The other day I was re-thinking of a wonderful experience that I had a few years ago when I was asked to write a story about an historic bed and breakfast in Camden, South Carolina. The story of Bloomsbury, the former home of Mary Boykin Chestnut was my assignment and I couldn’t have been more delighted to write about this magnificent home and the innkeeper Katherine Brown, who has since become my friend.
From the porch, cooled off from the evening shade, Katherine served wine and cheese while I enjoyed a view of the southern garden filled with giant oaks, azaleas and wisteria. It was so aromatic and I can’t remember when I have been more relaxed. I went up to bed later to find a copy of Mary Boykin Chestnut’s book on the night table and I went to sleep reading Diary from Dixie, Mary’s diary of everyday events during the Civil War.
The next morning, up and out, I went downstairs to a table set so elegantly for breakfast that I just didn’t want to leave and go back home to eat in my tiny dining room. Katherine came in from the kitchen to let me know that in addition to the traditional bacon and eggs for breakfast, I’d also be served cantaloupe soup and to my surprise, a biscuit with chocolate gravy.
Chocolate gravy is a recipe that Katherine’s grandmother always made for her as a child, and Katherine loves to see the look on your face when she tells you that you are having it for breakfast. But, hey, I’ll take chocolate gravy with a biscuit any day of the week!
I can’t begin to tell you how to make Katherine’s grandmother’s oh-my goodness really good chocolate gravy but she has kindly allowed me to share her recipe for the cantaloupe soup that she served so eloquently for breakfast. I can promise that you won’t be disappointed. I’d say that you could serve the soup for breakfast, luncheon or as a light dessert after dinner on a warm summer night. If you are serving it for a luncheon, a chicken salad would be good with it.
As you will see from the recipe below, Katherine calls this soup Bloomsbury Cold Fruit Soup because she uses fruits that are in season. She used cantaloupe the morning that I was there, but use whatever fruit you like, it will be delicious.
Enjoy my friends, and thank you Katherine for the recipe. Linda
Bloomsbury Cold Fruit Soup
2 cups fruit (peach, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango…any one of these works well…fresh is better, but canned or frozen will work when well drained)
1/2 cup sugar (sugar to taste depending upon natural sweetness of fruit)
1 (6 oz) individual-sized vanilla bean yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract if you use plain yogurt (extract flavor based upon fruit: vanilla, cinnamon, rum)
1/4 cup heavy cream (add cream to determine consistency desired)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Carefully clean/peel fruit. Place in the blender, add all remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.Chill for at least 8 hours. (Garnish with whipping cream, candied/sweet-flavored nuts, fresh mint or whole fruit slices). Serve very cold. Serves 6-8.
By Kate Karam, Monrovia,
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia
It’s not only coastal gardens that have to deal with persistent winds – inland gardens at higher altitudes and those in flat, wind-prone areas get regularly battered, too. Since there’s nothing good about plants stripped of their foliage or rendered dry and desiccated by a gale force tempest, the solution might be as simple as using specimens that are just fine with it. Here are a few we recommend. But first, some advice.
Join fellow garden lovers, history buffs and music enthusiasts to discover the quaint towns and colorful gardens of Holland and Belgium in May of 2018.
This exciting journey will be hosted by nationally known host Eric Johnson, of Public Television's blockbuster show GardenSmart. Your river cruise begins in Amsterdam where you'll see works by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, Anne Frank's House, and see the city's most famous gardens. Then spend a full morning on the grounds of the most beautiful spring garden in the world-Keukenhof! Visit the picturesque Belgian towns of Bruges and Ghent as well as Kinderdijk, with the Netherlands' iconic collection of 19 authentic windmills that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, history buffs will experience a captivating tour of the WWI trenches of Flanders and WWII Arnhem Battlefield of A Bridge Too Far fame. You won't want to miss this extraordinary garden adventure to Holland and Belgium.
Book by November 15, 2017 and save up to $1200 dollars per person!
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