Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Time for Tea

I am not one who has a ritual as the English do to take tea every afternoon at 3:00 or 3:30 but on a particularly busy day it seems to be a wonderful way to relax and just let lifes worries go by the wayside. I enjoy it most with some of my favorite reading material.

My most favorite magazines, English Home, Veranda, Home and Antique and of course, Victoria. I get so much inspiration from each of these publications.

For health reasons I can no longer drink anything with caffeine and even the non caffeine teas do in fact have some caffeine. I have moved on to just herbal teas and this one is a mint infusion, absolutely delicious. Those sweet little napkins, I was gifted by a dear friend who also inspired by new obsession with blue and white.

I always had a few drops of a little lemon and a slice in my cup but also use demera sugar to add a bit of sweetness. The demera sugar has a slight hint of nuttiness as well. My cup and saucer, made by an American potter, handmade by Frances Palmer. It is not a fine bone china but it feels so good when holding it in your hand and I love the fact that she is an artist from our own country. I do have many other of her pieces.

Sitting in a most comfortable place and enjoying catching up on some reading was such a good thing. In this room just outside my bay window I have a bird feeder too so at the same time I can enjoy the antics of my feathered friends while taking tea. As you can see by my stack in my basket I have a lot of reading to catch up on.

I enjoyed taking this time out of my day to enjoy the loviliness of tea and it may very well become a new ritual. Inspired, of course, by my dear friend who gifted me with those lovely blue and white napkins. It is her ritual to have her tea every afternoon around 3ish. It truly is a "Good Thing".
I hope each of you enjoy your week ahead.
I am linking this post to Sandi's Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage.

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Orleans Bread Pudding

A few weeks ago I found this recipe while visiting another blog. Unfortunately I could not remember which blog it was to give credit for this wonderful recipe. If you are reading this please let me know if you recognize the recipe.

I have never made a bread pudding before, not sure why except that my husband, Mr Picky Eater has always told me he did not like bread puddings. After giving this more thought I realized I shouldn't not make the recipes that I am really interested in just because he won't even try them. My new found thoughts are, Go hungry. We'll see how long that lasts. However, much to my surprise he did in fact try this and LOVED it. Whats not to like, the sauce is realllllllllly boozy.

New Orleans Bread Pudding

Bourbon Sauce:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Bread Pudding:

1 loaf French bread, at least a day old, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
1 quart milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
 2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Bourbon Sauce

In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (Do not allow to simmer, or it may curdle). Remove from heat and whisk in bourbon to taste. Whisk again before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy and smooth.

Bread Pudding

Preheat oven to 350* F.

Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Press with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a sepaarte bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

Pour butter into the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mixture and bake at 350* for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual remekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made.

Yield: Makes 8-10 servings

This was so easy to put together and it was delicious.

Ready to pop into the oven. I chose to not add the raisins but had planned to instead use dried cherries which I like so much more. I must have gotten distracted because I failed to even add in the cherries. It didn't matter, it was still delicious.

I found that I did have to cook it for a longer time but that probably varies from one oven to the other. I did want a golden brown top.


The Bourban Sauce was a little stout and the bourbon should be added a little at a time and tasted to get your own particular preference. I used the 1 cup called for in the recipe since I like a really boozy sauce. It is a thin enough sauce that it poured easily from a pretty pitcher.

This was such a delicious dessert and I found myself wondering why I had never made a Bread Pudding before. Mr Picky Eater also loved it and I was able to remind him that he should try something before passing judgement. I do love it when that opportunity presents itself.

Yum, just looking at the photos made me want to make another.

If you try this dessert you will enjoy it and it did live up to it's name, New Orleans Bread Pudding.

Another of my camellia's that is now blooming and I wanted to share it. I planted this tree only last year and the name of it, Frank Howser. It puts on a large bloom that is a raspberry red/hot pink in color and the edge of the bloom is slightly ruffled. It is an amazingly gorgeous bloom. I never tire of bringing in to my home these blooms to brighten a room.

Try this recipe I have shared, you will be glad you did. Thank you for visiting my blog and I do enjoy each and every comment left.

I am linking this post to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Queen of the Southern Garden

This time of year in North Florida we are still enjoying a few blooming plants. I think of all the plants I have in my garden I enjoy the most The Queen of the Southern Garden, the Camellia. Here in our area we have Camellia's that bloom from early December to March. I have many in my garden, some that bloom early, mid-season to late bloomers.

During the holidays I had some red Camellia's blooming and was able to mix some Christmas greenery with a few blooms for a few wee arrangements scattered around my house.

Of course, I had to change the blooms every couple of days since they are not a long lasting bloom but I feel that the wee arrangements added so much to my Christmas decorations. 
Now into January I have even a wider selection from which to choose. I wish I could remember the names of all of them but some of them have been planted for 30 years. I planted many when we first built our home and that was 31 years ago.
With Camellia's you often cannot get a long enough stem for a larger flower arrangement and the stems are not very sturdy so I enjoy floating them in glass containers as I have done here. Just a few blooms floating for a small side table.
My favorite Camellia is one which was my mother's favorite, Pink Perfection. Of course, that was one of the first to be planted in my garden. I have two little silver vases sitting in my kitchen window and when they are in bloom I always cut them to go in these little vases. Since I spend most of my day in the kitchen I can always look at them and remember my mother with fondness. She too had a fondness for gardening as I do.

If you live in an area that can grow Camellia's I would highly recommend that you plant some if you don't have them already. They require very little care and bloom when nothing else will during the winter months. When the temperatures do go below freezing as it will in our area the low temperatures will sometimes burn the edges of the bloom but will not kill the plant. They do tolerate some very low temperatures. The one below has been in my garden for about 15 years so you can see that they can grow quite tall but always share their lovely blooms on lower limbs.

I hope you have enjoyed me sharing one of my favorite plants, The Queen of the Southern Garden, the Camellia.Thank you for visiting my blog and please do come again.