Best Beef


In a weekend when hearts had been broken and lost ground needed to be regained I was glad we were eating a fillet of beef for Sunday dinner. It had been decided long before the fall out that it would be this week’s Sunday best and it was a relief when I later remembered it was on the menu.  It always feels opulent and excessive due to the many gold coins you exchange for this small piece of meat. However we were feeling a little flush so the decision was taken and by Sunday something that would cause no frowns or dismissal was definitely required. Even the self defined pescetarian Tink had agreed to this beef.


As I mixed the marinade on Sunday morning, I was aware that it was a job I lost to Saturday, to overbearing sadness, and my heart was lightened by the intoxicating scent of ginger, garlic, mustard and herbs. It was a step towards normality that I relished. We did cheat this time and added to our opulent meal with a trip to Waitrose for easy accompaniments, the fillet deserves Waitrose we feel. Three different types of potatoes, Yorkshires, creamy cabbage, peas and bacon and of course gravy.

My favourite time we ate this meal was two Christmases ago when my Dad was staying with us for the festive season. I prepared the beef on Christmas Eve and left it to marinade until Boxing Day. On Boxing Day we wrapped up and went out to climb a mountain. It was a blustery cold day and we were out for a good couple of hours. After a stop off at the pub we returned and I placed a dish of already prepared creamy dauphinoise potatoes in the oven, followed by best beef and later served with green beans. I think the fact that we all felt full of fresh air and a little tired and given the meal was delightfully easy and then tasted so delicious, plus the lovely glass of red and the blazing fire, it just seemed like perfection in the moment.

I also have to say that it’s a bit of secret recipe passed to me from my father-in-law, who had it given to him by someone else, who got it from goodness knows who or where, so guard it with your life.


Best Beef

This recipe is for a 3lb piece of beef but we usually have smaller for 4 of us about 800g, just adjust cooking time as required.

3lb piece of beef fillet

3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 tsp herb de Provence
1tsp steak/beef seasoning
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp olive oil

1. mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl.
2. coat the meat in the paste, cover and leave for at least 12 hours.
3. Roast for 40mins at 200C / Gas mark 6 or for appropriate time for your piece of meat.
4. Leave to rest for 10 minute before carving and add juices to gravy.
5. Serve and enjoy.



I wrote this a while ago when one day a vivid memory from my childhood in South Africa popped into my mind. I loved and still love South Africa and always felt a great sense of loss when we moved away, I was eight at the time. Any memories I have of that time feel very special to me and magical.

Like an ancient Chinese warrior clad in brilliant green armour, it rested, still and patient in the little girl’s gently cupped hand. Squatting amongst  the flowers and with that familiar squelchy feeling of moisture between thigh and knee the girl gazed appreciatively at the creature, absorbed by its intricate beauty, not wish it any harm but wanting to befriend and love it. Both still like statues whilst high above the sun beat down warming her freckled shoulders and glistening on the creature’s leaf like exterior. The distant sound of ground being toiled did not distract or induce fear into either. They were missing in their moment.

Years later the grown girl would squirm and recoil at the thought of seeking out and holding a praying mantis, disbelief in her own choice of pass times aged seven. But that world she had then lived in was a more wonderful and magical place, one that now seemed to exist only in myths and legends.  A land that smelt of the warm earth on which it rested and where colourful people lived extraordinary lives. Her memories bore affection and the colour red, red like the knitted jumper in the photograph her pen pal owned, her aged seven with her hair in pigtails and a gappy smile.  Daddy had made lots of fun of here that Christmas repeatedly singing that annoying song “all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”.  It was their last Christmas there.

Red like the sunset across the open sky, red like the flowers in that beautiful garden which had once been hers, red like the blood on a scuffed knee. Red and warm like the soil beneath her daily bare, naked feet in a land so far far away. The same earth beneath her bare naked feet as she sat there, in that flower bed, on that day.

Beyond the flowerbed, the garden sloped away, the grass prickly and dry, thirsty in places. At night the tick tick ticking of the sprinklers would try to resuscitate the crops of brown whilst lullaby the little girl to sleep, but for now they patched the grass like Dalmatian spots, frazzled and crisp. The inclining lawn came to a close at a drawn stone line, crazy paving; the paving met by blue tiled mosaic, the mosaic dropped down into open azure, the swimming pool. The jewel in the crown of their oasis.

That day as the diamonds danced across the pool, a soft warm breeze breathed a loving embrace amongst those there and there was happiness in that garden, in that day at that moment just happiness.

I’ve linked this up with Magic Moments over at The Oliver’s Madhouse

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The Weekly Adoption Shout Out 15/03/13

Last week we had some great new blogs join us on the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, so a big welcome if it was your first time and we hope you are joining in again. We also saw some wonderful posts by those who are fast becoming the WASO veterans; I’m sure you know who you are and thank you, keep up the good work.

This week we have chosen the theme of “contact” a subject that many adopters have to deal with, whether it is letterbox or direct contact with birth family. We are really looking forward to reading your contributions on this topic. This theme as always is optional, so if your post is not related that is fine, please still link up.

As both The Puffin Diaries and The Boy’s Behaviour are hosting, this linky will appear in both places but you only need to add it once below.

It would be great if you could visit some of the other blogs that link up and please let them know who you are, and how you found them, you can even share your favourites on twitter or tweet your own post with the hashtag #WASO.

This linky list is now closed.


And please do grab our badge

Prose for Thought
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The Day Out


I wrote this poem on a train journey to a family day out. As sometimes happens my anxieties for the day and how the boys might cope had caused my husband and I to fall out. I was really angry when I wrote the main body of the poem and I think it shows what I know to well. I write best when I write straight from the heart, from the raw emotion. The day turned out much better than I anticipated and I know Mr H will have apologised for a situation which was not all his fault, but he’s good like that.

The Day Out

It’s early still but I feel fully drained,
The morning of anxieties and stress has ordained,
That I don’t want to be here sharing this view,
Of the world passing by, as the train rushes through,
Fields and hills, hamlets and folds,
Turning to houses, building, shops, roads.
Across the aisle the antagonist sits,
Sharing a game with one of our kids.
Still pushing my button, still harming with blame,
Still hell bent on creating a day,
Where a family of four are divided to two,
Sides are taken the minors must choose.
A blackened eye glance, a surly exchange,
The gulf between widens constructed with pain.
The day before seems endless, hopeless beyond,
Happiness, hope for a memory of fond,
Moments and smiles, pictures to put,
For future review in a memory book.
Some five hours pass and homeward we bound,
Contented with the family time we have found.
All previous anger so quickly diffused,
By a husbands confession of I really love you.

I have linked this to the wonderful #Prose4T

Prose for Thought