selfish interests nor evil suspicions in true friendship.  
The smallest bit of mistrust will blight it like frost.
Friendship is tnder, but beautiful."

~ Mabel Hale, Beautiful Girlhood

Wishing you a very blessed Thursday, dearest readers!

~ A friend loveth at all times...  Proverbs 17:17 ~

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


 I have been doing a little stitching for my hope chest this week using some of the beautiful new fabrics I purchased on a recent visit to the quilting shop...

Now, dear readers, would you like to take a guess at what I am making...?
I hope to reveal the finished project sometime this week, so do stay tuned!

What have you been busy with lately?

~ Blessings ~

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Few Garden~Inspired Projects....


 I think it is high time for a garden~inspired post, dear friends...don't you?
Having been away for close to a month and quite busy with sewing since my return, my poor garden is looking quite neglected and overgrown at present...

Before I start to clear the numerous weeds from vegetable beds and reestablish overgrown pathways, I thought I would spend a little time creating some beauty in the home with pretty flowers potted in a unique and lovely way...

Before I show you my handiwork, I would like to tell you of how my mother so sweetly cheered me up last Saturday when I wasn't feeling too well with a headache...  
As she was in town that day, she bought me the cutest terrcacotta pot and a punnet of dainty violas to 'play' with...
She knew I had been thinking of doing a few projects with flowers and decided to bring a smile to my face with her thoughtful little gift...
Wasn't that wonderfully kind?

Now, here is what I did with this little terracotta pot and my punnet of viola seedlings...

If you would like to make your own, all you will need is a length of beautiful thick lace, double-sided tape, a terracotta pot and a flower seedling or two of your choice...

Simply secure a piece of double-sided tape around the flat edge of the pot and wind your thick lace around it...
Fill the pot with good quality compost, pop your seedling(s) inside...and press down...

...And there you are!

With winter having arrived to stay for the next couple of months, the house can become quite gloomy if not cheered with pretty touches here and there...  
Thus we have decided to keep our home looking cheerful and bright by adding splashes of colour wherever we can, whether it is a vase of freshly cut flowers, pot plants on the window sills or jars of homebaked goodies gracing the pantry...

Here is my next project for which I used a faded vintage tea cup...

This tea cup I bought last year at a second-hand shop for a very good price along with another.  Having drunk tea from it on many occasions, I fancied it would make the sweetest little planter and popped a seedling inside with a handful of compost...

I didn't drill holes in the cup as I just couldn't bear to! 
Drainage could become a problem, but I am hoping that it will last a for a good few weeks, and once the viola outgrows the tea cup, I will transplant it into my garden...


This tea cup of happy violas would make a lovely gift for a person who appreciates flowers and pretty things!

How does your garden fare, my friends...?
I know many of my readers live in the northern hemisphere where Spring has finally sprung and vegetable planting season has arrived, so I do hope they enjoy busy, happy hours spent tending their gardens and pottering about in the dirt...:)

~ Blessings ~

"...Plant gardens and eat what they produce..."  Jeremiah 29:5

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sweetness on Sunday ~ Chocolate Shortbread

 Some weeks ago we had a lovely young family bless us with a delightful visit.
And, as we love any occasion to bake a delicious tea time treat, we thought yummy chocolate shortbread would be just the thing...

Shortbread has always been one of my favourite treats...the melt-in-your mouth texture is perfect and I love how it isn't too sweet...
Shortbread is also wonderfully simple to whip up and so lovely when enjoyed with a steaming cup of English tea...

Chocolate Shortbread

130g cake flour
20g cocoa powder
25g cornflour
50g castor sugar
100g butter

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Mix the dry ingredients together.  
Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixure forms a dough.
Knead well.
Press into a greased loaf tin.
Prick all over with a fork and bake for 45 minutes until firm.
Sprinkle with extra castor sugar and cut into slices.
Cool on a wire rack.
 Bon Appetit!

Many blessings, dear readers.  I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday!

~ Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.  Jeremiah 33:3 ~

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Vintage Elegance...

This lovely sewing project has been sitting on my work table for simply weeks now, and I have been hoping to complete it so that I might show you all... 
I did the embroidery just before going away in April, and I spent this morning 
sewing everything together whilst listening to beautiful instrumental music and chatting with my sister...

Anyone who knows me knows how I love anything vintage and elegant, and this darling clothes hanger is both!  I orginally wanted to make it as a gift for a sweet friend of mine, but alas!  
I got a little too attached to it and now it graces my own bedroom...smiles...
Perhaps I will make another sometime...we will see!

I love doing simple embroidery, and these flowers were so delightful to create with needle and thread...
Little pearly white seed beads add a gorgeous three dimensional effect to each flower centre and bud, and I used white anglaise as a frill which adds unique vintage charm and a soft, feminine finish...

