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.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

St. Patrick's Day

We've always celebrated St. Patrick's Day
Even though I thought I was German
(of course, we Germans celebrate ours with a whole month -- Oktoberfest while the Irish only have one day!)

However, when I had my DNA done -- I found out I was 30% Irish/English

So now it is my holiday as well!

St. Patrick's Day calls for four things:
  1. Beer
  2. Corned Beef and Cabbage
  3. Irish coffee
  4. Friends
Last night at Linderhof . . . 
those four things came together!

The table --
Lace cloth, English transfer ware, Irish linen napkins in silver rings

Daffodils are the perfect centerpiece -- it is, after all, almost Spring!

The menu -- a classic:


I decided to make this Irish Guinness Brown Bread instead of my classic
Top of the Tower Irish Soda Bread

And it may be a permanent substitute
It was good -- that good!

We don't serve courses.
Everything comes out of the kitchen on a big platter

Corned beef

Served with:

Horseradish Sauce
(From Stephenson's Restaurant in Kansas City -- the only horseradish sauce I make --
it is so good, I can almost eat it with a spoon.   Not only good for corned beef -- it goes well with brisket and roast beef)

Dessert was neither Irish nor Green

A lemon sponge cake
for one of our guests loves lemon!
It's Mother's recipe and she often made it for Easter Dinner
It is a "spring" cake!

After cake, you can't celebrate St. Patrick's Day without:

Irish coffee
(the little mugs given to me many years ago by a dear friend.   Used only once a year --
but it wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without coffee out of these sweet mugs!)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We at Linderhof wish you and yours
Happy St. Patrick's Day

Monday, March 12, 2018

Tea Wares

I love tea wares
I have loads of tea wares
One of my favorite, of course, is Spode Blue Italian

In England a tea set is this:

Six cups, Six saucers, Six tea plates, an open sugar and creamer and a square cake plate
You often find these sets here in the United States
I think they're often souvenirs  from a trip to England

 Sometimes you'll find a set with a pot -- rarely, but sometimes you do
(I think that tea is brewed in a favorite pot and so a "special", "matching" tea pot is not a necessity)

Another tea ware:

The Sandwich Plate
(rarely do you find these as part of the tea set -- but you can purchase them separately)
They're a long rectangular plate
(I use mine more for loaves of tea breads or pound cakes than sandwiches)
This was an airport purchase from the Harrod's Store at Heathrow --
just before we boarded the plane.

In looking on line I found this ad from the 1930s:

And there is my sandwich plate
Called "a set" with six square plates . . . 
Hmmm . . . 

So now we have all the accroutrements of tea --
cups, sauces, plates, pot, sugar, creamer and a plate for cakes and a plate for sandwiches!

Cakes on the top
Sandwiches on the bottom!
Both Spode Blue Italian

My cake plates (yes, plural, I have two) were an always wanted.
I didn't buy one when I bought the sandwich plate on the way to the gate as we left Heathrow
And I regretted it
Then I would search on eBay and find one . . . 
But I could never complete the transaction.

Then I would forget bout it . . . 
And months later look again

But, alas, I went Spode Blue Italian Cake Plateless!

Until last Friday!

My son-in-law's Aunt, Jo, found two . . and bought them
for me!
She knew how much I loved Spode Blue Italian 
I met her Friday in Springfield,
we had lunch in a tea room
And she gifted me with two cake plates!

How sweet of Jo!
But we are, after all, kindred spirits --
we both love crystal, china and silver
And we use them!

Today, I made a lemon drizzle cake
For tea
A cake rather than cookies because I had a cake plate
That I needed to use!

Tea for the two of us!
How I wish Jo could have joined me for the maiden voyage of one of the cake plates!

Traditional English Lemon Drizzle Cake on a Spode Blue Italian Cake Plate
(Doesn't get much more English than that!)

The cake is easy to make and is a favorite of ours:

Lemon Drizzle Cake

1 cup self rising flour
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 teaspoons lemon curd
grated zest of 1 lemon

For the drizzle:

Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T. sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a loaf tin and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put all the cake ingredients into a food processor. Blend together for 2 minutes. Scrape mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the cake is still warm, and before turning it out of the tin, mix the lemon juice and sugar together until the sugar dissolves somewhat and pour this mixture over top evenly. Let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from the tin to cool completely on a wire rack.

A big thank you to Jo, a kindred spirit, for the wonderful gift
of not one but TWO Spode Blue Italian Cake Plates!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


We were in the city yesterday
And one stop was by the nursery that has pansies!

Purple ones this year
And some with yellow faces

I love my pansies
From March (and sometimes February) until June,
they fill the armillary planter in the garden, the back door planters and the window box in the back garden

How can you not like a flower that smiles at you?

Here are the pansies at Linderhof through the years:


Pansies and violas in a mix of colors -- including some black ones!


In the window box in the back garden -- faceless violas


The moss wreath on the back gate
I've had it "forever" --
Sometimes I put it on the gate and other times on the table in the arbor
In 2011, lavender violas filled the wreath


A big pot full of mixed pansies


The planter by the back door filled with violas in purples and yellows


Violas with cute kitten faces in the planter by the back door!


The armillary planter in the middle of the back garden
with yellow pansies


Multicolored pansies in the repainted planter by the back door!


My favorite pansies -- purple with the yellow face!

I enjoyed by looking back at my pansies through the years.
I love my garden flowers and perhaps one reason I like the pansies so much
is that they're the first thing I plant every year.

But each Winter (in late February or early March)
they make my heart sing!
As I get to dig in the dirt once again after a winter indoors.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A Dinner Party

It's been a while since we've had company for dinner

But Saturday night we had two favorite friends for dinner

The table set in the dining room

Spode Blue Room, Grandmother's Cutlery, Fresh flowers in an etched ice bucket, etched glass candleholders

In lieu of a table cloth, a runner, placemats and napkins

All matching, all linen, vintage from the 50s and never used until last night!

We start all dinner parties in the parlor
With drinks and a nibble

We chose to start the evening with wine
And we like simple snacks -- we've learned that fussy appetizers are not a good idea
Cheese and crackers and smoked prosciutto

We started with a salad 
And then moved on to the main course . . . 

A smoked pork butt
(Husband Jim spent all day tending his pork)

Fresh asparagus roasted and then a drizzle of lemon juice over all, a lump of butter
and lemon zest to finish

Cheese Grits from the Louisville Junior League Cookbook
a recipe found by Daughter Sarah and served by both of us . . . often
Called Grits Gruyere -- we make it with any kind of cheese
This one is smoked Gouda -- a recommendation by same Daughter Sarah
It was outstanding and grits loathing guests often take seconds!

Often instead of serving plates, we put the main course on the table
in the breakfast room so guests can help themselves

Rolls, butter and wine are passed at table


An apricot cheesecake -- the crust was made from cornflakes
The cheese cake was good.   I was not enamored with the cornflake crust
and if I make it again, I will use a regular graham cracker crust.
(especially since I had to buy a whole box of cornflakes for 1 1/2 cups of crumbs!)

It was a fun party,
lots of good conversation
And I enjoy a dinner party of six
For everyone can participate in the conversation
When you get 8, you often have two conversations going
And with 10 or 12, you definitely do.

They left late but both dining room and kitchen were tidy before we went to bed.

It was fun to have company again!