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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

We're Hoping for a Lamb-like March

March is a weather predictor
Everyone has heard the 
"in like a lamb/out like a lion 
in like a lion/out like a lamb"
folklore about March

But the lion and the lamb is not the only one March is famous for --

A dry March and a wet May?
Bill barns and bays with corn and hay.

As it rains in March so it rains in June

March winds and April showers?   Bring forth May flowers.

Do you believe them?

Not to tempt fate,
but hopefully, it it is "lamblike" at Linderhof
then March will come in "like a lamb"
For by the time it's March 1
we're often tired of winter.

To insure "lambness",
we often serve lamb for March 1

Some of our favorite lamb dishes --

Rack of lamb
(a splurge)

Lamb shanks

Lamb curry
(usually made from leftover leg of lamb)

Lamb chops

French lamb stew
with lemon risotto

I have a new recipe for a long slow cooked bone in leg of lamb
That I'm really wanting to try.
Perhaps that will be our March lamb!
But it will have to be a company meal
For there's too much lamb for the two of us.

At Linderhof, anyway, March will come in like a lamb!

It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Three for Lunch

 Two dear friends from the little town 20 miles East
joined me for lunch last week

As has been my custom of late,
luncheon was served in the dining room

With the noon day sun filling the room with light

A hand embroidered square cloth that I bought in the Azores served as the cloth
Wedgwood Cuckoo plates
Grandmother's silver
White cloth napkins in silver rings

Hyacinths in forcing vases
And the wee iron birds were the centerpiece

For a pretty "almost spring" table

Dessert service awaited on the sideboard
(which is why you don't clutter the sideboard with too much "stuff")

A simple menu

Tomato soup from the tomatoes I canned last summer
With a few garlic cheese croutons for "crunch"

A wonderful lemon basil chicken pasta dish
Alas, the basil not from the garden or windowsill
but rather from the market
With a salad of mixed baby greens
And herbal biscuits

And the dessert?

A cherry almond tart
With the Morello cherries I bought at Trader Joe's
ringed with sliced almonds
Arranged over a filling of marscapone cheese
It's an updated version of the old classic
"cherry cheese pie"

And with a cup of coffee
A slice made a fitting end to a lovely meal.

But we lingered,
over coffee
before they bid their goodbyes\

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Teapots of Linderhof

I don't "collect" teapots
I've never considered myself a collector
But I do like teapots
And more than one has found it's home at Linderhof
over the years
And it's years, too -- for I've had some of these for 20 years or more

The Wee Blue Ones

 Burleigh's Asiatic Pheasant
It holds two cups -- not mugs -- but cups
Perfect for tea for one

Johnson Brothers Indies
It's small and holds perhaps three cups
Bought on a trip to England
Because I loved the tea service in the bed breakfasts we stayed in
And I felt that Linderhof 
should have a tea "station" in the bedroom
I bought the pot, a wee creamer and sugar, and two cups and saucers
And hand carried them home

I did set up the station --
But not for long
For you had to take the dirty dishes downstairs, wash them and tote them back up!

It was far easier to go downstairs for my first cup of tea.

But it is my favorite "tea for one" pot and I use it a lot for tea
at half past three when it is just me.

The Spode Blue Ones

The Blue Room pattern.   
 A Christmas gift from Husband Jim because I didn't have a "big" blue teapot!

Blue Italian
Bought in Canada
Because it was so much cheaper there.
I loved the shape and even though I had a Blue Room,
I felt that I need a Blue Italian teapot as well.

The Silver

The teapot that goes with my silver tea service.    
It's the Plymouth pattern and is a rather plain Colonial pattern

My grandmother's teapot.    
It's really a coffeepot, but it works well for tea
If she had any other pieces of silver, I don't remember them.
Perhaps, it belonged to her mother or grandmother?
But whatever it's heritage, I'm glad it resides at Linderhof
and is a reminder of my dear grandmother.

And old silver one
From an Estate Sale
It turned out to be older than I thought
I love it's round almost onion shape
I traded a meal out for the pot -- I didn't go and so "saved" the money
I would have spent on dinner -- that money went to buy the pot!

The Miscellany

Old Paris
Mid 1800s
I collect gold and white china 
And didn't have a teapot
Which came with creamer and sugar
and cups and saucers
and a few "oddments"
It's special and not used all that much
Used mostly for special teas!

Aynsley Pembroke
It's bone china
So a company teapot
It goes with my "collection" of Asian bird and chrysanthemum 
It was bought specifically to go with those cups and saucers.

Wedgwood Asiatic Pheasant
It's transferware -- not china
And although it's blue it's more of a turquoise blue rather than the blue one thinks of when one thinks of English transfer ware.
It's part of a "tea set" -- teapot, creamer, sugar, cups, saucers and tea plates.
Bought years and years ago
because I wanted an English tea set and it was "sort of" blue and white!

The workhorses

Not a brown betty (although I do have one -- a large one that doesn't get used much unless I have a crowd for tea)
But a clay one,
A French one
An Emile Henry one
Bought for a song at Williams-Sonoma
For a song because it was "last season's" color!

