Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Monday, November 24, 2014

An English Afternoon Tea in Kansas!

One of the joys of living in England
was Afternoon Tea
Garden centers, Pubs and of course, tea rooms
Most were simple teas
A biscuit (cookie) and a pot
a slice of cake and a pot
a cream tea with a scone or two, cream and jam and a pot

But occasionally, we would spring for
Afternoon Tea
The full compliment of
sandwiches, scones and sweets
and a pot or two of tea.

We usually had an Afternoon Tea once a week
And Daughter Sarah and I had the infamous
"Hotel Tea"
(Elegant and Expensive)
at the Waldorf

On this side of the "pond"
Afternoon Tea is High Tea
And includes soups and quiche and perhaps a hot dish
as well as sandwiches, scones (Americanized) and sweets

Last week, The Lunch Bunch
headed north
to downtown old town Overland Park
Afternoon Tea

 And they truly 

Two pots of tea -- one an Earl Grey and the other a Buckingham Palace blend

And the curate -- that three tiered stack of tea foods

Which Jill explained to us
What each and every delectable morsel was!

The sandwiches -- cucumber, chicken salad, a vegetable rolled sandwich and homemade sausage in a miniature sausage roll

The scone -- a real English scone (not as dry as the American version)
with real Devonshire cream and homemade strawberry jam
(It was the flavor of England!)

And the sweets -- a macaroon, a profiterole, a lemon bar, a buttery spritz type cookie dipped in chocolate and a chocolate caramel delight

We drank those two pots of tea and got a third!

We visited, nibbled, compared notes on which we liked best
(the rolled vegetable sandwich was definitely a favorite)

And, I, felt as if I had been transported back to England
Back to a little bakery somewhere in the Cotswolds
Having an Afternoon Tea

And you can tell you had a good time . . . 

Not a morsel left at our table
And four very satisfied customers!

I will be back.
It is by reservation only
so it's not a drop in and have tea place

Kudos to the Clock Tower Bakery for bringing a little bit of Britain to the
prairie of Kansas.

It is Tuesday and I'm sharing my English Afternoon Tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday  and Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A November Breakfast

It's been cold on the prairie
A little too cold in the breakfast room
(We've not "winterized" it yet)

And that cold morning found us breakfasting in the dining room
Where for the first 20 years, we breakfasted every day!

It's November
We use our turkey dishes a lot during November
(like we use our Christmas dishes during December)
Just two dinner plates and two salad plates
They suffice for the two of us

They're my beloved blue and white
Which means that the "everyday" blue and white goes with them
So I can still set a pretty table without buying more cups and saucers or a tea pot!

Turkeys on the plate
Turkeys on the table

Turkeys everywhere!

I bought this turkey the year after we were married
for decoration
A Woolworth purchase
(Napcoware from Japan)

I loved the colors
And the fact that he can hold flowers for the table.

Somewhere I have matching salt and peppers
But somehow they've been misplaced!

And he has a "mate" -- 
I have a pair
For I like things in pairs
One on each side of the centerpiece
Or one on each side of the mantle.
At the table, I have one facing each way
I want everyone at my table to see a "behind"
(Not just one side!)

Breakfast on this cold morning?
No porridge for us
But rather a frittata
A favorite breakfast
(For I can put it in the oven, drink my tea and do the crossword while it's cooking)

This one has cheese and peppers and onions and potato and a good shower of fresh parsley

My favorite biscuits to make are cream biscuits
(self rising flour and cream)
but lacking enough cream I decided to try
sour cream biscuits
(sour cream, butter and self rising flour)
Perfect with the frittata!

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my November breakfast with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Can I See Your Curtains?"

Rhondi asked
For I was touting how wonderful
(and inexpensive)
the linen curtains were at IKEA

"Sure", I said, "I'm home all day and I'll put the kettle on".

She did look at the curtains first
Before we sat and had tea

For the curtains were the reason for her call!

In the dining room
So we could admire those curtains

A blue and white table, of course!
A crochet tablecloth
The Spode Camilla cups and saucers, creamer and sugar
And an odd Spode Blue Room teapot

The Biscuit Tin was empty
But I had some oatmeal raisin dough in the fridge
And baked them off for our tea treat

We sat, we sipped and visited

She was impressed with the curtains
But then so was I when I found them.
They come in pairs instead of panels
And at $50 per pair are quite reasonable
Wal Mart reasonable
With a quality that far excels Wal Mart.

It was nice to get to know Rhondi better
And there isn't a better way to get to know someone than over a pot of tea!

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage (who is also using blue and white transfer ware this week) for Tea Time Tuesday.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Snow

We had our first snow on the prairie today

Not much 
In fact our Minnesota daughter would call it a "dusting"
But to us it was a real snow!

Snow on the prairie is usually in January and February
We occasionally have December snows
but seldom do we have a White Christmas!

And a November snow is practically unheard of
Especially in the middle of November!

