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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pink China -- New and Old

You know how I love blue and white china and blue and white china abounds at Linderhof -- we use it for both company dinners as well as every day. My breakfast coffee is drunk from blue and white and my afternoon tea is poured from a wee blue and white pot.

But, I do have other china loves . . . Oriental china -- again in blue and white and the porcelain known as famille rose. Alas, I have no real pieces of famille rose at Linderhof, however . . .
I do have these --

It's by Spode and the pattern name is Famille Rose. I have six cups and saucers which I've had for a long long time. In the cupboard and almost forgotten until I did January cleaning this year. I moved them to the front of the cupboard so that they would not remain forgotten.

Also, there are six tea plates (or bread and butter plates). Bought on line after I rediscovered the cups and saucers and decided that I needed tea plates to go with!

It's a great tea cup and has such a pretty design in the bottom of the cup. When you finish your tea, the design makes you smile!

And I do love the pink flowers -- Oriental mums or poppies (you decide) -- and the other flowers as well. And it has some of my beloved blue in the design.

A salad plate -- it's by Crown Staffordshire and called Rock Bird. The same pink flower -- enhanced by a bird. These six salad plates and a platter were an Estate Sale find last summer. I was drawn to them by both the design and the price (a really good buy!).

When I rediscovered the tea cups and saucers, I thought that these might make a good mix for the Spode.
And then I found the Wedgwood. Again, a set of six. This pattern is cuckoo and it is the same Famille Rose type design with the poppy, some blue and like the salad, a bird. It's fine china and Wedgwood is so special.

I like to mix and match and these three patterns seem to go together very well.
It sets a very pretty tea table (the Spode cups and plates for tea -- the Wedgwood on the curate for tea goodies)
And the Rock Bird for salad plates with the Wedgwood cuckoo underneath waiting for the main course at a dinner party.

Alas, I yearn for a teapot in the Wedgwood Cuckoo pattern. Replacements HAD one listed but when I ordered it, they found that it was not in stock (sigh). I'm still yearning for one and am constantly searching ebay for this elusive and coveted teapot.

It's Saturday which means that Beverly is hosting Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound. Join her and see what other pinks there are this Saturday.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strawberry Tarts

It's Friday -- which means that it's Foodie Friday -- so please join Michael at Designs by Gollum to see all the tempting taste treats in store for you -- on this Foodie Friday!

In strawberry season, strawberry desserts abound! From old fashioned strawberry shortcake, to strawberry cakes, to strawberry pie, to pavlovas topped with strawberries, to these . . .

strawberry tarts

They're easy to do but are long on presentation.
Often, when we have company, I like to do individual desserts. There's something more classic, I feel, about a whole little dessert, than a piece of a big dessert. These tarts filled that bill.

And, you can also make them in miniature size --
Which are perfect for an elegant afternoon tea.

Actually, you can use other berries, in season, but they are a perfect dessert -- or tea treat -- during strawberry time.

The recipe is another from the Barefoot Contessa and it's a classic -- Pastry Cream fills the tart shell and the fresh fruit goes on top. All is brushed with melted apricot jam so that they glisten!

Strawberry Tarts
(From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa)

1 1/4 cups flour
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt
6 T. cold unsalted butter, diced
2 T. cold shortening
1/4 c. ice water
2 cups Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup apricot jelly

Combine the flour, sugar and salt. Put in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2 inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don't stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 T. of water and brush the top of the tarts.

Pastry Cream:

5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 c. scalded milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. Cognac
1 T. butter
1 T. heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium high speed for 4 minutes or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Company for Dinner

We had company for dinner Tuesday night. Dear friends and her sister and brother-in-law.
I wanted it to be nice so I set the table in the dining room.
The centerpiece were some white lilacs from my mother-in-laws bush and some honeysuckle that grows over the arbor in the front in an old silver Victorian basket. (Centerpieces should be low enough to see over!)
Not my blue and white -- but the china does have blue in it. It's a Wedgwood pattern -- called Cuckoo. I love this Oriental style pattern and I have six plates. I yearn for a teapot!

