Thursday, October 21, 2010

Storm clouds gather

Today is a perfect day to stay indoors, cook, clean and in general make one's home a haven of rest and joy.

What a blessing it is to have a roof over one's head, food on the table (even if one has to make it oneself) and people who care for them.

I am making a pot roast right now so soon the apartment will smell wonderful with the different flavours of vegetables blending together to permeate the indoor air.

Pot roast ready in a few hours of slow cooking
For those who never have made a pot roast, it is a fairly simple thing to do.  Buy a cheaper cut of meat, salt, pepper it, put mustard on it on both sides, then braise it on reasonably high heat, watching it.  Braise means to quick brown both sides to keep the juices inside the roast.

When that is done, put it in a good size pot, add potatoes, onions, garlic, apple (if you wish) and cover it with water.  I add paprika to the water to give it more of a reddish tinge.  I also added some tinned tomatoes just to give it more flavour.

Cover it with a tight fitting lid and cook it on low heat until the vegetables and meat is thoroughly cooked. The slow cooking is very restful for the cook as the work is already done in the preparation of the vegetables and meat.  That in itself, is a fast thing to do. If a person is gone from home all day, it is also possible to do this one pot dish in a slow cooker.  I have done that many times when the children were small and I was at work all day.  Even for one person alone, it is good to make such a dish as it can be divided into portions and put in the freezer for eating another time or two. 

It is a great fall or winter dish as it is very nourishing and a good way to get vegetables into children.  Any type of vegetable can be put in it, provided it needs longer cooking.  Carrots, turnips are two that spring to mind.  There are others, of course.

 If you want to blend the vegetables after they are cooked so that the children will not see them, just do that and add them to the meat and its sauce.  Voila, vegetables in the dear little ones who will have no clue that they are eating them!

Storm clouds gathering over Hamilton
It was a great day to do indoor things and I am having a wonderful day just looking after my little nest. 

Please observe the reflection of the storm clouds in the glass building opposite.  I find that fascinating to see the different reflections at different times of day.
What is a home without plants?

Plants are another way to make a house a real home.  Are they not a beautiful addition to any home with their shining leaves and all a little different?  Plants have always been a pleasure for me to care for.  When I was growing up in Quebec, it was not the custom to have many plants in a home, or at least, I never observed any in homes that I visited.  If I am remembering rightly, it was the European immigrants who came to Canada after World War Two who brought so many wonderful customs, foods and ways to Canada. 

As a child, I remember going into an Italian grocery store and being fascinated by the big barrels of black olives.  I remember seeing a black man for the first time in my young life.  He was an army person stationed in the depot and I was amazed.  Lachine was basically French and English, with a growing segment of Italians.  Now, there is every nationality in the world there, just like in Hamilton and Toronto.

I really love that!  It is such an lovely opportunity to meet the world's people in your own back yard so to speak. 

Wet streets of Downtown Hamilton

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day.  Too bad that this blog cannot waft the delicious smells coming from the pot roast your way. 

Thanks for reading.

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