And I do love snow
(I'm a December baby after all)
As long as I'm inside
with a cup of tea and a fire!

The snow today had me looking at snows past at Linderhof

Some are more than others!
But I so enjoy the garden dressed in white in the winter!

It's Monday and I'm sharing my snow with Judith at Lavender Cottage for Mosiac Monday

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Pomanders

The "clove oranges" that I started last weekend
are done

Television watching evenings are great to sit
and stick holes in oranges and insert cloves!

Today, I made the "marinade"

1/4 cup each:
ground cloves
ground nutmeg
ground allspice
and orris root

Mixed all together in a bowl

And then sprinkled on the oranges
in my largest bowl

Layers of spice mixture and oranges

Kept on a kitchen counter
So I can turn them and coat them in the spice mixture
For two weeks to a month
When they'll turn from clove studded oranges sprinkled with spice
Into hard pomanders!

Once hard, I'll either put in net and tie with ribbon
or tie with ribbon
To give as gifts or hang in closets

Their smell is heavenly!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is It A Cake or a Pumpkin? It's Both!

Friends came for tea yesterday
It's November
It's Fall

Tea in the dining room
With the Spode Camilla blue and white transfer ware
And a crochet cloth on the table
With lace and blue and white

The old dough bowl in the center of the table
filled with pumpkins and gourds and bittersweet and acorn squash

The tea treat is a pumpkin cream cheese bundt cake
It echoes the pumpkins in the centerpiece
Candy corn rims the plate

A two layer bundt cake with a cream cheese filling!

Perfect for afternoon tea with a cup of Harney's Hot Cinnamon Tea


This recipe is for ONE bundt cake

1 box yellow cake mix, sifted
1/2 t. baking soda
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 t. ginger
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1 cup sugar

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. vanilla


3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
5 to 6 tablespoons milk
red and yellow food color
Optional:   real pumpkin stem

Preheat oven to 350.    Grease a round 10 cup bundt pan and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and sugar and whisk to mix well.    Mix in eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla.    In another bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and egg until creamy.     Mix in cinnamon and vanilla.

Pour half of cake batter into prepared bundt pan.    Next, spread on cream cheese mixture.    Top with remaining cake batter.     Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until inserted knife comes out mostly clean.

**To make full pumpkin, you wil need to make the above cake twice.   Do not double the recipe and split between two cake pans.   Make the cake two times.     When they’re down, flip one cake upside down, set second cake on top.

Make icing by mixing together powdered sugar and milk in a microwave safe bowl.    Stir in 1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring.   Add red food coloring 2 to 3 drops at a time until desired shade of orange is reached.     Warm icing in microwave (20 to 30 seconds) until pourable consistency is reached.     Pour icing over cake.     Allow to cool and set.    Top with optional pumpkin stem.    Slice and serve at room temperature.

NOTES:   I used my 5 cup bundt pans so I made the receipt only ONCE and did split it between the two pans.    My cake was definitely smaller (and served less) than if you use a regular bundt pan.      Also, it is very important that you make the icing thick and microwave.    A thinner icing that is pourable is more of a glaze than an icing.   And you want a nice thick coat of orange icing on your pumpkin!

Also, you could just make one and frost so it looks like a half pumpkin rather than a whole one.     It’s just a good pumpkin cake but the two bundt presentation with real pumpkin stem is just so clever!

I'm joining Kathleen at CuisineKathleen for her Bundt Cake challenge
Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday
Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Getting Ready For Christmas, Part Deux

Getting ready for Christmas at Linderhof this year
Is preparing food and drink for the holiday season
The fruitcake is here and aging
(made not by me but by monks in Ava, Missouri)
The Dundee cakes have been made
(by me -- not my the monks)
and are aging in the freezer

And so it's time to turn our thoughts to 
sips for the Holidays
The French have their Liqueur 44
The Swedes have 
"Beba's 40/40 Sherry"

Not sherry at all but Vodka, orange, coffee, sugar and a vanilla bean

All put together, put in a dark place
(and shaken once a day)
For 40 days and 40 nights.

Beba is the mother of a Swedish friend of ours
Who lived in our little town on the prairie
He shared the recipe for his mother's "Sherry"

It's easy to do and makes for a great Christmas Eve sip

Bebas 40/40 "Sherry"

750 bottle of vodka
40 sugar cubes
40 coffee beans
1 orange with 40 holes
1 vanilla bean

Put coffee beans in the orange holes.    Put vodka in a glass jar, add sugar, coffee bean studded orange and vanilla.    Let it stand for 40 days.    Shake the container from time to time so the sugar will melt. After 40 days, filter and bottle the brew.

Ours should be ready the week before Christmas
Which will make it the perfect for Christmas Eve
With the Monks fruitcake and whatever cookies might be in the larder
after the service of carols and candles.

I love November and these pre Christmas preparations.

Which includes cleaning house form top to bottom!