All posts by Barbara99

Sausage, Black Beans, and Pasta Casserole


Hearty Casserole
Sausage, Black Beans, and Pasta Casserole

The primary inspiration for this Sausage, Black Beans, and Pasta Casserole came from an abundance of tomato sauce in my freezer. I had surplus tomatoes in the garden last year and, since I detest food waste of any kind, I made and froze a lot of tomato sauce (recipe here) that needed to be transformed into meals. Continue reading Sausage, Black Beans, and Pasta Casserole

Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea

Christmas Afternoon Tea
Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea

Welcome to my Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea! If you are a regular follower of my food blog, you know I adore afternoon tea events. The Christmas season provides an excellent opportunity for a special holiday afternoon tea complete with seasonal china pieces and, naturally, all kinds of Christmas goodies.

This afternoon tea was inspired by my Royal Albert “December” teacups in the “Christmas Rose” pattern. These cups are from Royal Albert’s “Flower of the Month” series and the December pattern is aptly named “Christmas Rose”. Because the cups feature roses and holly, I have named this afternoon tea the Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea. Continue reading Holly and Roses Holiday Afternoon Tea

Winter White Holiday Tablesetting

Christmas Tablesetting
Winter White Holiday Tablesetting

For my holiday dinner table this year, I set myself a two-fold challenge:

1) Design a tablescape using only materials I already owned (√) and
2) Use a color scheme I had not previously used for a Christmas tablescape (√)

I call this silver and white tablescape the Winter White Holiday Tablesetting. Continue reading Winter White Holiday Tablesetting

Steamed Mincemeat and Apple Pudding

Christmas Pudding
Steamed Mincemeat and Apple Pudding

Mincemeat is a traditional Christmas food in many parts of the world, including mine. As mincemeat is a common staple ingredient in my pantry, I use mincemeat in a whole host of recipes including muffins, cookies, tarts, pies, squares, and quick breads. Today, however, I have used my own homemade Green Tomato Mincemeat to create a divine Steamed Mincemeat and Apple Pudding. Continue reading Steamed Mincemeat and Apple Pudding

Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

Christmas Drop Cookies
Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

These Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies are what I like to describe as a deconstructed light fruitcake turned into mighty tasty little cookies. The cookies, themselves, are not difficult or complicated to make though there are a couple of time delays required for them. One is the period required to soak the fruit in brandy and the second is the cookie dough resting period in the refrigerator. Continue reading Christmas Fruitcake Drop Cookies

Rustic Homestyle Beef Stew

Beef Stew with homemade bread
Rustic Homestyle Beef Stew

A hearty Beef Stew is a soul-satisfying and tummy-filling meal. It’s pure stick-to-the-ribs comfort food, especially on cool autumn or cold winter days. Made with basic ingredients, what makes this hearty Rustic Homestyle Beef Stew so wonderfully tasty (in addition to the Beef Seasoning Mix) is the long, slow, moist heat method of cooking a tougher cut of meat in a small amount of flavorful liquid to tenderize the meat. I believe this is what makes the difference between a bland, lacklustre beef stew and a super flavorful one. Continue reading Rustic Homestyle Beef Stew

Green Tomato Mincemeat Recipe

Bottles of Homemade Mincemeat
Green Tomato Mincemeat

One of the most versatile foods in the garden has to be tomatoes – enjoy the ripe ones fresh or make into into sauce. Use the green tomatoes to make Green Tomato Marmalade, chow, and the list of possibilities for their use is practically endless. Today, I am sharing my recipe for another use of green tomatoes – Green Tomato Mincemeat, the uses for which are extensive. Continue reading Green Tomato Mincemeat Recipe

Rice and Spinach Salad Recipe

Mixed salad made with rice and spinach
Rice and Spinach Salad

I call this my “old faithful salad”. It’s so tasty, it’s almost addictive! This Rice and Spinach Salad is a hearty salad filled with cold cooked  long grain rice, bright green healthy fresh spinach, veggies, dried fruits and nuts, and tangy crumbled Feta. A light vinaigrette dressing is all that is needed to complete this tasty salad. Continue reading Rice and Spinach Salad Recipe

Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Side dish casserole made with green string beans
Green Bean Casserole

We always grow lots of string beans in the garden. We always think we haven’t planted enough beans so you know the drill (pun intended) … we add “just a few more” to the drill for good measure. Well, those vines sure can produce!

Green Beans
Green String Beans

After a few “feeds” of boiled green beans served as a side veggie topped with butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, I find it’s time to do something else with them. A great way to serve the green beans is in a Green Bean Casserole which is my featured recipe today. Continue reading Green Bean Casserole Recipe

The Garden Gate Afternoon Tea

Silver server filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets
Teatime Server filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets

One of my favorite meals to prepare (and enjoy) is afternoon tea. There are so many options for the menu and tea table setting.
Today, I am sharing photos from an early summer afternoon tea where I featured Aynsley’s Garden Gate teaware on my tea table.

