Recipe: Baked Macaroni & English Red Cheddar Cheese

I’m not kidding when I tell you that this is the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had. (Wayne is still at work so we’ll see how he feels about it tonight!) This is my own recipe, and the “secret” is a new-to-me sweet red cheddar cheese from the world’s oldest surviving cheddar maker in England. I purchased it at my local Whole Foods for the first time last month and have been buying it every week since. You can use any hard cheese you like in place of it in case it’s not available near you, but if you can, do give this sweet and smooth cheese a try!

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Recipe: Smashed Red Potatoes with Pizzazz

My love of mashed potatoes started back when I was a little girl eating the “Little Jack Horner” from the Fort Lee Diner’s kids’ menu in the late 60s/early 70s. It was a slice of rare roast beef Au Jus with a small mound of creamy whipped potatoes served by my favorite waitress with the large bouffant. My appreciation continued as a young adult during road trips (the most noteworthy one being out to Seattle and back) with truck stop fare for lunch. They always seemed to have the best mashed potatoes. The cafeteria at the University of Maine in Orono used fresh Maine potatoes for theirs.

My own recipe for smashed reds combines Maine red potatoes, Meyer lemon from California and British clotted cream for a harmonious side mash or meal!

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Recipe: Traditional British Scones With Meyer Lemon & Currants

Wayne’s brother and sister-in-law sent us beautiful, fragrant organic Meyer lemons from a tree at their home in California for a “Merry Citrus!” I’ve never experienced anything like them. Our kitchen smells like warm sunshine, if that’s possible! What a perfect balm for a frigid December. I selected a vintage scone (pronounced  sconn) recipe from the book Traditional Dishes of Britain published in 1953 by Philip Harben, the “TV Cook.” Scottish scones are very different from the Americanized versions; in fact they usually contain little to no sugar and few or no eggs. Additionally, they were often cooked on a “hotplate” which produced a “flat shape that is so convenient for splitting and buttering, the natural destiny of the scone.” 

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The Shiniest Star(s)

Some of you know that I have been selling vintage items online since the early 2000s. As I was photographing one of two identical copies of the 1950s book The Shiniest Star illustrated by Charlot Byj, Wayne stopped talking to me mid-sentence, came over and said: “Hey! I know that book! I remember reading that when I was little!” His face was completely lit up as he picked up the book and turned the pages. He remembered the gold foil star on the cover, too. I was charmed to see him transform from a man in his 60s to a wide-eyed six year old.

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Vintage Christmas Recipe: British Steamed Pudding

Here is a recipe for an obscure and worthwhile 1905 treat, “Mother Eve’s Pudding” from a British Women’s Cookery Book in my collection. This recipe was submitted by “Miss Orkney from Bervie.” (I found an earlier recipe in poetry form online.) I made this last year and cut the recipe in half, as follows, for a smaller pudding:

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Possibilities: Victorian Era Inspiration

I am really looking forward to some “slow news days” in my own life! In addition to having ANOTHER tree come down yesterday during another windstorm (it fell right on top of the tree that fell last week?!!) this past week was rather stressful due to dealing with various petty tyrants in positions of minuscule bureaucratic authority. I patiently asked to speak to someone else more than once. Within those machinations that lack common sense and kindness, I was able to reach people who were actually reachable as human beings and they made things right. There are kind people in this world and we have the opportunity every minute to be one of them!

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Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: My Reflections and Conversation with Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine

I’m often asked what gave me the idea to do a tour of Maine’s summer Episcopal chapels. The truth is that it just came to me, the same way the idea for my blog Serene New England did during Easter Sunday while sitting in church at St. Mary’s. I love to explore new-to-me places and meet new people. The theme of renewal and strengthening my relationship with God while appreciating unique places of worship in beautiful coastal Maine settings felt like it would be Episcopal Summer Camp. And in many ways, I was right!

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Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour (Bonus): All Saints Chapel, Orr’s Island

Wayne and I didn’t attend services here but we passed All Saints on Orr’s Island on the way to Bailey Island this week. We were hoping maybe someone would be around to let us in but all was quiet. I took some photos of the outside that I hope you will enjoy!

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Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Martin’s in the Field, Biddeford Pool

Wayne and I visited St. Martin’s in the Field in Biddeford Pool for the 11:00 a.m. service. Although we have never been to the chapel I have been to the area many times before because it’s in the same neighborhood as The Marie Joseph Spiritual Center. The church is literally in a field (which is a golf course on one side) as the name denotes. Like all of the others we have visited, it is charming, welcoming and has beautiful stained glass that you MUST see! The sermon by Rev. Dina van Klaveren (pictured above) was very inspiring. Continue reading “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Martin’s in the Field, Biddeford Pool”

An Enchanted English Garden at Pineland Farms, New Gloucester

There are people, places and moments that bring out the unguarded, trusting and open-hearted child within. The garden at Pineland Farms is one such place for us. When Wayne and I entered the white gates last week, we walked into what felt like a dream.  Continue reading “An Enchanted English Garden at Pineland Farms, New Gloucester”