The tablecloth is a creamy damask from Waterford. The napkins in the silver rings are Irish linen -- so luxurious!

Just before I call my guests in for dinner -- the candles lit and the salads at each place. The evening is waning and soon the dining room will be lit only by the lamps and the candles on the table.


Linderhof's Wilted Lettuce Salad (with Linderhof's lettuce)
Baked Salmon stuffed with fennel, lemon and thyme
Roasted Asparagus
Stephenson's Green Rice
Strawberry Tarts

It's Thursday which means that it's time for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan's Between Naps on the Porch. Come see the other fun tablescapes this Thursday!

Reprise -- A Lady's Desk

I'm joining the Ready, Set, Vignette Party Hosted by Beth at The Stories of A 2 Z. I love to do vignettes and although I'm not a furniture mover, I am a vignette changer. Some, are seasonal, like Christmas, Fall and Easter while others are because I think something will look better somewhere else or I get something new and need to fit it in (which is the most often reason for a change in a tabletop!)

My desk is very special to me -- it's where I write my thank you notes; it's where I handwrite letters (not very often for I'm a computer girl); it's where I address birthday cards to friends; it's where I address sympathy cards or get well cards.

I like to have treasures around me in my special places and this desk is no exception.

Every "lady" needs a place where she can write thank you notes, peruse and pay bills, send greeting cards, and keep track of social engagements. My place is a mahogany secretary in the corner of the living room with a window that looks out on what I call my secret garden. (The garden is a small strip along the side of the house -- filled with flowers three seasons of the year.) The picture is a picture of the fireplace at Linderhof taken in 1930 and given to me by an old man that was the little boy in the picture. It's always been a treasure to me. My collection of Asian calligraphy brushes also at this moment reside on the desk in a calligraphy brush pot. The wee carved figure is ivory, bought by Husband Jim on a long ago visit to Asia. Surrounded by things I love, the desk is a special place to do special things. The bookcase part of the secretary holds some very special and very old pieces of blue and white as well as some small old volumes. Every day, after breakfast and the dishes, I sort the mail here and then attend to my correspondence -- sending whatever note needs to be sent, addressing whatever greeting card needs to go out, making the daily grocery list. Often with a cup of tea in hand to sip as I go about this daily ritual. Every lady needs a desk. How else could she run a household?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Lunch Bunch is now the Tea Trio

Three friends of mine come to lunch at Linderhof once a month. It's a decade old tradition -- these three friends joining me for lunch. What is great is that I get to try new recipes and they get to eat new foods.

Today was our regular "Lunch" but instead of lunch I decided to have an afternoon tea. A traditional three course afternoon tea -- a tea that should have been at half past three but one that we had at straight up noon!
I set the tea table with my Spode and Wedgewood and, of course, the silver teapot.
As is proper -- tea is served on the three tiered curate -- sandwiches on the bottom, then scones and then sweets. A seed cake is on a pedastal cake stand.
The tea cups and plates -- Spode Famille Rose -- I've had it for a long time but haven't used it much prefering instead my blue and white. I set the table properly -- with a tea plate, the napkin and then the tea cup and saucer on top.
Sandwiches first -- traditional cucumber (bread, butter, sliced cucumber and salt and pepper) and mixed olive tea sandwiches from The Watts Tea Shop via Savoring Time in the Kitchen -- a daily read of Linderhof.
In the middle of the curate, freshly made scones. I love Ina Garten's receipe -- they make lovely scones -- whether in triangles or in rounds which is what we always had in England. Served, of course, with real Clotted Cream and my homemade strawberry jam.
And at the top of the curate -- tarts -- strawberry tarts with patisserie cream and lemon curd tarts topped with a pansy.

And, in addition, a seed cake -- a traditional British cake for afternoon tea. Mine was made with poppy seeds and my guests pronounced it stupendous!

The curate, filled with tea goodies!

And at the end of the afternoon . . . . the pot is empty, the cups are empty and we feel sated. It was a grand afternoon tea!

Please join Wanda Lee at The Plummed Pen for Wednesday Tea for Me and Thee.

