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.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

In The Garden . . . With The Fairy

I'm not the only one at Linderhof that has been busy this Spring in the garden
Our fairy has been planting and weeding!

Her house and her old fashioned garden!

Gardening is hard work and so you need to take a rest!

 Ground cover, some Irish moss and violas with a rosemary standard "tree"!
She needs some creeping thyme to finish her garden . . . She'll be on the lookout for that!

After watching the ferry gardening, I needed some sustenance!

Carrot poppyseed cake
(from one of my favorite blogs, The English Kitchen)
I've made it before and it is good!
Of course, I love poppyseed and this is an unusual combination!

It's too cold and drippy to take tea in the garden
So I'm on the breakfast porch this afternoon

And since they were mini loaves of tea bread, I had two pieces!

I followed Marie's advice and glazed it with an orange/sugar glaze.  
I also found the recipe at Marks and Spencer --
they put a cream cheese and orange marmalade icing on theirs --


5 ounces of vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
6 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 T. poppyseeds
1 3/4 c. self raising flower
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. mixed spice (it's an English thing -- a combination of cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, cloves -- you 
                             can buy something close at Penzys)

For the topping:
zest of one orange
juice of 1/2 orange
couple of teaspoons of sugar

Preheat the oven to 300.    Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line the base with parchment (I used three mini loaf pans)

Beat the eggs together with the brown sugar and vegetable oil.    Stir in the carrots and poppy seeds.   Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice together.    Stir this into the west mixture, stirring to mix well together.     Spoon into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top.    Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes (mini loaves baked in less time)

Remove fro the oven and let stand in the tin for about 5 minutes, then carefully tip out and place right side up on wire rack.

Whisk together the topping ingredients and then spoon slowly over top of the hot cake, a bit at a time, allowing it to be absorbed each time.     Allow to cool completely before cutting into slices 

NOTE:   Marks and Spencer mixed room temperature cream cheese with orange marmalade and frosts the loaf with that.

Monday, March 20, 2017

England Meets The South . . .

When we lived in England that Spring, one of our favorite dinners
was Fish 'N' Chips

There was not a "Chips" shop in our little village but there was one
in the village next to us
We would stop at the market and pop in next door for a couple of orders of fish 'n' chips
to take home

There are so many small fish 'n' chips shops throughout England
Small shops
To Go shops

Inside is plain
And it's to go only
(or as they say "Take Away)
With a menu board
(ala McDonald's)
from which to make your selection

Once home, we'd unwrap the greasy paper revealing a mass of chips (which we know as French fries)
and a nice piece of deep fried battered fish

We bought a bottle of malt vinegar and kept it at home
for those fish 'n' chips nights.
British battered fish 'n' chips need malt vinegar!

Oh, how I miss those meals!

Long John Silvers does not compare (like fish to fish sticks) and even some "Irish" pubs
in the city just don't do it right!

Then in the tiny Southwestern Missouri town of Lamar,
there is

With a British flag and the words "fish and chips",
I thought I might be entering fish 'n' chips heaven!

It's a quaint place
It's a small place

The kitchen is open

And yes, they do serve wonderful fish 'n' chips

Cod, fresh out of the fryer 
(would there be any other way for "Cap"?)

Served with chips
And the "South" part of it --
coleslaw and hushpuppies
We are, after all, in South Missouri!

Owner Charles James
stopped by our table
So not only do you get good food you get great service.
It's always nice when the owner comes by to see if you like your food!

And how you know you're eating proper British fish 'n' chips!

Cap's Cabin serves other food -- hamburgers including a Juicy Lucy
(for those misplaced Minnesotians who are carving their favorite food!)

We'll be back
For it was not just good food -- it was great food!

And Fort Scottians or Nevadans don't seem to give a second thought to
traveling for good food.   

And if you think you've heard of Lamar,
you have
It's famous

As the birthplace of Harry S. Truman in 1884
The "Man from Independence" was really the "Man from Lamar"
although his time in Lamar was brief!

It's a fun stop when you're in town to eat at Cap's Cabin!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Would You Bring . . .

It was a busy week in the kitchen at Linderhof
Besides breakfast, lunch and dinner
(and a company lunch on Friday)
we baked -- not for us but rather
"to take"

On Monday:

Or in this case "to send"
The shamrock cookies for the grands

They have been renamed by Lucy as
"Broccoli Cookies"!
(although they don't taste like broccoli!)

And on Tuesday . . . 

two chocolate chess pies

My donation for a fundraiser
"A Night In The Museum"
for the Bushwhacker Museum

Just two of the 40 pies donated for the event!

On Wednesday:

I made sugared pansy cookies
for a reception we had after the DUV-CW meeting in Kansas City on Thursday

It's the same cookie dough I used for Monday's shamrock cookies
And a favorite recipe of mine.

On Friday:

I made a six layered salad
for a funeral dinner on Saturday
It's one of my favorite salads and it's great because it's a make ahead one!

It was a busy week in the kitchen but I love to cook and am always glad to be asked to
bring something.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A St. Patrick's Day Luncheon

St. Patrick's Day finds me inviting my Irish friends to lunch.
Not an American style St. Patrick's luncheon
but one that you might find if you were in Ireland
In a cottage in the country

My table is simple:

A lace tablecloth
(but alas, not Irish lace but rather Quaker)

English Spode sets each place,
an Irish linen napkin in a silver ring
Jim's grandmother's cutlery

The menu written on a watercolor of an Irish cottage
A nod to America is the frosted and sprinkled shamrock cookie
as a favor (for tea that afternoon) --
if we had been in Ireland, it would have been shortbread --

Orange tulips (because we're protestant)
in a Waterford pitcher
(actually, the first Waterford pitcher I ever bought)
(and it pours poorly -- more useful for flowers than for iced tea!)

The view into the living room

I like my menu to reflect what perhaps an Irish housewife
would serve her friends:

An Irish leek and potato soup
(garnished with chives)

Irish Soda Bread
(not an Irish recipe but rather one from the Top of the Tower restaurant in Kansas City --
it's a recipe I've had "forever"!)

And dessert . . . 

Irish Apple cake
(made with fresh apples and it is yummy)
with a big pour of custard (Bird's Custard -- I always like to keep some in the larder)

And every year after dessert we have:

Irish Coffee
served in wee cups that I've had "forever"!
And used just for this one day every year!

Irish Coffee has an interesting beginning:

The original Irish coffee was invented and named by Joe Sheridan, a head chef in Foynes, County Limerick.    The coffee was conceived after a group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am flying boat on a miserable winter evening in the 40s.     Sheridan added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers.    After the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian, Sheridan replied "No, it's Irish coffee"!

We had a grand time.
Sharing stories of Irish relatives and trips to Ireland.
It's one of my favorite luncheons of the year!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Make and Take

During Lent
we have services on Wednesday evenings
And before service
we have supper

Members bring the entree while others bring dessert

This week is was my turn to bring dessert

Rita's No Bake Eclair Cake

It was a busy week and I needed a quick but yet still yummy dessert

Rita's cake certainly filled the bill

Layers of creaminess and graham crackers topped with a chocolate frosting

It makes a 9 x 13 pan fun

And all I brought home was an empty pan!


