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 30, 2013

It's Halloween!

It's Halloween
Time for the Ghosts and Goblins and Witches to be 
out and about!

We like to feed our little ghosts and goblins and witches well
And so we always make treats for Halloween

This year it's cupcakes

My favorite cupcake recipe

Baked in these candy corn decorated cupcake papers
Frosted white, and decorated with real candy corn

Besides our local ghosts and goblins and witches
I'm told that grandgirl Lucy will be a black cat this year
Her package of cupcakes have been wrapped and mailed.
She may be too little to really eat them
But I wanted to start the tradition early
Halloween treats from Nana!

And a tradition that my mother started when I was small
That I continued as well
Chili on Halloween
Daughter Sarah also continues the tradition
Grandgirl Lucy will be the Fourth Generation to enjoy 
the traditional bowl of Halloween chili!

We eat in the breakfast room
For the ghosts and goblins and witches
often come before dark

Big bowls of chili and crackers
Lots of crackers

And for dessert
(besides the candy bar that I always save)

Something pumpkin
Like this tart!

For when I come in
With a bracing cup of hot tea!

Husband Jim, however, gets his first slice right after dinner
So that he can enjoy his second slice with me
when I come in after the trick or treaters are gone!

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tea In The Parlor

We love company for tea
In the spring and fall 
we take our tea tray to the garden.

In the summer, we often take tea in the breakfast room
overlooking the garden

And when it's cool outside,
the parlor is a perfect place for tea

Blue and white china, of course,
Spode Blue Italian
English cake forks
And for tea treat
Butter Almond Cake

It's the kind of cake I love
No mixer, one bowl
It's a relative of one my grandmother used to make
Buttery, almond flavored with loads of almonds on the top
The recipe calls for a 9 inch pan
I used two of my 7 inch pans that I got in England when we lived there
One for now --
One for later!

The tray on the coffee table
The teapot full of Harney's Hot Cinnamon Tea
added just as my guest was ringing the doorbell!

We munched, we sipped, she fed the begging dogs
And the cake that was left was sent home with her.


1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup melted butter.
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
Almonds and sugar for garnish

Blend sugar with melted butter. Beat in eggs. Add almond and vanilla extracts. Add salt and flour. Spread batter into a greased 9-inch round pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and slivered almonds. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tarte Tatin

I've long been an admirer of the dish called
tarte tatin
Alas, I've never tasted it
But it's story fascinated me
And so years and years ago I bought a copper
tarte tatin pan.
A girl needs to be prepared
And it sat in the cupboard
Oh, I got it out a couple of times and made potatoes Anna in it
But never a tarte tatin
for which the pan was named!

The story is charming
And how much is true and how much is fantasy
I'm not sure

But it involves the sisters Tatin,
Stephanie and Caroline
who owned a hotel south of Paris
Stephanie was the cook and one day
as she was preparing an apple tart
she left the apples, butter and sugar on the stove
And they caramelized, for she left them on far too long
Realizing that she did not have a bottom crust on her tart
She threw one on top,
put the whole in the oven and baked it!
When pulled from the oven she turned it upside down
And viola!
The tarte tat in was born!

Of course, the hotel guests immediately fell in love
with this new dish
And clamored for more!

And the hotel became famous for this,
their signature dish,
And people came from near and far
to order a slice!

But I did buy a pan

And some apples

And so at Linderhof,
I carefully put the pan on the stove,
the butter and sugar and apples in the pan
And it bubbled merrily away
for 20 minutes
Until the apples were nicely caramelized.

I "threw" the puff pastry on top
And put the whole in the oven

It came out nice and brown and puffy!

And once turned over . . . 

It's caramel apple goodness!

A slice for lunch . . .
(for I had company -- they, like the guests at the Hotel Tatin,
pronounced the dish "wonderful")

And because it was only four for lunch . . .

A slice later for tea!

I'm mad at myself that I've not made it before
It's really simple, it's really good
And we have such nice Missouri apples
here on my part of the prairie.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Italian on the Terrace

Is it a patio or a terrace?
And what exactly is the difference
Patio sounds more 50s California ranch house
While terrace is European, Italian, French

We have one at Linderhof
put there years ago
And it's big!
Big enough for a big party
But small enough, too,
that on a nice fall evening

We can dine on our terrace

When we eat outside,
there are still candles
And tablecloths
And napkins

We favor lace
both inside and out
And white napkins
There is just something so classy about white napkins
(and if someone uses one to mop up spilled wine
you can bleach the heck out of it!)

And we move from salad course
to entree
Just because we're outside doesn't mean that there isn't courses!

And the blue and white looks as good outside and it does in!

