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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Cape Codders Come for Dinner

Halloween Eve
The Cape Codders
came for dinner
Three couples, who with us, shared a house for a week on Cape Cod

We haven't been all together since the Friday before we left Cape Cod
to come home

It was good to see them again.

And since it was fall . . . 

A fall tablecloth -- bronzy and gold

The blue and white china, of course.
White damask napkins in silver napkin rings, of course
A Halloween card as both place card

And menu card

The blue and white bowl filled with pumpkins and fall leaves

But we need flowers too -- mums from the garden in crystal rose bowls
Small sterling candlesticks -- 4 of them.
I like the simplicity of these low candleholders.

And before dinner

We gather in the living room for drinks and appetizer.

Cheese in the shape of pumpkins with a parsley leaf and a pretzel stem

And the table awaits

The menu?

Salad of roasted apple, roasted pecans, blue cheese and greens with a apple cider vinaigrette

Pork tenderloin with a cranberry balsamic sauce (there has to be one cranberry dish for the Cape Codders!), butternut squash risotto with saffron and a hasselback potato

Chocolate Mousse Torte with a small candy pumpkin which I made

Good food, good friends, a good evening . . .

And when everyone is gone . . . 

It's Thursday and I'm sharing my fall dinner party with Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish and with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

It's Pumpkin Day

It's Pumpkin Day

We carve them, we eat them, we celebrate them!

For it's Halloween!

And "pumpkin" food has flowed from the kitchen at
the past week.

Not "pumpkin food" but "pumpkin" food

There's not pumpkin flavor in the food
But the food looks like pumpkins!

An appetizer -- for a bring an appetizer cocktail party AND a Halloween Eve dinner party.

Pumpkin shaped cheese bites.

Oh, so simple and easy to make.    A tablespoon of cold Cold Processed Cheese, rolled into a ball, a pretzel stuck in the top and a leaf of parsley.    Put on a cracker so that it's cheese and cracker all rolled into one (and the bottom of the cheese gets a little sticky so the cracker keeps a cleaner plate)  
After it's rolled into a little orange ball, refrigerate and then before you serve, use a toothpick to draw the lines of the pumpkin.

And for a treat or a garnish or to add to a Halloween party tray

Candy pumpkins.

My own creation -- sort of.
I used the strawberry "candy" recipe from ages ago --
the 2 packages of jello (only this time I used orange for the color for they don't make pumpkin jello), a cup of ground pecans, a cup of coconut and 2/3 cup of Eagle Brand milk (sweetened condensed).   Mix all together and roll into teaspoon size balls, then roll in orange sugar and stick a slivered almond in the top and use a mint leaf for decoration.

A couple look really pretty tied in a cello bag and tied with an orange ribbon.

But wait, there's more pumpkins at Linderhof . . .


Cut out with the pumpkin cookie cutter and dusted with orange sugar.    They were a perfect
nosh when the Garden Club came.

But wait, there is still more!

On the tea tray!    Sugar cookies, frosted with orange icing and painted to resemble jack-o-lanterns.

Every afternoon we do stop for tea -- even on Halloween.
And what better Halloween tea treat that jack o lantern cookies.

It seems, however, this Halloween that the ghosts have invaded the tea table as well!

The jack-o-lanterns are still smiling so they don't seem to mind!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

Because it's all about the children.

And it's all about Candy!

We're busy today turning our portico into a "Witch's Lair"

for I'll spend the evening out there

handing out full size Skittles and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

New this year . . . my "The Witch Is In" sign!

We've got chili bubbling in the crock pot (alas, not in a cauldron) for it's our traditional
Halloween meal.

Husband Jim will eat his at dinner time.

I'll get my bowl when I transform from witch back into me,
after all the children have gone,
after all the candy is gone.

Halloween is not Halloween without pumpkins

And this week has been a busy pumpkin week at Linderhof!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Living Room Tables

There are two round end tables on either side of the sofa in the living room
Old tables -- the first one is older than the second.
It's a tilt top table with carving on it's legs.
It's quite a pretty table.

Asian, English and Waterford

And on the table Saturday
is the lamp made out of an Asian pot
An English milk pitcher full of garden roses atop some books
Two "Staffordshire" figurines -- of poodles, I think
And a Waterford Ashtray
(not for cigarettes but it's my coaster -- my very elegant coaster!)

And on the other side of the sofa is a 40's pedestal table with drawer
(one always needs at least one drawered end table in the living room for it's where one keeps cards for bridge and the telephone directory and a small note book and pen)
It got a glass top (for Husband Jim is not really a coaster person -- so it's top is really a coaster!)

A plant, a lamp and a book

A lamp made from an Asian tea tin,
a blue Spode bowl with a Christmas cactus,
An abalone shell
And Husband Jim's latest read, Killing Kennedy

The tabletops change with the seasons --
in spring and summer the plant is replaced with fruit in the bowl or a vase of flowers

The blue and white milk pitcher is not always on the books but when it is garden flowers of spring, summer and fall  are replaced by florist flowers in winter.    Or perhaps a blue and white bowl filled with fruit will top the books.

And this time next year?
I'm sure the tabletops won't look the same.
I'm not a furniture mover (well, except to clean) for once a piece of furniture has it's place there it stays.
But tabletops are a different matter.

I tire of them, I guess, or I'll find something new and I don't like clutter
so I'll rearrange the tabletops.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Chair-ity

When I became the full time mistress of Linderhof,
I decided that every afternoon
at half past three
I would stop for a cup of tea.

And I have.

For a long time, my afternoon tea cup

A sweet gift and a perfect afternoon tea cup 

Was this cute little tea cup given to me by a dear friend when I retired.

I'm not really a "single" tea cup person but this cup embraced my philosophy that every day I would make

"Time for Tea"

And for many years, I used it for that afternoon cup.

But then on a cleaning spree, it got put away with some other tea cups

Afternoon tea at Linderhof, then, was usually served in a blue and white cup

And the "Time for Tea" cup was forgotten


Friend Jill called and asked if I would participate

I agreed.

But first,  I had to get a chair

The perfect chair was hard to find

For not much money I got this old wooden kitchen chair
Definitely in need of a little love.

And with an idea in mind, I rooted around to find this:

My inspiration

The tea cup
Which would be the inspiration for my chair transformation

And so I painted the chair white
Then got out my paints and got to work
With tea cup near

I'd look at the tea cup and add something to the chair

About three-fourths done

Enough paint, but not too much.    A good artist knows when to stop!

And the chair finally finished

Not a tea cup but a teapot.   

Transferring a cup and saucer into a painted chair was a lot of fun

A pair -- the tea cup and the chair.

I think the chair is a good interpretation of the tea cup!

After, chair was finished, it was half past three and so . . . 

I took time for tea.

After an afternoon of painting, one needs a cup of tea and a cookie!

My tea cup of choice?
The inspirational tea cup, of course!

And something to read while one enjoys tea and cookies

With some cookies form the larder
A new recipe that I wanted to try.
They're really Christmas cookies
but they were good in October
full of hazelnuts with a candied cherry on top!

And a read -- not a "how to paint" book
but rather a favorite (but hefty) volume
Constance Spry's cookbook.

I still have a little more to do on the chair.
I have to poly the piece and then get it to the Gordon Parks Center.

It will be displayed in a store window downtown during November.

And the auction will be 
on November 30, 3012
in conjunction with the observance of Gordon Parks 100th birthday.
The "Chair-ity Auction" will be in the evening at the Fort Scott Community College Ellis Fine Arts Center.

For more information, please contact Jill 
at  223-2700, ext. 5850 or email

(Perhaps you can call in a bid!)

It is Monday and I'm sharing my chair with Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for Met Monday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dog 0 - Squirrel 1

We feed the birds at Linderhof
Summer and winter
Spring and fall

But with the birds also come squirrels
They're greedy little rodents
And will sit and eat until the feeder is empty.

And what was one squirrel has now turned into FOUR!

What we usually do is let them eat -- SOME.
Then we used to let Oliver out and up the tree they went
and if he stayed out for a while
it kept them away
And the birds could continue to feed

Oliver passed the torch to Dolly.
Her job, now,  is to chase the squirrels away.

Except . . .

Dolly sees squirrel at the feeder.

She gets a whiff of squirrel.

Yes, that's what it is, all right -- a squirrel!

But it isn't running!

C'mon, squirrel, let's have a little action.

A little bark -- but the squirrel isn't moving.

I can almost "taste" the squirrel -- so close but yet so far.

I see it but I don't think the squirrel sees me.

