Monday, April 7, 2014

Culinary Adventures

Table set for our French dinner party

I hope you had a good weekend. This weekend found us hosting a French dinner party that we and our friends donated to a fundraiser last fall. A lovely couple bought it, we finally established a date that worked for everyone, and my friend and I spent most of last week planning and cooking. I had intended to write about it yesterday but somehow felt a bit under the weather. Hmm... I wonder if it was the six course French meal we consumed on Saturday night or the superb wine pairings our friend brought to serve with each course. I tried to compose my blog post but instead spent most of the day resting or wandering from thing to thing. I plan to write about it later in the week. Here is where I spent a good part of yesterday...

Reading this book

"Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty that seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress" is the opening line of Middlemarch. I have been getting to know Dorothea Brooke, Mr. Casaubon, Lydgate, Rosamund Vincy, Mary Garth, and young Ladislaw and feel connected to all of them. They are some of the characters who reside in Middlemarch, the provincial English village at the heart of George Eliot's masterpiece. I am half way through the book and loving it. And what a treat to be reading this lovely Penguin edition. Have you seen this Hardcover Classic series by Penguin? Go here to learn more.

Perusing this blog

Photo via here

Yes, the lovely Sophie Dahl of cookbook fame now has a blog. It is called At The Table and it is just as enchanting and beautiful as she is. Take a look. It is a little like wandering through the landscape of the English novel "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. Go here to see Sophie's recipes for homey desserts such as banana bread and peanut butter fudge, a video on the ancient art of book binding, and a list of "British Boltholes" -- don't you love that expression -- where you can enjoy the out-of-doors in comfort  -- lovely farms, cabins, and even luxurious tree houses to check into and spend the weekend. Wait until you see these tree houses! Look under the "Adventure" category on her blog.

Catching up with this newspaper article

Photo via here

A great travel piece about Oxford, England. The setting for the novel Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and the Inspector Morse mysteries by Colin Dexter, this beautiful town has so much more to it than just the university. Go here to read more.

Contemplating this beauty

Our garden is producing some amazing irises right now

Checking on the new roses

The Joseph's Coat Rose is starting to take hold

Dreaming of a fall trip

Lake Buttermere in Cumbria, England

My husband is reading the biography of Woodrow Wilson, Wilson, by A. Scott Berg and wandered into the kitchen yesterday to read me a quote. Wilson wrote, "There remained no spot in the world in which I am so completely at rest and peace as in the lake country." I began looking up information on the Lake District of England. Did you know that after the film "Miss Potter" came out a few years ago, tourism in this part of England skyrocketed? I would love to visit.

Admiring my blue and white Burleigh tea set bought at Fortnum and Mason last year

And wondering when I will have occasion to use it

Finding the prettiest scones to serve when I do

Rose and saffron scones -- go here for the recipe.

Buying ranunculuses at the market

They practically arranged themselves!

And finding this in the mail

Can't wait to read it...doesn't she look gorgeous!

By the way, it really was a great party and the people who bought it brought some lovely friends. We spent last week cooking up a storm. I can't wait to share all the recipes. To be continued...

In the meantime, here is Sophie Dahl's recipe for banana bread:



  1. Such a beautiful post, Sunday! And, having spent a week there last summer, I can attest that the Lake District is indeed spectacular. I can't wait to go back one day.

    1. Clare, I am so happy to hear that. I have never been to the Lake District and the more I read about it the more I would like to visit.

  2. Sunday, Your day sound amazing! I picked up two Joseph's Coat roses this weekend at the nursery. The fellow helping me ask how I knew about them. I told him I had either read about them in a magazine or a blog. I couldn't I know it was here. "I Capture the Castle" is a favorite. And, I fell in love with the beautiful lake district when doing some research on Beatrix Potter. I look forward to your post on your dinner party. Have a wonderful week. Bonnie

    1. Bonnie, I can't wait to hear how you like the roses. Mine are starting to thrive and the colors of the blooms are beautiful. After mentioning "I Capture the Castle" on my blog I took it off the bookshelf and decided it is my next book, to reread!

  3. I can vouch for Sophie's banana bread - must make it again soon.
    If you're going to the Lake District, you might be interested in this.

    1. Mary, thanks for letting me know about the banana bread. Can't wait to make it!

  4. I need to buy one of Sophie's cookbooks. This recipe looks so good! Your French themed dinner party sounded like it was a success! The preparation for these events can be exhausting.. but worth every second. This is my first time stopping by and I am now following via google and email. Wonderful blog!


  5. A most delicious post, Sunday, teasing every sense. Your Burleigh collection is wonderful, but, here I sit, coveting the brown transferware teapot. I have six cups and saucers that would love to warm up with it. As always, your post inspires.

  6. I would love to visit the lakes district as well, I hear it's spectacular. Such a nice Sunday, and thanks for sharing it with all of us. Heather's linens look so beautiful with your MIL's china - love the contrast of the rustic linen with the porcelain. Beautiful.

  7. I soooo enjoyed this post. After a rather stressful week, I found it to be a delightful mini vacation! I highly recommend a trip to the Lake District. My mother's family was from there and it's been far too long since I've been. "Our lake" is Ullswater.

  8. So many good things... Beautiful. I just started "The Goldfinch" and can't put it down. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Another beautiful post, Sunday! You always inspire me.

  10. Middlemarch is a fabulous book. I always feel a teensy bit sorry for Causabon, though!