I love tea time and it's fun to see what everyone is up to for Wednesday Tea!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Breakfast Room Sideboard

The breakfast room in winter holds plants -- and the sideboard doesn't escape it's bit of greenery. My two ivy topiaries are on each side of the sideboard. Two different kinds of ivy and two different kinds of topiary forms.

I've not been very good at toparies until these ivy ones. They weren't purchased as toparies but, rather, are home grown.

The one on the left was a wee plant when a friend gave it to me. I had an iron form and stuck it in the pot with the plant. It grew and thrived outside and surprisingly, it liked the sideboard in the breakfast room this winter!

The one on the right is just ivy and another form that I had in the garden. And like it's "buddy" -- it's grown and thrived.

I had to keep trimming them both to keep them in bounds!

Soon it will be time to take them back outside for the summer.

And in the middle -- our Waterford decanters. Bought one by one -- the first I was so excited about -- and the other two were found at bargains over many years.

It's Tuesday which means that it's Tabletop Tuesday with Marty at A Stroll Thru Life. My sideboard is not a table but it's a top!!!!

Join Marty and see what other tabletops there are this Tuesday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Help Our Fort -- Please Vote!!!

It's blue skies over our Fort. And I'm asking for your help.

Vote TODAY for Fort Scott National Historic Site

We've made the short list of 24 for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History and I'd love to see our beloved Fort named one of those 8 Wonders.

To vote:

Vote early and vote often
(you can vote three times per email address)

You don't have to live on the prairie to vote -- it's open to everyone so I would appreciate your help to make sure that our Fort is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History. Please read about the candidates -- it does give an idea of what an interesting historical story Kansas weaves.

And you can't just vote for our Fort -- you have to vote for 7 others as well.

Because the sky is blue over the Fort, it's Blue Monday so please visit Smiling Sally to see other blues this Monday!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reprise-- My Affair with A House

This was originally posted on May 28, 2008 and Lines from Linderhof was in its infancy. Comments early on were minimal and this post received none.

But after this week's "How I Met My House" -- I thought this post about Linderhof would help complete the circle.

Please join Chari at Happy to Design. She's celebrating her year anniversary of Sunday Favorites and she has a give-away!!!! See what other favorites there are this Sunday!

Shamelessly, I took the title from one of Bunny Williams books for I, too, have had an affair with a house -- this house, Linderhof. It's a brick four square with a wide screened in front porch, a portico from which to hang plants in the summer, roses growing up one side and ivy up the other.

The only structural change ever made in it's 88 years has been the breakfast room which we added on last fall. We did it with a sympathetic eye to the house and most of our visitors think it is our back porch which we have enclosed.

We took the 1985 kitchen which we inherited when we bought the house and made it a kitchen with 1920's flavor. Ours is it's third incarnation after the original 1920's kitchen. It was updated in 1948 and then again in 1985 and in 1995 we took the center panels out of the upper cabinets, added glass and painted ALL of the cabinets. This from a person who thinks it a sin to paint wood! But by doing that, the kitchen seemed part of the house rather than something tacked on.

A house is constantly changing and although the living room has been a dark green ever since we lived here, new furnishings have replaced old and by changing window treatments or upholstery, rooms have a different perspective.

I love this old house and she is a grand lady.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Pinks of Progresso

In February we went on a cruise . . . . and one stop was Progresso in Mexico. It's a delightful town with a lovely beach.

And it is a colorful town -- full of pinks!

Both in town and on the beach. It's Saturday so please join Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see the other Saturday pinks!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lamb Curry - Leftovers CAN Be Good!

My mother in early married days tried lamb -- except during the war years it must have been mutton. She had never eaten it growing up but decided to fix it for she and my father. But, in listening to her tell why we don't eat lamb, I'm sure that the "lamb" she had was actually mutton. That was her first and last time that she ever fixed lamb!

However, . . .

