I love flowers indoors and all during the growing season of spring, summer and fall, there are always flowers on the breakfast room table and often a bouquet in the living room and on my bedside table as well.
But, alas, come the first freeze and the flowers of the garden are gone. In November, we have pumpkins and bittersweet to fill bowls instead of vases on tabletops and in December there are poinsettias and Christmas greens.
To insure flowers in January, we force bulbs. Paperwhites and hyacinths. The paperwhites in blue and white bowls and pots (stored in the basement just for this purpose) and the hyacinths in forcing vases -- made especially to coax hyacinths into bloom.
|January centerpiece of hyacinths in the forcing vases|
I have a nice collection -- bought slowly over the years -- two more green ones (one a twin of the one on the table) and another pink one. I would like a couple of more blue ones for they would be smashing with my blue and white china!
And last spring when we were in England, at one of the Antique Centres we went to . . .
|I've never seen so many forcing vases in one place.|
I must admit that I've always been a purist as to color -- although the vases are various colors -- the hyacinths themselves are always all of one color.
This year -- the color is
|I love the aroma especially first thing in the morning! It makes one smile!|
A pure perfect white. And the fragrance in the breakfast room is heady.
I must confess, however, that this year I didn't force the bulbs -- for we left before the end of the year and there would be no one at Linderhof to "fuss" with the bulbs. I bought a pot of hyacinths in the bud, washed off the dirt and plunked them into my vases. Sigh. Which is why I only have three this year!
But I really can't imagine a year without hyacinths and so if I have to resort to trickery, I have to resort to trickery!
Today, a lot of odds and ends of chores got done at Linderhof . . . But at 3:30, I put the kettle on for my afternoon tea.
|It's half past three!|
It's always the perfect place in winter for a cup of afternoon tea!
|I love this wee teapot and teacup and saucer.|
My wee Burleigh Asiatic Pheasant teapot -- perfect for two cups of tea -- and a matching cup and saucer.
|Slices of lemon apricot tea bread will be my afternoon tea treat this week.|
And for a nosh, the lemon apricot tea bread I made yesterday. Not just a bread for tea but a bread with tea for it has tea infused milk as it's liquid. And, of course, the apricots I used were my boozy apricots which gave an added flavor to the bread.
It came yesterday in the Relish magazine and the recipe is a keeper!
LEMON APRICOT TEA BREAD
1 1/4 c. milk
4 bags English Breakfast tea
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar (plus 1 T)
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. canola oil
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. finely grated lemon peel
1/2 c. dried apricots, chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until hot but not boiling; remove from heat and add tea bags. Cover and let steep 6 to 7 minutes; remove tea bags, gently squeezing out milk and discard bags. Let cool.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, 3/4 c. sugar, baing powder and salt. In another medium bowl, combine egg oil, lemon juice and 1 up cooled milk tea. (Mixture will curdle lightly.) Add egg mixture to dry mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in lemon peel and apricots.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, stir remaining milk tea with 2 T. sugar. While bread is still in pan, brush tea-sugar miture over top of loaf. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack.