Saturday, May 31, 2008


Springtime means flowers in the yard.

Springtime means pots of flowers on the deck.

Springtime means hostas and flowering ground cover.

Springtime means May and May means my birthday.

I love Springtime in May.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Treacle Tart

So what is Treacle Tart? It’s a very popular and traditional dessert in the UK. I only had it once when there, which, I guess, is surprising because it is so popular. Maybe because the times I’ve been there I usually make the desserts, like pies, cakes, cookies and bars. But I really liked this dessert. Very different.
An interesting fact is that Treacle Tart has become somewhat of a curiosity in other countries because of its frequent mention in the Harry Potter books. Actually, it is Harry’s favorite dessert.
Treacle Tart is made predominately of shortcrust pastry and golden syrup. It has a consistency similar to pecan pie, though it usually does not contain eggs in the filling. The Tart is normally served hot with a dollop clotted cream. (Yes, we first heard about clotted cream in the blog about scones.) It can also be served with ordinary cream, custard, or yoghurt. Treacle tart is good served cold, too.
Many think treacle is like molasses and it is often called that in the UK. Actually it is a by-product of sugar-making the same as molasses, but more similar in taste and texture to honey. However, it has a taste of its own. We brought back a bottle of Golden Syrup and I made my first Treacle Tart. The pastry base of the English recipe didn’t turn out very well for me, so next time I will use a shortcrust recipe I have which would have more shortening in it. The Golden Syrup is combined with fresh breadcrumbs, lemon juice and zest with a small amount of ginger to form the filling of the Tart. It bakes at a high temperature for about 45 minutes. In lieu of clotted cream, we used Cool Whip!
You may find Golden Syrup in the US in international food stores, and it can be purchased on the Internet so you can make the perfect Treacle Tart.

English Recipe for Treacle Tart
For the pastry:
225g/8oz plain flour
110g/4oz butter, chilled and diced
1 medium egg
For the filling:
450g/1lb golden syrup
85g/3oz fresh breadcrumbs
generous pinch ground ginger
1 lemon, zest, finely grated
and 2 tbsp of the juice
1. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Mix in the egg with a knife,then knead to a smooth dough..
3. Use the dough to line a 23 cm/9in loose bottomed tart tin, prick with a fork and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas
5. Bake the pastry blind for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown.
6. Mix together the filling ingredients and pour into the pastry case. Bake for about 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lilac Time

A special time of year when trees are dressed in pink, white and lavender with touches of purple and maroon. This little verse says it all!
My lilac trees are old and tall:
I cannot reach their bloom at all.
They send their perfume over trees
And roofs and streets, to find the bees.
–Louise Driscoll (1875–1957)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Treasury West

I had a new experience today. There are a lot of Treasuries on Etsy, and most of the time they are filled to capacity. On one of the Forum Threads I was on, mention was made that there were some openings on Treasury West. I went to the site and happened to click on it at the right time and just like that, I got a Treasury to fill. Going to the Forum that I was on at that time, I found twelve different items that had the color scheme I wanted and filled all the spaces. Now it's available to all to see!

It's not easy to explain just what it is, but you can get an idea if you go to the listing. I hope you will go to it, read the comments and maybe leave a comment. That would be very nice. It will be open until next Monday, May 19.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pink Spires Tree

Every spring this Pink Spires tree brings a short time of enjoyment with its beautiful pink blossoms. They don't seem to last very long, especially if they get rained on, but have given much pleasure anyway.

About 25 or so years ago I decided I wanted a flowering tree planted out by the deck so that I could see it from the dining table. Just a few feet from the deck was the spot decided upon. I purchased it from a Nursery and with help in digging the hole the mission was accomplished.

This is the way it looks today with my Mother's Day gift Hydrangea right in front.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two More Etsy Friends

These two friends have Etsy Shops as well as blogs.

Donna wrote that she was featuring me on her Tuesday, May 6th blog. So if you go to her blog address and scroll down to Tuesday, you will see what a nice she way she handled it.
This talented gal is from Mukwonago, Wisconsin.

Her Etsy Shop is found here:

Today Gina sent me the message that I was the artist featured on her blog today. She had asked for a favorite recipe and that was put on there, too.
Gina is from BC, Canada.

Speaking of someone busy, she has THREE different shops and is very talented.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kentucky Derby

What does the Kentucky Derby have to do with me? with my shop? with my town? with my state? Well, actually it does have something to do with my blog.

One day I got this messsage --

Hi, greetings from the bluegrass state. All your recipes look wonderful! I am a fellow etsyian. I have only been to Iowa once. I saw it from the window of a train, but it was so green and full of darling farms. They looked almost like toy farms, to me. (from sweetb)

In response I told her that I was proud of our state and liked her description of it. So I decided there is a connection between our two states. Maybe we can make connection with some others, too? I think I can and will make that another blog topic.

So I invited sweetb to submit a recipe for our Recipe Section. A few days ago I got this answer--

Here is my recipe from Ky, just in time to honor the Kentucky Derby. It is from a wonderful cook book, Out of Kentucky by Marion Flexner. The forward is by Duncan Hines 1949. He is an ole boy from Bowling Green who also has lots of cake mixes named after him! The recipe is a Louisville specialty still is served at the Famous Brown Hotel.

Hot Brown
4 slices of toast

1/4 C American cheese grated
4 slices of baked chicken or turkey
cut from the breast about
1/4 thick
8 strips bacon,fried crisp
4 T grated Parmesan Cheese
1 C cream sauce *

thin sliced garden tomato (optional)
Blend yellow cheese with cream sauce until cheese has melted. Place a piece of chicken on each piece of toast and cover with 1/4 cup of sauce. Place 2 strips of bacon (previously cooked) on each sandwhich,and sprinkle with 1 T of Parmesan. Place sandwhich under broiler until golden.

*Cream Sauce
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 cup milk (or cream)
Melt butter, mix in flour. Slowly add milk and cook until mixture thickens.

So you can watch the Kentucky Derby and think of Iowa. That is, if you think I made my case!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our Seed Cannas

Two years ago we started our project of growing cannas from seed. EG has always grown cannas, so our deck looked beautiful the summer before with some tall beauties we had purchased. In the fall, he collected seed from those that produced seed. Not all cannas will, but we ended up with quite a few seeds. The next spring I learned a lot about growing them. First of all, you need to scarify each seed (which means to make small cuts); then soak them for two days in warm water before planting. Soon you will see little leaves poking out of the soil. It was exciting to see what the bloom would look like, because in most cases it would not be like the parent plant. Pictures are of the small growing plants--the first one to open was Ours (red without label). The other red one is Stick Red (named because it was very tall); a beautiful pink, my favorite, Ours Romance. Two yellows are Best Yellow and Yellow Speckles.