When I was growing up, my best friend, Sandy, lived with her mother and her grandmother -- who was English (Gram she was called). Occasionally, I would be invited to dinner and one the meals I thought was so good and exotic was a dish that "Gram" made called curry. She served a homemade condiment with it (which I figured out was chutney) and some other fun things to sprinkle on.

I later learned that it was the remnants of the Sunday roast -- the Sunday roast being a leg of lamb!

And I felt that my mother had missed the boat by not serving lamb!

Leftovers can be a warmed up version of the night before dinner or you can create something new (and often exotic) from the meat from the night before.

This lamb curry is the new and exotic way to serve lamb again!

In some ways (like the Thanksgiving Evening turkey sandwich is so much better than the real meal) the leftovers can outshine the originals.

This is not Gram's recipe. I was too young to even think about asking for it -- but it seems to me to taste pretty much like hers.

It's Friday which means that it is time for Foodie Friday -- so please join Michael at Designs by Gollum to see what everyone has been cooking this week.

We, at Linderhof, have been munching on leftovers!

Leftover Lamb Curry
Served with chunks of banana, golden raisins, cucumbers diced, yogurt and Major Grey's Chutney (I don't make my own like Gram did!)
A mixture of onion and lamb with a touch of garlic in a great curry sauce with a touch of cumin!


1 1/2 cups rice (your favorite made according to package directions)

1 pound cooked lamb, fat-trimmed, cut into strips
1 t. oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. curry powder (or more if you'd like)
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
2 T. cornstarch
salt and cayenne

Cook rice according to package directions

Cut the lamb into strips about 1/4 inch thick

In a 5 to 6 quart pan over medium heat, combine oil, onion and garlic; stir often until onion begins to brown lightly -- about 6 to 7 minutes

Add curry powder and cumin and stir until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in meat. Add 1 1/2 cups broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup broth. Stir into pan and stir until boiling resumes. Add salt and cayenne to taste. Spoon curry into bowl.

Serve with rice and condiments -- some suggestions: diced banana, diced cucumber, golden raisins or currants, peanuts, chutney, plain yogurt.

My Affair With My House

My affair with my house started 22 years ago when Husband Jim was told that he (we) had to move to this town on the prairie. I dragged my feet for I didn't want to move but Husband Jim called and told me that he had a house he wanted me to look at -- which would mean that it was a blind date!

And I went on the blind date!

(Blind dates seem to work for me -- Husband Jim and I met on a blind date -- he proposed the next night and we were married a month later -- 40 years ago!)

I fell in love as we drove up and when I walked in the master bedroom with the fireplace, I could have signed the contract right then and there -- for the asking price!!!!

But, thankfully, I kept my head.

And we got the house for less than the asking price!

It became Linderhof before we moved in because we had been to England about six months before and we loved the fact that so many of their houses had names (often instead of addresses).

Linderhof because the builder of the house was German and my heritage is German. Named by Husband Jim who had been to the real Linderhof in Germany. It was his favorite castle.

When we moved in, we had an engraved brass plaque that we put on the door that said simply "Linderhof".

In the days before bed and breakfasts (for they have names), it was confusing and strangers would often address me as "Mrs. Linderhof"! (which I found terribly amusing).

When I started writing the column for the newspaper and found that people didn't know where "Linderhof" was . . . the big plaque was made and put on the front of the house.

Although there was a fireplace in the Master Bedroom (something I had always wanted) -- and two more fireplaces as well -- there were some things it lacked in my "always wanted in a house" . . . a walk up attic (but we fixed that -- we made one), a breakfast room (we fixed that - we added one), an door from the house to the back garden (we fixed that -- we made one), wood floors (they were there -- we uncovered them and refinished them), white painted cabinets with glass uppers (we redid the NEW oak cabinets that were there so they looked older)

But the things it DID have -- the fireplace in Master Bedroom and dining room as well as the living room, a great kitchen, an old fashioned bathroom, wood floors, were all things I wanted in a house.

We fixed some of the things it didn't have (see above) but there are two things that I would love to have that, alas, will never be at Linderhof -- a back staircase and a butler's pantry!!!! Sigh! And I'm too in love with Linderhof to casually toss her away for my two wants -- houses have come on the market that include those two things but my affair with Linderhof has been so long that I just can't toss her aside for a back staircase and a butler's pantry!

