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.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Cookbook Book Club -- Mary Berry Edition

The Cookbook Book Club met at Linderhof last night
The theme:
Mary Berry
a) I really like her on Great British Bake Off
b) I am an Anglophile

The dining room all set up and waiting for company:

I tried for an English look
Spode (of course)
instead of a tablecloth, my English cork bottom placemats
Whenever we've traveled to England and stayed in B and B's, they always had a "bare" table and these mats for plates.
Alas, I didn't bring mine home from England
because everyone else does and you can find them still in the boxes at flea markets and antique malls
for pennies on the dollar.
Mine are English in origin but all bought here

Dessert service set out the "English" way at the top of the plate.

Our food:


Parma ham, goats cheese and rocket canapés

Main Course:

The Hostess always provides the main course!
Quick Chicken Curry

Go Withs:


Spanish Tortilla


Carrot and Poppy Seed Salad


Roasted vegetables with herbs and feta



Little Cottage Rolls



Butternut Squash Soup

And the most important of all!!!!


Baked Berry Cheesecake

Absolutely delicious and one that, I think, will find it's way onto
our tables in the future!

We have cooked "English" before.
Jamie Oliver
But Mary Berry is more traditional, and definitely more well known in Britain than in the US

We learned a lot from cooking with Mary:

1 - there are no appetizers in Britain -- they're either canapés or starters
2 - many of the recipes were British measurements which meant grams rather than cups
3 - biscuits are really cookies
4 - Aubergine is really eggplant
5 - Courgette is really zucchini
6 - there were several ingredients that were not available here
(so we did some creative subbing)
7 - the food was all very good

We had a grand time and who knows, perhaps will visit the British Isles again in the future!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

An August Dinner Party

We've not had company for dinner in a long time
A very long time

It feel good having dinner guests share our table!

My two favorite parts of having company are:

The anticipatory look of the dining room just before the guests arrive --
where everything is ready -- just waiting to light the candles and the guests sit down!

And the table after everyone has gone.
Where it shows burned down candles and empty plates and the fact that everyone had a good time!

A family table -- my grandmother's china, Jim's grandmother's cutlery, wine glasses that the guest gave us one Christmas, damask napkins in silver rings all on top of a vintage Quaker Lace cloth!

We start with drinks on the porch or parlor
But you need a nibble -- always pick ups rather than dunks
(Husband Jim's rule)

Fresh from the oven stuffed mushrooms
An appetizer I adore and one that I don't make often enough

Dinner doesn't have to be gourmet with sauces and French food
Smoked meatloaf, loaded mashed potatoes
 and fresh green beans (cooked with bacon like Mother did)
Not fancy food but good food!

Dessert needs to be a star!
People will always remember dessert!

A lemon cheesecake

EVERYONE likes cheesecake
This one is lemon.    Full of lemon zest and some lemon juice
Creamy and delicious.
A new recipe
(I can't have a dinner party and not serve something new)
But it is a keeper and I will definitely make again.

Soon the bottles of wine were empty, the coffee gone, the dessert plates
"almost" licked clean
Our company said their goodbyes and Husband Jim and and I and the pups
sat on the porch commenting on what a nice evening it was.

An evening with friends and food is always a good evening!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Pembroke Resurfaces Again!

Back in the 70s, I feel in love with an Aynsley pattern

Alas, I had neither the funds nor the dining room for such fine dishes
And so I lusted after them from afar.

We did buy china eventually but it was Wedgwood not Aysnley
Runnymead Dark Blue
A small set bought on a trip to England
I was giddy to finally have china!

Time passes, kids grow up, and like fine things, too.
Daughter Sarah lusted after my Wedgwood
And when she got engaged, we gifted her with it

Thus I went from three
(Royal Dolton Tartan, Wedgwood Runnymeade and Grandmother's Noritake)
to two
(the Tartan and Grandmother's china)

Then friend Shirley Ann and I went to a small, out of the way, flea market
in El Dorado Springs
There on a shelf in the back was a set of Pembroke
(the china I had always wanted)
for $30!!!
It was January -- I had just done my January clean
and couldn't imagine bringing more "stuff" home!
So I left it.

Later that week, I realized how dumb I was.
It was a pattern I wanted and it was only $30
for the whole set!!!

I called up friend Shirley Ann and asked her if she wanted to go back to El Dorado the next day --
she would!

We arrive at the flea market, I flew back to the booth with the china and it was still there!

So it came home with me!
It was a mostly set for eight
It was the newer Pembroke -- made in 2000

It does set a pretty table
I added the tea pot, cream pitcher and sugar bowl

And a coffee pot
(Ebay is wonderful!)

Today at an Estate Sale, on a shelf . . . 

There were eight -- yes, count them -- eight!
Cream soups and saucers
For a very reasonable price
(but alas -- not $30! -- no, they were more than $30 but still a bargain)

And I also found a great tray at the Estate Sale
When I serve after dinner coffee (whether in china or silver), it's nice to bring the
coffee service to the table on a tray -- a manageable tray -- and the one
seems perfect!

The difference between a cream soup and a tea cup
The soup is much larger and I see things other than soups being served from the cup
Individual cobblers
 (filling cooked and warm and topped with a piece of pie pastry baked on a sheet pan)
chocolate mousse, individual floating islands

I was so excited when I found them that my hands were shaking.
You rarely see it in antique shops or flea markets

It looks right at home on the Aynsley shelf in the china cabinet!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Queen and The Princess Take Tea

I waited for this day for six years
Ever since 2013 when first Granddaughter Lucy was born
And it finally came to be
A real Tea Party at a Tea Room With Lucy

We decided before we went that we would be a Queen and a Princess -
Nana would be Queen while Lucy was a Princess!

Our tea room of choice
The Mad Hatter in Anoka, Minnesota

I made reservations in June -- I wanted to be sure that there was room at the tea
table for the Queen and the Princess!

We were seated at a lovely table for two

And Lucy had her very own menu!

Which had entertainment on the back

Our server came and poured first Lucy's tea

Princess Tea

Her first sip.
She pronounced it "outstanding"
with notes of strawberry, lemon and mint!

And "Pinkies Up, Nana"

When I inquired as to how she knew that she replied,

"I'm a tea expert!"

Happy Smiles at her first "grown up" tea!

Our first of many birthday teas!

Lucy had the Children's Tea -- 
three sandwiches, a cupcake and applesauce
cucumber, brie and apple and turkey

I had the full tea -- savories, scones, sweets

My curate
(although I will admit that they got the scone and sandwiches courses mixed up --
it should be sandwiches on the bottom, scones in the middle and sweets on top -- you eat your way up the curate!)

My sandwiches -- cucumber, lemon caper dill, chicken salad on an orange blossom muffin,  old fashioned peas and cheese in a phyllo cup and blueberry, basil, brie bruschetta

A lavender orange scone and a vanilla scone served with lemon curd, orange marmalade and cream
(Lucy ate my vanilla scone but I got even, I ate her cucumber sandwich!)

A chocolate orange cupcake, a lemon cupcake and a jam tart!
We both were full and brought our desserts home!

Lucy stopped to admire the toadstools!

We both agreed that we would do this next year for her birthday!
We've started a tradition and what a great tradition it is!

On the way home . . . 

In the backseat . . . 
Having tea with a Queen wears the Princess out!