The squirrel continued to feed
oblivious to the dog
or rather knowing the dog was there but knew that the dog couldn't get squirrel.

The score as I see it is:

Dog - 0
Squirrel - 1

Eventually, the squirrel tired of the game or had eaten it's fill
And it jumped to the table and then to a tree
And away it went.

Dolly barking and following it on the ground.
I'm sure in her mind, she felt that SHE chased the squirrel from the feeder.

But we all know the truth!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Five Seconds of Fame

I received a call from our weekly newspaper
They wanted to interview me for their Citizen Spotlight column
We set the time for 3 on Tuesday

That morning, I set the table

Spode Blue Room cups and saucers, tea plates and tea pot

in the sunroom
And then

The perfect trio for tea -- tea, cake and cream

Baked a cake

The cake on my pressed glass cake stand

A Dorset Apple Cake
An ENGLISH Dorset Apple Cake

Lots of "Marvelous Martha's Dorset Apple Cakes" for sale.   We did bring one home as our tea treat.
And yes, it was "marvelous"!   Wait -- Martha's Marvelous -- not the cake!

Like these that came from a market in England
where we lived last Spring.

They were "Marvelous Martha's" and they were, indeed MARVELOUS!

And since it was baked by moi -- Martha
My cake too was a "Marvelous Martha's Dorset Apple Cake"!

Served with

Cost a lot more than the 90p that we paid in England -- like many dollars!

 Real Devonshire Cream

The blob of cream can't be too big!

A big blob on each piece

An English pastry fork -- which really should be used for tarts and not cakes . . but sometimes we "press the envelope" at Linderhof!

Perfect with a cup of tea -- Harney's Hot Cinnamon
from life+style


"Whenever they have company, they toss the dog out!"

Someone felt left out.  
The food . . . and the company was INSIDE
The dog was OUTSIDE.

My five seconds of fame?

It's in our local weekly, The Bourbon County Review

Where I was highlighted in the Citizen Spotlight column

I've been fending phone calls all day -- celebritism has it's price

The cake is good -- it's the third apple dessert I've made in as many days and I'm really hard pressed to pick a favorite for they are all good.  

But this one has memories.    First tasted in England, bought from a market, and not an ordinary Dorset Apple Cake either, but a "Marvelous Martha's Dorset Apple Cake".

The recipe is English as well -- from Nigella.   
It's easy to put together and is a really great tea cake.

(Marvelous Martha's)

225 g. butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
450 g. Granny Smith apples, finely grated
zest and juice of 1 lemon
225 g. caster sugar, plus extra for dredging (regular sugar)
3 large eggs
225 g. self-rising flour
2 t. baking powder
25 g. ground almonds
1 1/2 T. light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.    Grease a deep 25 cm springform cake pan with a removable bottom, and line the bottom with baking paper.     Peel, core and grate the apples and toss with the lemon juice.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl until pale and fluffy.    Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, adding a little flour with each addition to keep the mixture smooth.

Sift the remaining flour and the baking powder into the bowl and fold in with the ground almonds.

Drain the apple pieces well, then stir into the mixture.    Spoon into the prepared cake pan, lightly level the top and sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until well-risen, brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.    If the cake starts to look a little too brown, cover with a sheet of baking paper after about 45 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.    Remove the cake from the tin and place on a serving plate.    Dredge heavily with the extra caster sugar.    Cut the cake into generous wedges and serve warm with a spoonful of clotted cream.

It's Thursday

 and I'm sharing my table with Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish and Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Autumn Afternoon

On Tuesdays and Saturdays in our little town is our Farmer's Market
And I miss very few.
All summer our vegetables are from the Farmer's Market

We're fortunate that our market is in front of our
Historic Fort
(It reminds me of the markets we went to in England which often were in the 
shadow of the Cathedral)

Dolly enjoys the Farmer's Market 
(alas, the dog biscuit lady is now gone)
but her energy level is too high
and so she needs a long walk

The best place for a walk?
The Fort, of course!

A 2011 corgi
An 1842 Fort

The back of the Officer's quarters

Did you call me?

This is so much fun!

The stables, the laundry 
Across the parade ground

And Dolly can stop . . . 
And pose!

It's Wednesday and our outing is perfect for Susan's Outdoor Wednesday.    Visit her at A Southern Daydreamer.