Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I just adore cranberries and can't resist making an Orange Cranberry Tea Cake about this time each year.  This cake is a tea cake in the truest sense of the word because it has TEA in the cake!

I like to double this recipe and make 2 cakes.  You will need:
1 1/4 cups water, 1 cup orange juice, 4 tea bags/black tea, 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup sugar, 4 Tb soft butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup chopped cranberries, 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your cake pan.  In a small saucepan, bring the water and juice to a boil. Drop in the 5 teabags, remove from burner and let brew 5 minutes. Remove tea bags from liquid.

In another bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt.  In a large mixer bowl, mix sugar and butter until blended.  Beat in  the eggs and cooled tea mixture.  Add the flour and soda mixture until blended and stir in the chopped cranberries and walnuts.  (In high altitude add a little more orange juice if batter is too dry)

Turn batter into a large loaf pan or tube pan and bake 50-60 minutes testing with a toothpick.  Cool when done.  Turn out cake and brush with orange juice and sift with confectioners sugar.

This past week we have had cold weather and light snow on several days.  It has been so pretty and put me in the mood for Christmas music in the background.  Baking this cake is sure to put you in the Holiday mood! I doubled this recipe making one larger and one smaller cake which gave me one to take to my new neighbors.  I also got an opportunity to pull out many of my Christmas decorations.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Many of you remember how popular brandied fruit was during the 1970's. I always kept it on hand for that famous "Friendship Cake" we made and the fruit we shared.  Last night, I thought I would get some going at home again and you can too!  It is so lovely to look at and here is what you will need to get started:

To create your own starter you need a large clean glass container with a loosely fitted lid. Purchase the following canned fruits: 1 15 1/4 oz can pineapple chunks, drained, 1 16 oz can sliced peaches, drained, 1 17 oz can apricot halves, drained, 1 10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained, 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1 1/4 cups of brandy.

Combine all the ingredients in the glass container and stir gently.  Cover with the lid and leave at room temperature for 3 weeks. Mark your calender the day you created your batch as in two weeks you will add  ONLY ONE of the fruits and 1 cup of sugar.  Now you will wait another two weeks!  You will go down in the fruit list and over a 8 week period you will add one of each of the fruits alternating them.  When you have 6 cups you can divide the fruit and start a second glass container or give 3 cups away or make the Friendship Cake.

Friendship Cake

1 cup butter - melted, 1 3/4 cups sugar, 3 cups sifted all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 2 eggs, 2 cups of the drained brandied fruit mixture chopped, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup brandied fruit juice and optional powdered sugar to sift on top of finished cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees:  Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat well.  Combine next 6 ingredients; add to butter mixture, beating well.  Add eggs; beat well.

Coarsely chop brandied fruit; and stir into batter.  Add pecans and juice and mix well.  Pour batter into a well-greased and floured 10-12" bundt pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Cool in pan 10 minutes and remove. After it cools completely- sprinkle confectioners sugar on top using a sifter to separate sugar.
Due to time crunch - this is a repost!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


This is such a busy time of year as we begin preparations for the upcoming Holidays:  Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  Like many of you,  I have pulled my Thanksgiving Cookbooks and also my Christmas ones!  Tea provides a nice break to pursue them here in the kitchen! 

We are enjoying the cooler weather
 we have been having. The change of four seasons is always nice.

I usually make all my scones from scratch but for fun this morning,  I tried an Orange Cranberry Stonewall Kitchen Scone Mix from the Gourmet Pantry at my store.  I was pleased with the results!

Friday, November 15, 2013


Thanksgiving is so late this year that many people are just going ahead and getting their Christmas pretties out early.  After all, our Canadian friends celebrated their Thanksgiving October 14th but ours isn't until November 28th.

I decided to start put out some recent finds and get the Christmas decorating going sooner!  We have had a lovely fall and a little snow already but now we have been told that cold weather is coming our way. 

