A Casual Tablescape for Easter Brunch

Easter offers so many options for tablescapes and tablesettings.  Today, I am sharing a more casual, yet fun, tablescape.

My focus with this tablesetting is the “corralled” tablescape.  I have used a wire tray as the base into which I have clustered the elements of the table centerpiece. Corralling keeps the elements tidy and together instead of having them spread out over the table.

This is an ideal option if you plan to bring, during the meal, a platter of roast turkey or ham, for example, to be carved at the table. It is easy to lift off the basket or tray with the centerpiece on it and replace it with the meat platter.  The centerpiece can then easily be returned to the table for the dessert course so the table is never without a focal centerpiece during the meal.

I have simply used some faux grass in the bottom of the tray and added a substantial-sized bunny to give the centerpiece prominence and height.  Then, I filled in the rest of the basket with a small bright pink geranium, a tiny bird’s nest, some Easter eggs, and some egg shells filled with tiny flowers and faux grass. A piece of egg carton provides a nesting spot for the egg shells.

It is not necessary to have fine china to set an attractive table.  This table is set for Easter brunch so I have used everyday stoneware and, instead of formal napkins, have opted to use pastel-colored tea towels that match the color scheme of the centerpiece. Tucked underneath the charger plates, the tea towels take up no room on the table and do not compete with the tablescape or place settings.

I have dressed up each place setting with an egg cup filled with tiny flowers that connect each place setting to the centerpiece.

A few tiny Easter eggs and a small chocolate bar complete the place setting.

Happy Easter!


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Pan Rolls

Pan Rolls
Pan Rolls

There is something so homey and cozy about homemade bread and rolls!  And, of course, the scent throughout the house of them baking makes the taste buds jump in anticipation of a hot roll, or slice of bread, fresh from the oven and slathered in melting butter.

Today, I am sharing a recipe for traditional pan rolls, so named because they are all bunched together in a baking pan as opposed to shaped individually and baked in muffin tins.  These rolls are easy to make and take a minimum amount of ingredients, all of which are commonplace.  While pan rolls don’t have the picture-perfect appearance of a roll baked in a muffin tin, they more than make up for it with their superb taste and texture.

These are also a good choice for anyone who is not so fond of crust since most of the rolls in the pan will have soft sides; only those on the outside edges of the pan will have crusts.

Pan Rolls
Pan Rolls

I do have some general tips for making successful pan rolls.

1.  Water temperature for the yeast is very important.  I find 100°F is a good general temperature to use.  If the water is too cool, the yeast won’t rise and, if it is too hot, it will kill the yeast.  A food thermometer is a handy tool to use when gauging the temperature of liquid for bread and rolls.

2.  Let the yeast rise for about 7-10 minutes, until it is nice and foamy and be sure to stir it down before adding it to the batter.

3.  The dough for this recipe is a soft dough.  Resist the urge to add too much flour as it will make dry rolls.  Only add enough flour that the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

4. There is no need to hand-knead this dough. Fit a stand mixer with a dough hook and let the machine do all the kneading.

5. Placing the bowl with the bread dough on a heating pad set on the low setting will provide a warm base for the dough to rise.  Make sure the dough is covered with greased plastic wrap. This makes it much easier to remove than, say, a tea towel which may stick to the dough. Snuggle a lightweight wrap in around the bowl to create a draft-free incubator for the bread to rise.

6.  Greasing your hands will facilitate the shaping of each roll.

7. Baking times are approximate.  Rolls should be a nice golden brown color on top and have a hollow sound when lightly tapped with fingers. Rotating the pan once during the baking process helps to ensure that all rolls are equally browned.

Pan Rolls


¾ tbsp active dry yeast
¾ tsp sugar
½ cup warm water (100°F)

2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1¼ cup warm water (100°F)
½ tsp salt
Apx. 4½ cups all-purpose flour


In one-cup measuring cup, stir ¾ tsp sugar into ½ cup warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the water and quickly, but gently, stir in the yeast.

Let stand 7-10 minutes until yeast is foamy and has risen to top of cup.

Meanwhile, with whisk attachment, beat the eggs in bowl of stand mixer. Beat in the sugar, oil, warm water, and salt.

Stir down the yeast and add to liquid mixture in bowl. Stir just to mix.

Replace whisk attachment with dough hook. Add the flour gradually, a cup at a time, and beat 3-5 minutes on medium speed (I use the “6” setting on my KitchenAid mixer.), scraping the bowl often to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

When enough flour has been added, the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. This is a meant to be a soft dough so be careful about adding too much additional flour. If necessary, add about 1 – 2 tablespoons at a time and only enough that the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (Note the dough in the photos below is not yellow; the coloring is due to incandescent overhead lighting above the work station.)

Transfer dough to large greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap and a tea towel.