And a centerpiece, always
A Guy Wolff pot with a white geranium
It's the summer centerpiece on the table
sans cloth most of the time
And a lantern for candlelight

And the food?

A simple pasta supper of penne, Italian sausage, sauce and Parmesan
A slice of ciabatta with tomatoes and cheese on top.

Alas, no dessert!

But perhaps a stroll around the garden after dinner
The dogs are shameless beggars
especially outside
And Husband Jim
feeds their cause!
They hang around him,
not me!
For I'm not as generous as he is!

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish

Monday, October 21, 2013

Leftovers for Tea

Sometimes I have to take something
to a "do"
And sometimes I have some left to bring home
The "leftovers"
(in this case, a lone piece)
makes a great afternoon tea

On a tea tray
Spode, blue and white, of course
And my wee little English china creamer
perfect for milk
just for me

The teapot is my "work horse" teapot
A green Emile Henry
always used unless I'm going to make a "vat" of tea
And then I use my large brown betty.

Even when I use a pretty Spode teapot
It's only the "pouring" teapot
For I brewed it in my green kitchen one.
That way, the last cup is as good as the first!

The nosh?

Caramel Pear Cobbler Bars
Their fall goodness in a bar.   
Pears and caramel
Can it get any better than that in October?


1/2 c butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1/8 t. almond extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
10 oz. pear pie filling (I made my own with fresh local pears)
1/2 c. caramel (that I bought!)

Spray 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray.    Set aside.    Preheat oven to 350.    Beat butter and sugar in mixer.   Add eggs.   Beat.    Add extracts.    Beat.    Add in flour and salt.    Beat.    Scrape down sides and beat 30 seconds longer.     Spread 3/4 of batter into bottom of prepared pan.    Top with pear pie filling.    Drop remaining batter on top.   Do not spread.    Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick tests is clean.    Cool on wire rack.    Drizzle with caramel before serving.

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

For Every Season

There is a cookie!

For Christmas

For Easter

For Halloween!

They're Italian Sprinkle Cookies



Really a Christmas Cookie
But you could translate that into a
"Holiday" Cookie

And what better holiday
or Halloween?

They're a good little cookie
The perfect tea cookie!
and even good with coffee
(they are Italian after all!)

They go together easily
And really are good keepers
(if you can stay out of them!)


6 eggs
5 c. flour
2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. plus 1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. vegetable oil
1 T. almond extract
1 1/2 t. lemon extract


1/2 c. warm milk
1 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
3 1/4 c. powdered sugar
colored sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light and foamy, about 5 minutes.    Set aside.

In another bowl,  combine the flour, sugar and baking powder.    Stir in the oil and extracts.    Gradually add the eggs to the flour mixture.    The dough will be stiff.    Roll the dough into 1 inch balls (I use my smallest ice cream scoop to make sure the cookies were all the same size) and place on ungreased baking sheets.    Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Make the glaze:   In a large bowl, combine the milk and the almond and vanilla extracts.   Add the powdered sugar and whisk until a smooth glaze forms.

As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, immerse two or three at a time in the glaze.    Remove with a slotted spoon and place on wire rack to drip.    Quickly sprinkle the top with colored sprinkles.   

Let the cookies dry 24 hours.   Store in airtight container.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lunch To Go -- The Food

Last Saturday
I traveled to the little town 20 miles east
to The President's House 
at Cottey College
where I catered a luncheon

Whether it's at Linderhof
or somewhere else,
guests, I feel, need individual menus

And the food?

Autumnal Pumpkin Soup
served in tea cups

Preplating of the entree plates

 While the main course of vol au vent
simmers in the pan

 Vol au vent in puff pastry shells
corn madeleines
A salad of baby lettuces
and Farmer's Market tomatoes

And for dessert?
It's fall
apple? - No
Pumpkin? - No 
(it was in the soup)
Pear? - No

But an autumnal favorite of us at Linderhof

A plum tart

All lined up and ready to serve

It was an enjoyable day
The guests loved the food
(We got a big hand when we served dessert)
And only empty plates were returned to the kitchen.

It's the first, I hope, of many more memorable meals
The President's House
Cottey College

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lunch To Go

Saturday, I traveled to the little town 20 miles east of us
home of

A girl's college founded in 1884
by Virginia Alice  Cottey

In 1927, Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard
gave her school to the
P.E.O. Sisterhood

The sisterhood has been responsible for the college 
ever since

And part of the college is

The President's House

Where friend Shirley Ann and I catered a luncheon for 10

The table in the dining room
simple, yet elegant

white tablecloth and napkins

The Cottey china
simple yet elegant
(and how perfect for both fall and Christmas!)
Cottey cutlery
A white napkin in a silver ring
(of which I heartily approve)
Place card
To the left, a favor of two lavender cutout cookies
embossed with "Cottey" for the guests afternoon tea

There is nothing like a fresh flower arrangement
All in fall hues of oranges and yellow with a touch of green

It's a beautiful house
Over 100 years old
And well maintained

My favorite room

The Butler's Pantry
between dining room and kitchen
I adore the wall of cabinets
glass on top and solid on the bottom
No drawers, just doors
An antique walnut table
perfect for two
for casual meals

Sigh -- if only there was a room exactly like this at Linderhof!