Linderhof is a 1920's brick four square with Craftsman influences on the outside (the porch and portico) but inside it's classic with wide always painted woodwork. Original light fixtures grace both the back door and the front door. Inside -- the first update was in 1948 -- the second in 1985.

We've been here 22 years and some things have changed over our years but some things haven't. We have put back things that were taken out -- like the pedestal sink in the bathroom, the swinging door between dining room and kitchen, and the tile in the bathroom. But we have added our own touches -- the chandeliers in all the rooms!

I'm still in love with Linderhof and my husband doesn't mind this affair of mine for he loves her as much as I!

It's a great party at Our Suburban Cottage. Join AnNichole to see how others "Met Their House" today!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Thymely Class

I've not entertained this week -- although it is the week for the Lunch Bunch but I had to postpone lunch until next week because of my "It's Thyme for Herbs" class on growing herbs on the prairie.

I'm sharing my tablescape for my class at Tablescape Thursday so please join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch to see everyone's tables this Thursday!

My table at the Community Center where I held my class. I always believe in "Show and Tell" and since this was "A Thymely Class", I brought some thyme.
A wee strawberry jar which was my mothers -- each hole filled with thyme -- not special thyme but regular English thyme. I do like the simple old fashioned herbs in the garden.
And my very favorite all time herb book -- Betty Crocker's Kitchen Gardens by Mary Mason Campbell. A long owned book that is a bit dirty and dog-eared. It is my herb bible! My thymely rabbit is guarding the book!

Whenever I do a class on herbs, I always like to have an herbal taste. Everyone expects something savory -- herbs and savory go together -- but you can have herbs in sweets as well.

And even though my class was about herb gardening and fresh herbs, my taste last evening was for Herb De Provence orange butter cookies with an orange/herb de provence glaze.
They're easy to make and really very good. They're even better if made the day before -- the flavors meld to make a better cookie!
I don't do much with dried herbs but Herb de Provence is always in the larder. In a big pottery jar that I got ages ago at Williams-Sonoma. It's been emptied and refilled many times.
And Herb de Provence is easy to make -- if you don't dry your own herbs, Penzey's has some great dried herbs to use for the mixture (or you can even buy the Herb de Provence mixture from Penzey's).


2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (3 sticks)

1 cup powdered sugar

2 t. vanilla

2 t. dried Herb de Provence

finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/2 t. orange oil (or 1 t. orange extract)

1 - 2 T. fresh orange juice


2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 T. fresh orange juice

finely grated zest of 1 large orange

1 T. dried Herb de Provence

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch and salt. Reserve. In a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla, Herb de Provence, orange zest and orange juice and incorporate. Add the flour mixture and mix briefly on very slow speed, just until a dough forms.

Divide the dough in half and set each half over a long sheet of plastic wrap. Bring the long edges of the wrap lightly over the dough and squeeze and shape the dough until you get a uniform 12" long by 2 1/4 inch wide x 1 inch deep rectangle of dough. Repeat with the other half of the dough which may not exceed 12 inches in length.

Seal the plastic wrap around each portion of the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove one of the dough bars from the refrigerator and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange cookies slightly apart on cookie sheets that have been lightly coated with vegetable spray. (Or use a sillpat)

Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes, rotating pans at the halfway point to ensure even browning.

Remove from the oven, loosen each cookie with a thin spatula and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes on the pan. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Store airtight in layers, separated by wax paper rounds, in a cookie tin, in a cool, dry place. These cookies improve with age. They keep for 3 to 4 weeks.

Shortly before serving (up to a couple of days), in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest and Herb de Provence. Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and place on a wire rack to let the glaze set. If the glaze is too thick, thin with orange juice, one drop at a time. If it is too thin, whisk in additional sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Can be stored in layers, separated by wax paper rounds, in a cookie tin, in a cool dry place.

