Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Penelope's Kitchen in The Shell Seekers


Oh, the joy of reading The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher for the first time back in the late 1980s! Not only was it a page-turner, it was beautifully written and I've enjoyed rereading it every few years since then.

When I think of Penelope Keeling, I think of her either in her garden or her kitchen. And as that heel of a future husband of hers--Ambrose--thought when taken to the family's London home...

"But this kitchen."

He put down his grip and gazed about him. Saw the long, scrubbed table, the motley variety of chairs, the pine dresser laden with painted pottery plates and jugs and bowls. Copper saucepans, beautifully arranged by size, hung from a beam over the stove, along with bunches of herbs and dried garden flowers. There were a basket chair, a shinning white refrigerator, and a deep white china sink beneath the window, so that any person impelled to do the washing-up could amuse himself at the same time by watching people's feet go by on the pavement. The floor was flagged and scattered with rush-mats, and the smell was of garlic and herbs, like a French country ├ępicerie.

While this kitchen was the creation of Penelope's French mother, I doubt that Penelope changed much of its character when she and Ambrose married and raised their children there. 

I would be happy to sit down to a meal cooked by either woman, although I would have gotten a little burnt out by the cauliflower-cheese that was served too often during wartime rationing. 

And Ambrose, you were so right--but this kitchen! 


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Our Valentine's Day Breakfast (a little late)


I'm a week behind but here is RH cooking bacon for our Valentine's Day breakfast. 

He's wearing a special hat for the Daytona 500 race planned for later in the day.

James Mason is keeping him company in the kitchen.

He knows the kitchen is a good place to be.

BreeBree darts in and out of the room, skittish around kitchen noises, loud noises of any kind.

I mix up the buttermilk pancakes and cook the first one for our bird friends outside while RH fries an egg for himself and one for BB and JM.

Next come three pancakes for ourselves.

With lots of batter left to freeze for another Sunday.

RH gave me a large vase of purple tulip bulbs from Costco that have been beautiful growing this past week.

And I baked him cookies. 

These might not be "pretty" cookies but they were a big hit at Christmas with all three of our sons and I had extra of the special ingredients--Andes Peppermint Crunch Pieces and Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips. I had to order them from Amazon as we couldn't find them in local stores and they come two to a pack. Those combined with chocolate chips make this a delicious cookie. 

Here's a link to the recipe. I'm pretty sure another blogger recommended these but I can't remember who. My cookies are darker than shown in the link, maybe because I always use dark brown sugar. I also used grapeseed oil for the vegetable oil called for in the recipe.

Our snow is starting to melt here. It's been beautiful and I've enjoyed it so much, but I've watched the news from Texas and other parts of the country where the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures have brought heartache and so much trouble. I hope those affected by it get help promptly.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Sweet Double Snowdrops


I forgot to post this picture before the Candlemas Day post because snowdrops are supposed to bloom before it.

I picked these three the morning we had a dusting of snow and they looked so cold that I had to bring them into the warmth of my kitchen. They sit up on a shelf so that I can look up into their sweet faces.

These are Galantus Nivalis, Flore Pleno, a double snowdrop.

"I've six snowdrops out," said Mary triumphantly. Mrs. Baker had told her that country snowdrops must be in flower by Candlemas and watching the tight upright spears in her garden day by day she had been afraid The Laurels' snowdrops might fail in their duty. But they had not let her down.

           Elizabeth Goudge in The Scent of Water



Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Happy Candlemas Day


I've saved this glorious picture for years now, meaning to use it on Candlemas Day. RH took it at a restaurant in Nashville one special winter day. The restaurant was Fifth and Taylor and we had Sunday brunch with our son Zack and the young woman who is now our daughter-in-law, another reason this picture is special to me.

Even though I love Groundhog Day and we always watch the movie of the same name then, I like to remember February 2nd as more than that. The day that so many churches across the world remember the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, some bringing their candles to be blessed on that day. 

Some observers leave their Christmas decorations up through this day, especially their Nativity scene. I wrote about this two years at Dewena's Window and felt comfort in keeping our Christmas decorations up that long.

Not this year, when I began storing them away after New Year's Day. I was late getting out on our front porch to undecorate but after that thought that everything was completely stored away.

Until I sat down at my desk the other day and saw this picture of the Holy Family that I gratefully pounced on in Goodwill years ago. Someone had not only beautifully cross stitched it but had it framed and triple matted at a local shop. 


Maybe the reason I hadn't noticed it was that my desk was piled high with papers. When I cleared my desk I decided to leave the picture up through Candlemas Day, and maybe even beyond. 



I wish I had planned ahead to have the traditional potato pancakes for supper tonight but my menu is already set. 

But I will burn candles today, although that is something I do almost every day. Here is one for my desk, a gift from my daughter.

It's The Writer Candle by Fly Paper and has scents of  "Amber, Earthy Aroma With Balsalm, And Fresh Spices". 

I now feel inspired!