Loosely wrap a light-weight blanket around bowl. Place in warm, draft-free place to rise. A heating pad on low setting makes a warm base for the dough to rise.


Let dough rise until double in bulk – about 1 to 1¼ hours.

Punch down dough.

Turn dough on to lightly floured work surface. Cut off chunks of dough into 24 equal-sized pieces and form into the size and shape of an egg.

Place in greased 9”x13” pan.

Cover with greased plastic wrap and a tea towel and return to warm place to rise again until double in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.


Bake in preheated 375°F oven for about 15 minutes, rotating pan once during the baking, until rolls are golden brown on the top and hollow sounding when tapped with fingers.

Transfer rolls from pan to wire rack to cool. Brush hot rolls with butter.

Yield: 24 rolls

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Pan Rolls

Tea for One

Sometimes, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s nice to simply curl up by the fire with a good book and a fine cup of tea.  But why stop at a cup of tea when you can while away the afternoon with tasty fare served up in style.  So, when you have no one else to please but yourself, you can still pamper yourself and enjoy a fine afternoon tea.

Curious about what’s on the tea table today?  Let’s have a look-see what’s on the two-tier server.  Anyone who knows me really well knows I love my tiered servers!

Let’s start with the sandwiches.  Today’s offering is a simple egg salad sandwich, nice and easy to prepare, but ever so tasty!

Today I am serving a traditional scone with clotted cream, blackcurrant and blueberry jam, and my own lemon curd.

On the sweet plate, a selection of treats that include a macaron, melting moment cookie, Hello Dolly square, fruitcake, and some fresh raspberries.  Are you drooling yet?

The macaron is filled with just a wee bit of buttercream icing.

This personal-sized teapot was a thrift shop find several years ago. It holds just two cups of tea, perfect for one person.

Today’s tea is Stash’s Decaf English Breakfast, one of my all-time favorites.

While they are not a matched set, these tea plates work with the cup and saucer. Sometimes, mismatched china actually adds charm and character to a tea setting.

I love the blending of the pink shades!  It’s very girly!


Thanks for dropping in for a spot of tea.  Enjoy your week!


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Jelly Roll

Title Slide

I grew up with jelly rolls being regularly made in my home.  They’re a quick dessert, best eaten on the day they are made.  This is because a jelly roll is really a sponge-type cake and, when the jam or jelly is spread on it, it tends to seep into the cake and after several hours can become somewhat soggy.  Jelly rolls don’t take a lot of ingredients. So long as you have basic baking supplies and some jam or jelly, you can make a jelly roll.

Here are my tips for making jelly rolls:

1.  Use cake and pastry flour as it gives a finer texture than all-purpose flour.

2. Don’t let the cake cool for too long before spreading it with jam or jelly as it may crack as you try to roll the jelly roll up. About 15-20 minutes cooling time is about right.  If you put the jam or jelly on the cake when it is still too warm, though, it will cause it to seep into the cake too quickly, creating a soggy jelly roll.

3. Use a good quality jam or jelly.  If using jam, choose one that does not have big chunks of fruit in it; otherwise,  it will make it more difficult to slice and plate presentation will not be optimal.  I prefer colorful red jams and ones that are seedless – for example, seedless raspberry jam.

4.  The jelly roll may be dusted with either granulated sugar or icing sugar.  However, icing sugar stands up better than granulated sugar which tends to dissolve into the cake more quickly.


 Jelly Roll

1 cup + 3 tbsp cake and pastry flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond flavouring
2 tbsp cold water

¾ – 1 cup jam or jelly
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grease, or spray cooking oil on 10”x15” rimmed baking sheet, ensuring sides are well-greased. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking oil.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.

Beat eggs until frothy.

Slowly and steadily add the sugar and beat until light-colored and slightly thickened.

Beat in vanilla, almond flavouring, and water.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the egg-sugar mixture. Stir just until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 9-12 minutes or until cake tester inserted into cake comes out clean and cake springs back to a light touch. Do not overbake.

While cake is baking, lay a clean tea towel on counter and generously sprinkle with sifted icing sugar.

Remove cake from oven and run knife around all four edges to loosen cake from pan sides. Invert baked cake on sugar-dusted tea towel.

Peel off parchment paper, being careful not to tear cake.

Trim off outside edges of cake.

Rolling from the narrow end of the cake, roll up cake and tea towel together.

Transfer to wire rack and cool for about 15-20 minutes.

Carefully unroll the cake.

Spread cake with jam or jelly, leaving about ½” on sides of cake free of jam or jelly.

Using the tea towel as a guide, re-roll the filled cake.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar, cut, and serve.

Yield: Apx. 10-12 servings



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Jelly Roll - Yummy sponge cake with a red jelly/jam filling

Jelly Roll