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, January 28, 2013

It May be January but It's Spring at Linderhof!!!

We hurry Spring at Linderhof
With the glitz and bling of Christmas gone
back in the boxes
and back in the basement
The house seems barren.
And cold.

So we get a stash of hyacinth bulbs every fall
Chill them 
And then get out the forcing vases
To add both beauty
And fragrance
to Linderhof

Although in magazines paperwhites are often seen as Christmas flowers
alongside the poinsettias,
We prefer ours in January
When days are often bleak and dreary

We buy way too many bulbs each year
But we do it again and again
And we will continue to do so

They lend their beauty

And their aroma
to Linderhof
during January

And we rush other things as well
Not ourselves
But we have a source
for some lovely forsythia branches
Which we buy for the mantle

Their staying power is good
And, even though there is no yellow in the living room at Linderhof,
their blossoms seem to brighten the whole downstairs.

And this weekend at Costco,
they had more forsythia . . . 
I could have bought three bunches
But I resisted and brought home only one

Taken apart, it made

A nice bouquet in an amber glass vase on the bedside table


The rest seems right at home in the yellow guest room in the Wedgwood vase
(a gift from a dear friend)
The vase always resides on the table -- ready for whenever we have guests
For fresh flowers.
A guest room isn't complete without fresh flowers
whether garden ones or florist ones.

No guests are expected
But the bunch was just a little too big for my bedside table
And I couldn't think of a better place to put the rest
than in the yellow guest room!

It is January on the prairie.
A week or so ago, we were stuck inside because of first
the ice that fell and then the snow.


I took my afternoon tea on the front porch.

It's 70 or so today
This 28th day of January

I had to take advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures 
to sip my tea outside on the porch.

Earl Grey tea as is my afternoon custom
And a great tea bread -- orange scented buttermilk cake.

From one of my favorite people, Mary at One Perfect Bite

What I like best about the recipe
is that it makes three loaves
One for now, one for the freezer, and one for a gift.

She topped hers with a shower of powdered sugar
I decided to make an orange glaze.

Either way it is a good cake.

Mary's Orange Scented Buttermilk Cake

3-1/4 cups cake flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat three 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with butter. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and dust pans with flour. Arrange pans on a baking sheet. 

 In a medium bowl, whisk cake flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. 

 In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar and orange zest at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions and scraping down the sides of bowl. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla.

At low speed, beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with dry ingredients; gently fold just until blended.
Scrape batter into prepared pans and smooth tops; gently tap once to release any air. Bake loaves for about 45 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of each loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

 Transfer the loaves to a rack for 20 minutes, then turn them out onto rack and set them right side up to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, slice and serve. Yield: 3 loaves (21 slices).

Note:   I made a glaze of orange zest, orange juice and powdered sugar and topped the cakes with that.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday and Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday


Southerncook said...

I do have some forsythia in my garden but no sign yet of any blooms coming on them. As soon as I do I will be bringing some indoors as well. My daffodils are up and look like they may bloom earlier than usual. This weather has confused even the plants. We already have azalea's blooming in our area and it is much too early. BTW, that cake looks fabulous and I know I will be making it soon.


Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

You have some of the nicest forcing vases I've seen Martha, your home must smell heavenly. A recipe that makes 3 loaves is ideal for just how you described it, or when it's your turn for goodies at the garden club meeting. I'm wondering if all purpose flour would work as well?

acorn hollow said...

your house must smell wonderful.

Beth said...

Your cake looks fantastic, Martha, and I like your forsythia and hyacinth blooms too.

Pondside said...

It will be a while before the forsythia blooms at Pondside, but like you, I'll fill the house with forced blooms from elsewhere, and extend the season.
Coatless on the porch - how lovely!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Hello Martha,
What a beautiful way to display your bulbs! I love the colours and I imagine your home smells divine. The orange cake looks delicious smoothered in the glaze. Another lovely and charming post you have shared with us; thank you. Have a lovely day.


On Crooked Creek said...

Love the freshness that flowers bring to Linderhof in January!!!
What a "treat" to have Tea on the front porch yesterday!!! However, dear friend,this is Kansas...and Winter isn't finished yet. How well we both know!!!
P.S. Happy Kansas Day 2013!!!

Entertaining Women said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Entertaining Women said...

Fresh flowers, that gorgeous guest room, and Mary's Buttermilk Cake, too...oh my....I'd be the guest that you had to ask to leave! Cherry Kay

Snap said...

Fresh flowers, tea bread (I love orange), forced bulbs -- sounds divine to me! I had tea on my balcony this weekend. Wonderful, but I'm not ready for hot weather. Happy Tea Day!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Happy Kansas Day!

My one hyacinth bulb is starting to send up a sprout finally, but I knew I started it late. Yours look great and I love your collection of bulb glasses.

Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

Oh how truly perfect!

And thank you for sharing that delicious looking recipe!

Love your porch area, how wonderful it was warm enough to sip your tip and eat your sweet bites out there!

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

Wow the flowers look wonderful! It's such a nice treat to be able to force bulbs indoors. I can't believe you got to see some forsythia already even if it was from a store. Wow, that's great! I miss my forsythia. I need to plant a new one. That Buttermilk cake looks so so good!