I've had it a good many years
It's my most used teapot.
I use it every morning for my morning tea.
And if I use any of the silver ones, the tea gets brewed in this first --
then decanted into the silver pots.

But the real workhorse . . .

Is the tea kettle
An electric one
Ordered on line when we lived in England
because I was enchanted by the electric ones
The same brand as we had there
except it's 110v while those were 220v.

It's used every day
Sometimes more than twice a day
For there's breakfast tea
And then tea at half past three

And sometimes morning tea if it works out

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing my teapots with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday.

Monday, February 25, 2013


It's the last week of February . . .
Winter for the most part has been mild
And then we got snow!!!!

Lots of snow!!!

A really lot of snow!!!

More is predicted!


We'll stay inside
by the fire
put a pot of soup on to simmer

And have a cup of tea to keep us warm!

Books and needlepoint shall keep us occupied
The larder is stocked
We find that Dolly is not a snow dog -- prefering to stay INSIDE!

Winter is giving one last hurrah (we hope)
Before March and a spring to look forward to!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spring Mantles

We're lucky at Linderhof to have three mantles
In the living room, dining room and master bedroom
Linderhof is a cottage
It was unusual in the 20s for a "cottage" to have as many fireplaces
There was always central heat, after all
So a fireplace wasn't needed to warm the room.

But Mr. Sechler, who built Linderhof had money
And with his money he added fireplaces
to his cottage

We're glad he did

We change the mantles out some
The living room especially for we add seasonal elements to it

A pair of Federick Cooper candlesticks; an English match strike; an old mantle clock which we bought at an antique shop in Topeka, Kansas years ago when we made trips to the State's capital to testify before the legislature on issues regarding our business; a pair of bronzes bought as a Christmas gift for Husband Jim shortly after we moved to Linderhof; an Asian vase that this spring is filled with forsythia branches.

I don't change the mantle much other than adding seasonal touches.    I'll keep forsythia or pussywillow in the vase as long as I can.    In the summer, the vase is always empty!

The dining room

has an old French mantle clock as it's centerpiece.    A recent find.   It only strikes the hour once -- it doesn't count the hours!     The lamps, too, are a recent find.    I've always admired lamps with crystal drops and this pair seemed special.       The ginger jars are cloisonné, bought by Husband Jim on a trip to Hong Kong in the 60s.     I've always adored them and they look good no matter where we put them.

The Master Bedroom

My parents wedding present clock takes pride in place on the Master Bedroom mantle.   It's has Westminster chimes and was in their living room.    As a child, it was always comforting to wake in the night and hear the chime -- it made it seem to me, a small child, that all was right in the world.    I still wake and hear the chimes and know that all is right in the world.    It's comforting.    My ladies dance across the mantle.    A part of my collection of Royal Doulton figurines.    These ladies acquired one at a time -- mostly as gifts for Christmas or birthdays.     

It's always fun to decorate mantles and although we don't change them a lot, there is something about the flat surface of a mantle in a room that can be decorated like no other piece of furniture in a room.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It May Have Been President's Day But To Me -- It's Still George Washington's Birthday!

It's George Washington's Birthday
February 22
A National Holiday

Well, except Lincoln's now involved as well
and they've moved George's Birthday
From February 22
to the third Monday in February
And instead of George Washington's Birthday
It's called President's Day!!!

Everyone knows President Washington

We learned about him in school
And the part in played in our Independence
as well as being the first President of these United States

We have a daily reminder of him with our dollar bill
He's there everyday!

 Mount Vernon his home has been preserved
(not by our government but rather by some strong minded ladies
who saved the estate from being torn down so something "better" could be erected ---
My hat's off to those daring women who understand the importance of preserving the property!)

When did George Washington's Birthday get moved from February 22 to the third Monday in February?     In 1968. Congress enacted the "Monday Holiday Law" -- changing many holidays to a Monday thereby insuring that Federal employees would get three day weekends for most holidays.

Interestingly, we lived in Kansas City and the first time that Washington's Birthday was changed from the true date to a Monday, we got the Monday off and then on the day itself, there was such a snowstorm that most of the city was closed.     I think George had "someone's" ear and wanted to insure that his real birthday was still a holiday!!!

When did Washington's Birthday become "President's Day"?  Contrary to popular public belief, neither Congress nor any President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington's Birthday be changed to "President's Day".    It's the Merchants and the Media who've changed the name. 

After Congress passed that legislation, moving Washington's Birthday to the third Monday, it will NEVER be celebrated on his real birthday -- for the third Monday will never be past February 21 -- and as everyone knows, Washington's Birthday is February 22!

We always celebrated Washington's Birthday when I was a child
No school, first
And second, a cherry dessert

Every year we always had

Photo courtesy of Eagle Brand Milk

Cherry Cheese Pie
We had it so often on February 22, that we should have called it "Washington Pie"
For he chopped down the cherry tree as a boy
And cherries are forever after thought of when one thinks of Washington!

I've made my share of Cherry Cheese Pies.
It was tradition, after all!

But this year, I'm making this wonderful cake

Warm from the oven, it's a great breakfast cake.