Last week I found a couple items for the Holidays at the flea markets up north.  One was a terrific picture that I just couldn't walk away from as it was calling my name.   It is a very old Victorian framed handcolored lithograph (like a faux tortoise shell) that reminded me of a Currier and Ives Christmas card. This is the kind of picture that just takes you back in time!  The frame was pretty scuffed up but we "doctored" it up.  This buffet is in our den.  I haven't learned the art of avoiding glass glares yet.

I also found the vintage vase figurine of a lady all in winter white with a "muff".  I thought she might be wearing ice skates but no - high top shoes.  Last year after Christmas I found the vintage plate with Christmas theme.  Don't you love it when you get out your decorations and find a treasure you got last year after the season at a bargain price?

I also found two English Christmas themed cups and saucers at the flea markets.  I have never made an effort to collect English Christmas themed ones before.  I made the mistake of unpacking them at my store and right away a lady talked me into selling her the vintage holly cup and saucer!  So......this one will be my first Christmas one to collect called  "The Christmas Rose".   This is the time of the year vendors put these out as they are more likely to sell.

Late note:
Tonight we opened up the frame slowly removing the cardboard backing and nails.  The print or chromolithograph?? is marked 1897 J. Hoover & Son.  Inside was a 2 page newspaper sheet from 1906.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



Yesterday I had an opportunity to go to some flea markets and was that ever fun!  I found the lovely Vintage English Sadler teapot below for just $12.95. This is my 4th Sadler teapot and I think that I must love that  brand.

I almost skipped the booth I found this in
 because it was rather crowded.

Monday, November 11, 2013


 Our Thanksgiving is very late this year - November 28th but maybe our Canadian friends who already celebrated will put up with "one more Coconut Pumpkin Tart!

Recently I was looking through some Victoria Magazines and saw a wonderful recipe in the September/October 2008 issue for a Coconut Pumpkin Tart.  Don't you just love the smell of pumpkin and spices in the kitchen this time of year?

Last night after work I baked this tart.  Actually, I made the dough the night before to save time so it would go together quickly!  

For the tart shell you will need:
2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup toasted coconut, 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp tsp salt divided, 5 Tb cold butter and 1/3 cup ice-cold water.

For the filling you will need: 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1 Tb cornstarch, 1 Tsp ground ginger, 1 Tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 Tsp ground cloves, 1 1/2 cups fresh or canned pumpkin puree, 3 eggs, beaten, 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk. (Actually I thought about adding 3/4 cup fresh coconut to this as a tweak but forgot to do that)

Here are their instructions:
1. In a food processor, pulse the flour, coconut, sugar,1/4 Tsp salt.  Cut the butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture; pulse until mixture is crumbly, about 20 seconds.  
2.  Gradually add the water in a slow, steady stream, until mix forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape - wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/8 thickness. Place in a 9" fluted tart pan, pressing up the sides.
4.  Line dough with parchment paper; fill with pie weights and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Remove pie weights and parchment and bake an additional 4 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

(I don't have a food processor - I burned mine up and haven't replaced it so I  just did the above in a bowl by hand. I used rice on top of the parchment paper to weight it down)

5. In a large bowl, combine the remaining salt, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree and eggs.  
Gradually stir in the evaporated milk and pour into prepared crust.
6. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat now to 350 degrees and bake 15-20 minutes or until the center of the tart does not move.

I definitely would have added the coconut to the filling if I had remembered. (was not in original recipe)

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I started out collecting teacups many years back and mostly just had some mix and match.  Over the years, I have picked up English sets here and there and so I decided to resell my older mix and match items.

 I do have a group of newer ones that are lovely but made in China which I save in my basement that are reserved for my personal teas as I would rather not use my precious collectible ones for that time.  I think it puts a "friend" in an embarrassing situation if one gets broken by them so I'd rather avoid that.

I stay within certain color themes when I collect cups and saucers but also have seasonal fall and Christmas ones which I keep in the basement during their off season.

I will be constantly refining my collection.