Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fun Finds on Amazon and Ebay

My husband just returned from Istanbul and was telling me about  trying Turkish coffee.  I was curious about this method of brewing and serving coffee, so I started searching the internet .  And to my surprise, I found these amazing Turkish coffee cups on Amazon.  Even if I never make a cup of Turkish coffee, I knew I could find some delightful uses for these amazing little jewels.  Costing only $20 each, I was thrilled to find a ceramic insert in the cup.  So custards, pot de cremes, sorbets - your serving dish awaits!    The perfect little  sized  vessel to end a meal.

They shipped directly from Istanbul, Turkey and arrived within just a couple of days.

Each one comes with  a rhinestone embellished saucer.

Another adorable find from Ebay- a reproduction egg  cup in silver plate!

His head comes off, so you can fill the egg with whatever you desire-  egg, sorbet, mousse!

An exact copy of an egg cup made by Sampson Mordan at the turn of the last  century.
Sampson Mordan died in 1843.

The cost to purchase it and have it shipped from the UK was about $35.00. 
It is truly adorable!

For spring, I placed the egg cup under a glass cloche with the new velvet strawberries from Hot Skwash!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Brunch

Serving Easter Brunch at Noon was perfect timing.  Fill up on good food, take a walk to the beach, and then come home for a good old nap! 

I love planning the flowers for an Easter table. 

This year, I ordered Aiden Gray's wire mesh eggs in 3 graduated sizes filled with spring flowers
from my favorite florist,  Twigs.

And as a extra delightful surprise, one of my dear friends sent me the gorgeous lavender and chartreuse flower arrangement.

I spotted these beautiful  heads of butter lettuce at our local grocery store and I knew they would be a pretty addition to the tablescape.

Just look at this sweet wire egg filled with some of my favorite flowers. The hand dyed silk ribbon adds a romantic element  to the Easter arrangement.

Time to pull out the old German rabbit candy containers.

Another sweet treat from Twigs-  the new velvet strawberries from Hot Skwash!  Could not resist a couple of them   for the table.
Handmade flavors for each place setting- made by spray painting a seed starting pot gold and filling with small candies. 

The Lindt chocolate carrots get a doily and rhinestone for the holiday table.

I decide to use one of my favorite china plates - gold and turquoise with a chartreuse napkin and blue French opaline glasses.


A decadent chocolate egg from Vosges Chocolate for every place setting.

The table needs a little sparkle, so crystal and gold  Bayel Palais  stems are added to the mix.
The menu is prepared- with many new recipes this year!

Crab Eggs Benedict

Blueberry Croissant Puff

Baked Ham

Baked Potato Casserole

Roasted Rainbow Carrots


Orange Tarragon Sauce

Roasted Spring Asparagus

Pickled Southern Beets

Baked Cinnamon Apples

Blackberry Farm Angel Biscuits


 Peach and Blackberry Preserves

Coconut Crème Cake

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo


Fresh Summer Berries


Blueberry Croissant Puff -  yummy!

Rainbow carrots with tarragon citrus vinaigrette.

Coconut Poke Cake -  so easy and so good!  Recipe follows!


Blueberry Croissant Puff
Serves: 10 servings
  • 3 large croissants, cut up (about 5 to 5½ cups)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place croissant pieces in a 9 inch square pan. Sprinkle with blueberries.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Gradually add milk, beating well after each addition. Pour evenly over croissant pieces. Let stand 20 minutes.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until set in center and golden brown. You may want to cover it with foil for the last 10 minutes if the tops are getting too browned.
  5. Serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar.
  6. Variation: Instead of baking in a square pan bake individually. Place croissant pieces evenly in 10 (1/2-cup) ramekins; sprinkle with blueberries and pour cream cheese mixture evenly over croissant pieces. Let stand 20 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until set in center and golden brown.


Coconut Poke Cake
recipe image
Rated: rating
Submitted By: Leslie
Photo By: Dianne
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 2 Hours
Servings: 24
"White cake soaked in sweet creamy coconut milk and smothered in whipped topping and flaked coconut. A real treat for those with a sweet tooth."
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped
topping, thawed
1 (8 ounce) package flaked coconut
1.Prepare and bake white cake mix according to package directions. Remove cake from oven. While still hot, using a utility fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake.
2.Mix cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the still hot cake. Let cake cool completely then frost with the whipped topping and top with the flaked coconut. Keep cake refrigerated.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Blackberry Farm's Photography Workshop

Attending the "Behind the Lens' workshop at Blackberry Farm was a dream come true.  Spending three days photographing ( and eating) beautiful food and florals was a delightful experience.  The class was taught by Heather Thomas, the talented photographer that shot the photos in both of the  gorgeous Blackberry Farm cookbooks.  Most of the time was spent actually photographing food and flowers that were specially prepared for us.  The floral designer for Blackberry Farm created an array of florals for us to practice photographing   with Heather and her staff's guidance.  Blackberry Farm's floral style is "use what you can find on the farm", very organic in nature. 

For example, in the Barn where guests are served dinner, large branches are cut and used in barrels.

In the foyer of the main house, forsythia, now blooming, is used in abundance.

Potted herbs and garden flowers are used on the old table around the tree on the veranda.
Nothing fancy, just pretty and simple.

 But for this class, the florist cheated a bit and purchased flowers.

This beautiful tablescape was created in the wine cellar for our photography class.

The light source was only coming from the windows at the end of the room

A combination on yellow flowers- tulips, roses and forsythia- looked beautiful.

Simply done, but a gorgeous table.

For some of the shots, we were encouraged to take the flowers outside and shoot in the natural light.

We were taught how to use reflectors to create or take away shadows. 
 I immediately went home and purchased some reflectors!  What a wonderful tool to learn  about- they really  make a difference in a picture and they are so inexpensive to buy. 

Blurring out the background and focusing on the flowers.

 Fruits were added to create interesting arrangements.
 Notice the play of light on the oranges.

Interesting containers and surfaces were used to create interest.  This one was shot with
an old bread board as the surface and a piece of black foam core as the background. What a great technique to  make those roses  pop.  It wouldn't   have been nearly as effective as shooting them with the white wall  as a background.

 Close up and personal.

Detailed images of a single element of an arrangement.

This would be  a beautiful piece of art on a wall.
Blackberry Farm is a photographer's paradise
.  Here are some of my favorite photographs from the trip.
Appetizers at the opening dinner.

Foggy morning  heading to class.

 The Barn's open kitchen

Having a fabulous dinner at our table by the fireplace.

Smoked ice cream, chocolate ganache, and toasted marshmallows.

Dessert served on a piece of state- chocolate and strawberries. 

 The boathouse reflecting in the water.
 Bringing in the horses with a golf cart.

Where is everybody?

Magnificent animals.

You can almost see into their souls.

My happy husband.
And I was actually there to catch these photo opportunities!


The old covered bridge
Strawberry Soup- with a very surprising taste!  Not sweet as I expected.
A rustic plate of Blackberry Farm bread, cheese and charcuterie. 
The linen slipcovered French chairs.

Relaxing in the new spa - staring out at the beautiful landscape- in a comfy chaise- after a massage. 
The sculpture in the spa made by internationally acclaimed  local artist, Richard Jolley.
And my favorite- my buddy who always comes right up to me- Mr. Tom Turkey.

A little post editing back at home!  Couldn't resist playing with his feathers.
Like I said earlier-Blackberry Farm is  a photographer's candy store.  Beautiful food, beautiful scenery, beautiful animals-
just too many things to keep your camera happy.