Leftovers make great tea fare.


4 eggs, separated
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
3/4 c. ground almonds
1 T. Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)
3/4 pound Bing cherries, halved and pitted

Heat oven to 350.    Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, beat the yolks with 1/2 the sugar, the vanilla and the lemon zest.   In another bowl, beat the whites with the salt to soft peaks, then beat in the remaining sugar a tablespoon at a time until thick and glossy.

Stir the almonds into the yolks, then the cherry brandy, then loosen the mixture by adding a spoonful of the whites to the mixture.    Fold in the remaining whites and pour into the prepared pan.      Scatter the cherries over the top and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes before removing sides of the pan.    Serve warm or at room temperature.

It's Friday and I'm sharing the cherry cake with Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tea and Biscuits

I've had a Waterford "Biscuit" Barrel "forever"
I've also had a wooden one from the 20's

And when I first got the "Biscuit" Barrel, I couldn't understand
why anyone would put "biscuits" in a crystal jar.
They're not really good leftover
They're best hot and fresh from the oven.

And then I took my first trip to England
And learned that there, "biscuits" were cookies.

The light came on!
I could see "cookies" in the Waterford barrel
I could see "cookies" in the wooden one

And I see "cookies" in this enamel one definitely marked "biscuits"
It's not English
bought instead in the city at some store that ages ago sold enamel ware
marked with "sugar", "flour", "tea", "coffee" and this one -- "biscuits"

It's in the larder
and does, indeed hold biscuits
The weekly output is put in there
So that one or two (or even three or four)
can be taken out for afternoon tea.

It's just one piece of our enamel ware collection
I have the one marked "sugar" and it's in the larder holding the icing sugar
And I have old ones
A "bread" one which holds bread and crackers.
It's old and is from England
As is the "flour" one which is also in the larder
It holds flour -- but not the regular flour but instead the almond meal and cake flour

And the biscuit tin this week

lemon raisin cookies
From Anna Pumps, Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook

They're good keepers
And make for a good tea nosh
For one

Blue and white Johnson Brothers, Indies
The wee pot bought almost 20 years ago on a trip to England along with one cup
(I had the grand idea of keeping a "tea station" in the bedroom, like the bed/breakfasts we stayed at --
it wasn't practical and that idea was soon squashed -- but the teapot and tea cup remained.
And were soon joined by more Johnson Brothers Indies -- plates and salad/tea plates and more cups and saucers!)

The cookies full of lemon zest.   A gift from a friend (lemons not the zest) who received a box full of lemons from her brother in law in California -- she shares!

I love the late afternoon winter sun in the breakfast room as I pause
every afternoon at half past three
for a cup of tea and a nosh.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

We Love to Read

We do --
we love to read
But we also love to own books
To have our own library

To be able to pull from the shelf
just the right tome

And not counting the shelf of cookbooks in the kitchen,
we have three (or almost half) of the rooms at Linderhof
with walls of books

In the living room are the classics, leather bound and slowly collected over time
Not bought just to fill the bookcases but bought because we loved them
and wanted Daughter Sarah to love them as well
We enjoy the feel of a leather book in our hands,
the quality of the paper
And there isn't anything better than rereading a much loved classic.

On the table is a tortoise shell and ivory "page turner"
Brought home from England
A page turner because books were rare and human hands contained oils.
How precious books once were

In the sunroom, a wall of books
A lot of cookbooks
Many books that I loved as a child
The horse and dog ones
As well as the "teen" ones

And the books that tell stories of living in other countries,
similar to "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "On Rue Tatin"
A girl can dream

A wall of books in the guest room
It had no focal point and we thought bookshelves and a window seat
would be that focal point.

I've always dreamed of curling up on a window seat
with a good book and a cup of tea
while rain or sleet picked at the window pane
or snow fell gently outside
But, alas, I never have.

These shelves are filled with my "England" books, my garden books,
my decorating books, my needlepoint books

And to remind me that I really should take time to read and sip tea
on my beloved window seat
on the door of the Guest Room
is a gift from a dear friend

And it's true!!!!

Books have always been important to me, both to read and to own.
As a child with my birthday money, I would buy books.
Favorite books that I loved.
I still have them and love them as much now as I did then.

And I truly can't imagine a house without books on bookshelves.
As I can't imagine a house without a tick tock clock!

And a tea kettle for tea!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Desserts

Every year I host a Valentine's Luncheon for friends
Six is the perfect number
and it's fun to think of new menus
each year
But mostly, it's fun to think of new desserts!

It's also fun to go back and see what you've done
in year's past . . . and with a blog, it makes it easier!

Valentine's Desserts through the years . . .


French Silk Pie


Strawberry Cake baked in a heart shaped mold


Chocolate Cloud


White Chocolate Cake with Orange Curd 

And the dessert for 2013? 

Chocolate, of course!

And warm chocolate at that --

the cake that is often known as

Chocolate Melting Cake

A warm, individual, oozy gooey chocolate cake
Topped with whipped cream
and a pansy!

Who doesn't love chocolate
especially on Valentine's!!!

It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday -- what better food than Valentine's Desserts!