Oh, I love how this clothes hanger turned out and what fun it was to make!  I don't usually work in all-white fabrics, but I think I might attempt it a bit more often as it is quite pleasing to the eye...what do you think...?

I hope each of my dear readers are having a beautifully blessed weekend!

~ Blessings ~ 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday

One of the first evidences of a real lady, is that she should be modest.  By modesty we mean that she shall not say, do, nor wear anything that would cause her to appear gaudy, ill-bred, or unchaste.  There should be nothing about her to attract unfavourable attention, nothing in her dress or manner that would give a man an excuse for vulgar comment.  When we dress contrary to the rule of modesty we give excuse for unwholesome thoughts in the mind of those who look upon us, and every girl who oversteps these bounds makes herself liable to misunderstanding and insult, though she may be innocent of any such intention.”

~ Elizabeth Gaskell, excerpt from North and South

Wishing each of my sweet readers a very blessed and "thoughtful" Thursday!


~ In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.  1 Timothy 2:9 ~

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finding Joy in a Season of Loneliness

At various points in my journey through beautiful girlhood, I have
experienced loneliness and I can testify to how difficult it can be to find hope…

 I would like to write and encourage other young ladies who may
be in a similar season, to assure them that there is indeed hope
and also rich blessing for them, even though they feel
so alone just now.  A season never lasts forever…

From what I have observed in my life, and also in the lives of other
daughters at home, being lonely is very common.

I am fortunate in that I have sisters and even though we are not very close in age,
I am thankful for their sweet companionship and
I count myself blessed to have them in my life.

My mother is also a rich blessing and I appreciate her
sweet friendship, Godly wisdom and advice.
I love this quote by Mabel Hale, the author of Beautiful Girlhood:

“The safest girl is the one who makes her mother her most confidential friend.”

“And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Romans 12:2

Loneliness often leads to discontentment, and discontentment
only steals our joy and causes bitterness and resentment to take root. 

Loneliness is real, but we constantly need to seek the Lord on how to
overcome our feelings and find joy in the life He has blessed us with.

 Dear sisters, we are incredibly blessed to be daughters at home! 

We have so much to be thankful for!

This path we have decided to walk is not for the faint hearted,
nor is this journey all pleasant.
But if we choose to cling to our Saviour and embrace the season He has placed us in,
we will find a joy that is uncontainable and truly beautiful.

I believe Jesus knows and understands our loneliness. 
Cry out to Him each day and tell Him of the pain you are experiencing
in your heart and ask Him to comfort and uphold you…

Pray that He will send a special friend along your path who will be a
Godly mentor, and encourage you in your journey to Biblical womanhood.
Our alternative beliefs often separate us from young people of our own age and
while we know that the Bible is clear about us being different to the world,
it is not always easy when you feel like you are the only one pursuing His calling!

Having many friends of your own age is not always good,
especially if they don’t share common interests or beliefs.

They might cause you to become more discontented with your life.
Or you may become jealous of them and the exciting things that they’re able to do…
Perhaps you may even be tempted to join them…?

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:  but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”  John 15:19

Rather surround yourself with like-minded women who will be a
good influence and who will impart wisdom and Truth into your life.

These women may be much older than you, but never doubt
the rich level of friendship they can offer…
I have a handful of dear older ladies who have been a wonderful blessing in
my life at many different times and I am so grateful for them!

I do not have many friends of my own age, but the two or three I do have are
young ladies who share similar beliefs and are committed to serving the Lord…
Although we seldom see each other, we enjoy encouraging one another in the faith
through letters or messages…

During quiet times in our lives, it is very easy to become lonely. 
But wait upon the Lord, dear friends!  You are not alone and there is hope!

May I encouraged you to take those destructive thoughts captive
and to choose joy in the midst of this season?

My prayer is that you will you will draw closer to the
Lord during this season that you are in, as I found myself doing…

…As I began to embrace the quietness about me, I found hope and rest
in my Saviour’s amazing and perfect plan for me and a wonderful joy followed.
He has a special plan for your life and He loves and cares for you

I pray that you will find joy in the right places – in serving God through serving others.

Loneliness is something you constantly have to surrender to the Lord,
and joy is something you consciously have to choose each day, but it is oh, so worth it!

This hard place in which you perhaps find yourself is the very place
in which God is giving you opportunity to look only to Him,
to spend time in prayer, and to learn long-suffering,
gentleness, meekness, - in short, to learn the depths of the
love that Christ Himself has poured out on all of us.”

~ Elisabeth Elliot

Paintings by Jessie Wilcox Smith