Monday, March 24, 2014

Strawberry Trifle

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes for the sponge fingers. 10 minutes for the custard.


For the sponge fingers
1 egg
45g caster sugar
60g plain flour

For the custard
2 eggs
1 tbsp caster sugar
300ml milk
Seeds of a vanilla pod or 1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste

For the trifle
200ml double cream
2 tbsps caster sugar
250g Sweet Eve strawberries, rinsed, hulled and cut into thin slices, plus extra whole strawberries, to decorate

 1. First make the sponge fingers. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

2. Whisk the egg and sugar in a big bowl until light and quite stiff. Sift half the flour over the mixture and fold in lightly. Fold in the remaining flour.

3. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle. Pipe the mixture onto the baking sheet in 5cm lengths, set apart because they expand while in the oven.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, till golden. Remove from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.
5. To make the custard, beat the eggs, sugar and 50ml of the milk together in a bowl. Put the rest of the milk in a non-stick saucepan with the vanilla seeds or vanilla bean paste and bring to the boil. Set the milk aside to cool for 10 minutes then pour onto the egg mixture and mix well.

6. Strain the custard mixture into a clean saucepan and put back onto a medium heat. Keep stirring while the custard cooks and take off the heat when it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool.

7. Whisk the fresh cream with the caster sugar until it forms soft peaks.

8. To assemble the trifle, take a deep glass bowl and add alternate layers of strawberry slices, sponge fingers, custard and whipped cream. You may wish to arrange the strawberry slices so that you can see them in a row through the glass. Decorate the top of the trifle with whole strawberries and serve.

Courtesy of Sweet Eve Strawberry.

Linked up to:
Coastal Charm #205
Imparting Grace #99

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Tour of The Duke Mansion

Yesterday evening, before the sun went down we went on a drive to the Myers Park part of Charlotte. Nestled behind -gargantuan- trees on Hamilton Place, is the magnificent Duke Mansion.
The Duke mansion was built in 1915 by Zebulon V. Taylor, President of Southern Public Utilities (now Duke Power Company). Below, is the original entrance facing Ardsley Road, currently the east wing.
To the south of the mansion is a gravel courtyard, with a seating arrangement on either side, that's where we started meandering around the grounds.
As you climb up the steps you can see the south side of the mansion and it's grounds. In 1919 James B. Duke, founder of The American Tobacco Company and Duke Power Company bought the home. He tripled it's size to 32,000 square feet. Luckily, they had housekeepers!
In 1925 James B. Duke passed away leaving the legacy of Duke University, the Duke Power Company and The Duke Endowment. The home was purchased by C.C Coddington the owner of the local Buick dealership and radio station.
Sadly, three years later in 1929 he passed away. The next owner was Martin Cannon who re-named the home White Oaks. He was founder of Cannon Mills and after twenty years of living in the home with his wife Cherry he passed away bequeathing the home to Meyers Park Presbyterian Church.
Nine short years later, in 1957 the church sold the home to Henry and Clayton Lineberger, a textile family. During their time in the home they restored the home and grounds, and unfortunately had a horrific fire in 1966, which almost destroyed the home. How tragic would that have been?
This is the north entrance today, overlooking the fountain.
The west entrance is undergoing re-landscaping, which will hopefully be finished next year for the 100 year anniversary.
Ten years after the fire, after nineteen years in the home Henry Lineberger passed away and gifted the home to the The Duke Endowment. At first it was a conference center, and a year later it was placed on the national register of historic places. The same year developer  William Allan converted the home into condominiums.
In 1988, there was a possible deal to build single family homes on the property, but the developers efforts failed.  A year later owners of Raycom Sports, Rick and Dee Ray considered buying a condominium, but instead bought out the property to preserve and restore the mansion. In 1996 they sold the home to The Lee Institute, a non-profit leading an effort to permanently protect the home.

The Lee Institute brought the story full circle because Bill Lee's granddaddy was an engineer who had worked with James B. Duke. In 1998 the mansion opened as a Historic Inn and is still in operation. Nowadays you can celebrate your wedding, have a baby shower, or stay in one of the Inn's suites or you could take an early evening to self tour the home, and be in awe of it's history and splendor!

Linked up to:

Coastal Charm #205
Share Your Cup Thursday #96
Imparting Grace #99

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Garden Woodland

To the back right of our garden is a woodland, covered in crisp leaves. There's a creek running to the back (behind the fence) so we can hear frogs. There are squirrels that jump across the trees so it feels like we're in the mountains when we go back there. Well, the other day my husband and I had an impromptu photo shoot (he was once a photographer) and today, I went out to take some photos of our flowers.
This is me, with Sophie


We've been looking at garden nurseries for flowers, and planted some creeping phlox and foam flowers but would love suggestions. Hostas galore? Shaded wildflower garden? or bluebell woods?

This is the first month in our new home, so I can't wait to see how the woodland transitions over time. How do you record your flowers? And gardening projects over time? I'd love ideas.

Linked up to:

Coastal Charm #205

Friday, March 21, 2014

Collecting Memories

In my teens and early twenties I studied interior design. The classes were strongly focused on  modern, cutting edge and funky designs. I'm more of an old soul. To say it was the most uncertain time in my life, is an understatement. 
Around the same time I lost all my grandparents and my dad. Mortality made me look at life in a different way.
When we pass on, the only thing we leave behind of worth is our memories. Spend time with your family, and make it a good one.
Life and years later, my interest in preservation, genealogy and history has grown.  Every day is a blessing, because I cultivate who I am. Someone who likes to trace her roots, focus on her family, on preserving her community and her soul.
Although I can't sell memories, I can collect them.
'When time permits, we take it down and think of days long past. Our hopes, our dreams, our heritage, all safe and made to last.' ~ This is the true reason we craft our heritage celebrate our past and hold on to precious family memories for the future!
There are several projects on my table, that I'm making at home:
One is a project life binder of all mine, and my husbands childhood photos. We scanned in all our parents' copies and re-printed them. 

The second is a water colored inspirational journal of my story that I hope to one day give to my children as a keepsake.
Lastly, my husband and I are working on our genealogy. We hope to make a chart and put together a book of all the censuses, records, honors, pictures etc. That will keep us busy for sometime!
Maybe one day I could open up an Etsy store and sell some of the things I've made (genealogy charts, family recipe cards)? Or volunteer to do a community class? Or do speaking about the importance of learning your family history? I'd love suggestions.

Linked up to:
Imparting Grace #98
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