Archive for November, 2011

Cornstalks on the Gate for Halloween

November 16th, 2011 No comments

Here at House of Blues, we have only a few Halloween visitors each year, but it’s always fun for me (Margaret) to dress as the Grim Reaper in a long hooded black coat and hand out candy to any “little monsters” that show up.  Our visitors range in number from zero to 10, and this year they were zero.

We have better luck if we put out a jack-o-lantern and decorate the front gate with lights, but this year we both had the flu and weren’t up to it.

Today I gathered up our old corn stalks and sunflower canes (previously removed from the garden by Mike) and tied them in two mixed bundles using 19-gauge wire.  Fastened on either side of the front gate, these enormous bouquets make a graceful decoration. They would have been fine for Halloween, but now they pay tribute to Thanksgiving and let you know we are here and thinking about this fine old holiday.


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Currant Buns

November 13th, 2011 No comments

My better half remembers currant buns from boyhood.  This recipe– changed somewhat, and adapted for American cooks, originated on  Easy, delicious, and not too rich, it makes a baker’s dozen.

Yeast Mixture

  • 1/4 cup white bread flour
  • 1 cup heated milk (temperature for bread-making; nonfat is fine)
  • 2 envelopes dry yeast ( 1/4 oz. each, regular, not “Rapid”)

Dough Mixture

  • 2 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 beaten egg (saving the remainder for “egg wash”)


  • Equal parts sugar and water, boiled together.

Beat together the yeast mixture and set it aside a few minutes in a warm place.  It should start to foam up.  While the yeast mixture is proving, combine the ingredients for the dough mixture.  The yeast mixture having foamed up nicely, add it to the dough mixture.  Knead for about five minutes by hand or three minutes with a dough hook.  If the dough is too soft, add more flour, perhaps about 1/4 cup, as you go.  (If using the dough hook, follow up with a minute or so of hand- kneading.)  Place the dough in a bowl with a dampened towel over the top and leave in a warm place to rise until double.  Punch down the dough.

Knead in:

  • 2/3 cup (4 oz.)  currants.

Preheat the oven to375 degrees.  Divide the dough into 12 parts and form into buns.  Place the buns on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush them thoroughly with a “wash” made from the remaining egg, mixed with a little milk.  They may be arranged so they are barely touching.  Let rise again in a warm place, until nearly double.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven, for 12 to 14 minutes.  Brush with the boiled sugar-water glaze.







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