IF

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting on a white wooly rug getting toasty warm in front of the fire having been out for a walk on a wild autumn day, while my grandfather read aloud from the Just So Stories.  Here I share another of Kipling’s famous works in memory of EBC


 

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Desiderata

I came across a quote from this yesterday and it brought this poem back to the forefront of my mind.  It’s been a favourite of mine for many years and here, I share it with you


Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann

Crumble

Is there anyone who doesn’t love crumble? Apple, plum, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, grape (yes, I said grape) and, of course, the legendary rhubarb, crumble is a delight and a comfort as well of a useful tool to get fruit fruit into people where it wouldn’t be their first choice.

This crumble comes out well balanced in the stodgy v crunchy equation and also doubles up as a fantastic base for cheesecake.

The last question: Cream, custard or ice cream?


RECIPE: Crumble

Makes 4 piggy portions or 6 moderate


Ingredients:

150g Spelt Flour

100g Oats or chopped pecan nuts (or both if you want to bulk your crumble up)

100g Demerara Sugar

100g Unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon ground spice


Method:

  • Weigh all the ingredients into a bowl
  • Cut the butter into cubes about 1/2 inch or so
  • Rub together
  • Chill for 20 mins or until required
  • Preheat oven to 200c
  • Pile on top of the fruit of your choice
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top and bubbly around the edges

Variations:

I use spelt but if you don’t have it, use what you have.  A mix of white & wholemeal will work and substituting some rye also gives a nice effect.

Pecans are a favourite in my family but slivered almonds or any chopped nuts are also a good fit.

I haven’t specified the spice because I tend to change it depending on what fruit I’m using: cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom or good old mixed if you’re not sure.