16 ounces graham crakcers
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 c. milk
8 ounces Cool Whip

Chocolate Frosting:

3 T. cocoa
3 T. butter, softened
3 T. milk
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Mix pudding and milk in a bowl.    Blend together for about 2 minutes, then fold in the Cool Whip.   Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick spray.    Place a layer of whole graham crackers on the bottom, then top with 1/2 of the pudding mixture.     Cover the pudding with another layer of graham crackers, top with remaining pudding and another layer of graham crackers.     Chill overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Mix cocoa, butter and milk until smooth.    Add more powdered sugar if you like the frosting al title sticker.    If it's too thick, just add a little more milk.    Spread on top of cake.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Indigo Tea Shop

Sometime in late 2002 or early 2003, I found a "cozy" that I liked,
Death by Darjeeling
It had me at the title -- it was about tea!
A tea and a tea shop!
A murder mystery!
The author was Laura Childs
And I was entranced by Theodosia Browning, her tea shop, The Indigo Tea Shop,
and her cohorts, Drayton and Haley
And a dog -- Earl Grey
And a boyfriend, of course!

It was a paperback and as were the next two, Gunpowder Green and Shades of Earl Grey
I found out that she had just come out with a fourth book,
The English Breakfast Murder
But it was only in hardback, but I bought it too

I loved the setting -- Charleston
I loved the characters

But unlike an established author, I have to wait a whole year for the next book
Every March I eagerly awaited the next installment of the Indigo Tea Shop mysteries
And they did not disappoint

Laura has now written 18 tea shop mysteries.
And if you haven't read them, it would be fun to read them straight through
And you wouldn't have to wait a year between books!

Her release date has always been in March

It's March
It's release date
I preordered and in my mail box . . . 

Pekoe Most Poison

Tea time today was in the breakfast room,
with daffodils on the table 
A pot of Earl Grey tea and some Easter Biscuits for a nosh

I'm sure the book (like all the others) will be devoured in a day or two.

I so enjoy keeping up with the antics of Theodosia and Company

And another good thing about the books?
They come with recipes --

Like Low Country Black Bean Soup and Sweet Potato Muffins


Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

The newest book has a recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini that I'm dying to try.
Perhaps for the next Lunch Bunch Lunch!

Between my love of the books and the recipes in the back, they have their own shelf in my special bookcase.

I highly recommend Laura Child's Tea Shop Mysteries
if you haven't read them, you should!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Dessert and Coffee

Not every night is dessert night
And sometimes when there is dessert,
it's in the living room
after dinner
after dishes
after trash duty!

But not this week . . . 
dessert was in the breakfast room

Night time has fallen and so we light the old electrified oil lamp on the breakfast porch
The Spode Blue Italian Coffee pot, cups and saucers and plates

And dessert!
Ina Garten's Honey Bourbon Cake

A slice each
And leftovers for luncheon dessert the next day
And tea that afternoon.

I had to make a cake to take and chose this recipe of Ina's.
She suggests a bundt pan, however, mine is old and small
(so old it's harvest gold!)
So I had enough batter for a loaf cake
Perfect for the two of us


1 cup vegetable oil (plus more for greasing pan)
3 3/4 c. flour (plus more for dusting pan)
1 T. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
4 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1/2 t. each ground cloves, ground allspice, ground ginger
1 c. hot coffee
1/2 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 c. bourbon
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. lightly baked brown sugar
1 c. honey
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 t. grated orange zest
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. glanced sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350

Brush a 9 inch bundt pan with oil.    Dust with flour and dump out any excess.   Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, allspice and ginger.    Gently mix until well-combined.   Set aside.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together coffee, orange juice and bourbon.   Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer set to medium speed to mix 1 cup oil, both sugars, honey, eggs, orange zest and vanilla until well combined and there are no lumps.

Turn mixer to low speed.    Alternate between adding flour and coffee mixtures in thirds, beginning and ending with flour mixture.    Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula and continue to mix until just combined to a smooth consistency.

Pour batter into greased and floured pan.    Tap pan a few times on table to get rid of air bubbles.    Place pan in center rack of oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes (check because it depends on size of pan.   The loaf cake with no center took about another 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from heat and let cool completely before removing cake from pan, using a flat spatula to help separate cake from pan.    Flip upside down and level bottom with a serrated knife.    Transfer to serving plate.    Brush top with honey and a sprinkle of almonds.