And everyone had their own menu:

It was a fun afternoon
A busy afternoon
For there were 10 for lunch
As a P.E.O. sister, it was fun to serve luncheon in The President's Hosue

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Third Rite of Autumn -- The Bulbs

We've been planting bulbs every fall for the last 25 years
Linderhof abounds with them in the spring
Some years we plant more than other years

With my trug, a good pair of gloves and the trowel made by Jim's father 60 years ago,
I'm ready!

And next Spring

I'll be rewarded with big bouquets of these

Which brighten the inside of Linderhof
As well as the outside!

It's Wednesday and I'm sharing the Third Rite of Autumn with Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another Rite of Autumn -- Bringing the Plants In

As there are Rites of Spring and Summer
There are Rites of Autumn

For more years than I can count
"Columbus Day"
(or Columbus Day weekend)
is the day we bring in the houseplants
from their summer home
to their winter one.

Now, it means a good clean of the breakfast room
for most of them, the breakfast room is their winter home

And although we do decorate for seasons,
some of that seasonality
is simply changes
like bringing in the plants --
taking out the plants

Today was the day --

 From the dining room into the sunroom
A few plants
The rose geranium never got moved out this year
and it liked it's space
And so we left it --
it grew with wild abandon
If you lived closer I'd give you a start!

The plants -- big and small in front of the sunroom windows
Where they get plenty of light
A western sun
But in the winter a wan Western sun

And the east wall of the breakfast room

The table is in the middle of the room
under the chandelier
The fan is back in the basement
In it's place is the orange tree
Bought years and years ago
in Ohio when Daughter Sarah lived there
A wee plant
It likes Kansas!

You can see the orange tree
Full of little green oranges
The table is pushed up against the wall --
Sadly, it only seats three --
although we could  move it if we needed to
It would be a bit crowded with the plants . . . 

But I like it there --
We moved it there originally earlier this year
when we were gone and we needed room for all of the houseplants
And make it easier for our plant waterer
We liked it and left it that way until we moved the plants out in May

From the door to the garden

You can really see the sideboard
And all of the blue and white
With the table pushed against the wall
And the plants -- the line of greenery on the right
And the orange tree -- 
If it gets much bigger, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it!!!!

Looking out the back door.

More spacious!
Doogie thinks so too!  
He's pondering whether to go out or not!

And what does one do when one finishes
bringing the plants in?

Have tea, of course!

I made a cake
Squidgy Lemon Cake
One of my "Friends of Linderhof"
Marie has great recipes
And this isn't the first one I made.

We had a late breakfast
And so a sweet for tea was much welcomed
Especially after hoisting plants into the house
Big potted plants!

 And of course, it has to be blue and white!
All Spode Blue Italian
except for the pitcher
And it's antique blue and white
From the 1880's era
The table cloth is a damask cloth that someone crocheted edging on.
It's old and has been well loved.
I adore linens like that!

It was nice taking tea in our new "digs" this afternoon
Surrounded by plants who were stretching their branches to the sun


Makes one 8 inch cake 
Moist and buttery cake flavoured with lemon and orange with a lemon curd swirl throughout and a tangy lemon glaze.
175g golden caster sugar (scant 1 cup)
175g unsalted butter (3/4 cup)
3 medium free range eggs
2 TBS orange juice
175g self raising flour (1 1/3 cup)
the finely grated zest of two oranges
(wash them well first)
5 TBS good quality lemon curd
125g of sifted icing sugar (1 cup)
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 170*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.   Butter and line a deep 8 inch round cake tin with baking paper.   Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.   Whisk the eggs together and beat in a bit at a time.  Beat in the orange juice along with 1 TBS of the flour.  Sift the remaining flour a few times and then fold it in with a metal spoon.   Spread into the prepared pan.   Whisk the lemon curd together with the orange zest.  Dollop over top of the cake randomly.  Using a fine skewer, swirl the lemon curd mixture through the batter.

Bake in the heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until well risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool for five minutes in the tin before removing. 
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.  Whisk in the lemon zest and juice, stirring well to mix.  Spoon over the cold cake.  Allow to set and then cut into wedges to serve.

I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday and Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday and Yvonne at Stone Gable for What's On the Menu Monday