Lily of the Valley Bouquet
Delicate Lily of the Valley on the Tea Table

My sweet little Lily of the Valley made an appearance as the main bouquet on the tea table as well as miniature versions in tiny vases at each place setting.

Tiny Lily of the Valley Bouquet for Placesetting
Dainty Lily of the Valley in Miniature Vases Mark Each Place Setting

I don’t have recipes published for all of the foods presented on this tea table but, for those that are published, I will provide hotlinks to the recipes.

Table set for teatime
Table Set for Teatime

But, first, I am introducing a vintage tea set (circa 1930s) – the Garden Gate pattern from Aynsley. There weren’t many pieces available at time of purchase but, as soon as I saw my beloved lupins on the teaset, I knew I had to have whatever pieces were available! Lupins grow wild in various colors along Prince Edward Island roadsides in June and their colorful presence is highly anticipated each year.

Colorful Lupins in PEI

The blue and gold-edged tea plates feature a border of sprays of colorful flowers (including purple and pink lupins) and garden gates.

Aynsley "Garden Gate" Plate
Aynsley “Garden Gate” pattern Tea Plate

The matching cream and sugar are quite large but display the pattern very well.

Sugar bowl in Aynsley's "Garden Gate" pattern
Open Sugar Bowl in Aynsley’s “Garden Gate” pattern
Vintage Creamer from Aynsley
Aynsley creamer in Garden Gate Pattern

There were no cups and saucers available with these pieces though I know they do exist. I’ll keep an eye out for them in my travels so they can be added to my teaset. Part of the charm of being a teacup and teaware collector is the thrill of a find where and when you least expect it and that will complete a cherished set.

When I am setting a tea table, I don’t worry about having all the teaware match unless it is for a formal event. I find mixed pieces, so long as they somewhat match, lend a more curated and interesting look to the table. So, in this tea setting, I mixed and matched some suitable teacups in with the plates.

Most of my teacup collection is floral in some way. I am not particularly drawn to teacups with scenes on them; however, I came across a pair of these Royal Vale cups and saucers (pattern no. 7382) that feature a thatched English cottage set amidst a garden. Apart from the lovely reminder they gave me of past visits to the Cotswolds, I immediately knew they would complement the Garden Gate tea set and I believe they do.

Cup and Saucer with English Country Cottage pattern
Royal Vale Cup and Saucer Featuring English cottage and garden

For the teapot to hold our King Cole Orange Pekoe tea we enjoyed with the afternoon tea, I chose the Royal Denby (pattern no. 301202) teapot with a larkspur spray. The floral motif, along with the pastel colored teapot with an ivory background and yellow and green trim, blended in well with the floral theme of the tea.

White and yellow teapot with larkspur motif
Royal Denby Teapot with Larkspur Pattern

I used a three-tier server for the food but it is not a traditional three-tier server of plates. Rather, it is fold-up server which makes it compact for storage when not in use. This stand is lower in height than a traditional three-plate stand so makes it easy for teatime companions to see each other across the table. I think it presents the three courses of tea fare quite attractively.

Silver Tea Server Filled with Teatime Treats
Teatime Fare

So, now the menu for our three-course traditional afternoon tea. A traditional afternoon tea will have three courses – a sandwich (or savory) course, scones course, and a sweets course and the items are eaten in that order. Starting, of course, with the sandwich course, I chose two kinds of sandwiches – cucumber with an avocado spread and alfalfa sprouts presented on both white and whole wheat breads and dainty pinwheel sandwiches filled with my ham salad filling (recipe here).

Teatime sandwiches, of course, are always crustless and of a two-to-three bite size.

Teatime Sandwiches
Dainty Teatime Sandwiches

Two kinds of scones – plain and currant and orange (recipe here) – were served for the scones course.

Scones for Teatime
Scones for Teatime

The scones were served with rhubarb curd (recipe here), strawberry jam, and naturally, clotted cream.

The sweets course included parfaits made with coconut Greek yogurt and rhubarb curd, Custard Sandwich Cookies (recipe here) sandwiched together with buttercream icing, and sweet little madeleines that are a traditional teatime cake.

Sweets Course - Teatime
Teatime Sweets

Colorful artisan chocolates from Jane & Sue Chocolate in Stanley Bridge, PEI, were a tasty finale to our afternoon tea.

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Afternoon Tea Setting
Garden Gate Afternoon Tea

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Seafood Bubbly Bake

Seafood Casserole
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Seafood Bubbly Bake

When you live on an Island where fishing is one of the main industries, it means you have access to wonderful fresh seafood. Yes, we are spoiled! Here in Prince Edward Island, where I reside, I make good use of seafood in my diet and in my recipe creations as I have done here with my Seafood Bubbly Bake. Continue reading My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Seafood Bubbly Bake