Herb de Provence Mix

1 T. dried thyme

1 T. dried rosemary

1 T. dried summer savory

1 T. dried lavender

In a small bowl, combine the herbs. Store airtight in a cool dry location. Makes 1/4 cup.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's A Lilac Year

It is definitely a lilac year. The bushes are filled -- absolutely filled -- with blooms and the fragrance as you enter or leave by the back door is heady! For there are 3 bushes that line the drive and they are a mass of lilac.

They're the "children" of some forgotten bushes at an abandoned house in Nevada, Missouri, and after we moved to Linderhof, I would pick the blossoms off of the bushes and one day I got brave and dug up three starts. (Yes, I know I was trespassing -- but no one appreciated the bushes and I certainly did).

Two of the bushes I planted between our driveways and the other by the back window of the dining room. They grew and flourished. And they bloomed -- but never as profusely as in 2010 -- A Lilac Year.

The third bush that lines the drive is a descendant of the lilac bush that was under the bedroom window in the apartment that my parents lived in when I was born. A start was taken from that bush when my parents moved into a house across the street and when they moved to suburbia six years later, a start of that bush went with them.

I got a start of the suburbia descendant the year my mother died. The following year, this wee bush bloomed -- one bloom. I think it was a message from my mother. For it didn't bloom again until it was of blooming size.

It's a big bush now and this year, it's loaded with the old fashioned lilac lilacs!
No fancy cultivars for me -- the old fashioned farm lilacs are perfect for Linderhof's old fashioned garden. And what to do with an abundance of lilac blooms.
Cut them and bring them in . . . . so that the breakfast room and living room smell like lilacs as well as the outside! They make a spectacular bouquet in the blue and white Spode milk pitcher.
And I think you can almost smell the lilacs . . . can't you?

It's Wednesday and it's Outdoor Wednesday so please join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see what else is blooming outdoors this Spring Wednesday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friends for Tea

I have tea every afternoon -- between 3:30 and 4:30. It's a ritual. Mostly it's hot tea except in the heat of a July or August afternoon when the humidity is 100% and temps are also close to that century mark -- then it's iced tea (and iced tea -- not ice tea for the hot tea is iced!)

And I love to have friends for tea -- especially friends of Lines from Linderhof. For anyone who comes to my part of the prairie, the doors to Linderhof are open and the kettle is on!!!!

This afternoon a Lines from Linderhof reader was invited to tea along with her friend who is also a friend of mine.

It was a busy day for me, but no matter how busy, I still stop for tea . . . and a nosh and I always welcome company.
The Wedgwood -- in blue and white, of course. Along with my silver sugar carrier (for cubes) and my smallest curate with cookies.
I love blue and white china and found this set eons ago -- it's the Asiatic Pheasant pattern (I think every pottery in England makes the Asiatic Pheasant pattern) and of course, besides blue and white I love anything with birds. That's what makes this such a great tea set!
I rushed home to make some cookies for tea -- shortbread which are a favorite of mine. Alas, my butter was too hard and so I zapped it -- but for too long -- it was too soft and the cookies spread -- shortbread never spreads -- but mine did! A quick taste test told me that although not as pretty as they should be the buttery flaky flavor was there.
A pot of tea, a curate of shortbread, stiffly ironed tea napkins and a "tea" spoon. With birds in the garden (as well as on the tea cups) and Mozart on the stereo, it's a great way to while away an hour of a Spring afternoon.

It's Tuesday -- please join Lady Katherine at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor for Tea Time Tuesday and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday and Martha at Martha's Favorites for Tea Cup Tuesday. It's always fun when Tuesday has been a special tea time -- then I get to "play" thrice!

The shortbread recipe -- which came from my grandmother who got it from her Scottish grandmother -- it's easy and goes together well -- just remember to put the butter out the night before!

Grandma Dodson's Scotch Shortbread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter

Mix flour and sugar and then blend butter in well. (I use a food processor -- Grandma didn't -- she used her hands!)

Divide dough in half and pat about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter (I like to use rounds, squares or oblongs). Prick with a fork and bake at 325 for 25 to 30 minutes.

Let cool.