Saturday, May 2, 2015

On the Homefront: Rustic Red Chickens Brunch Table

Rosie the little red hen (from HomeGoods this year) sits on her nest of
tiny pinecones atop the chicken print fabric piece which gave me the
idea for this table.

The inspiration for this table was a fabric remnant I found in Australia many years ago on our first trip there (I think I bought it in either Cairns or Kuranda, but it was so long ago that I can't remember for sure).  The chicken print on a red background appealed to me, so I bought it but never used it.  It is the perfect size for a table runner, and since I have other chicken print table accessories I decided now was the time to put them all to good use.

Bodrum red fabric Tuscany Rooster Placemat (bought years ago; no longer available in rooster design); speckled brown dinner plate (made in Japan, no manufacturer) from The Cupboard in Fort Collins, CO, years ago; Brandon House Country Quartet by Warren Kimble salad/bread plate and mug; small white appetizer plate as saucer from Target a few years ago; white-handled flatware from Target years ago; Skinny laMinx natural linen red vine print napkin (Christmas gift from my husband two years ago); Luminarc French jelly jar glass; small white scalloped bowl from Pier 1 filled with wild huckleberry jelly beans.

The four different colors and designs of the Country Quartet salad/bread plates:

The large red ceramic bowl with tea towel will hold the damper.  Butter
in a Waechtersbach Effect Glazed Cherry Butter Dish and jars of locally
produced fruit butter and preserves are offered with the bread.

The candle holders at this end of the table and the fruit butter and
preserves at the other end sit atop Pier 1 Red Bird Plates
(no longer available).

A large red teapot sits ready to dispense hot water for tea (Cinnamon
Tempest from Trader Joe's).  The sugar bowl and cream pitcher (similar
to this set) as well as the Cherry Red Salt and Pepper Shakers are by
Waechtersbach, purchased many years ago.

A closer look at the cute chicken print on the Paper Sharks Flour Sack
Towel (a gift from my husband a long time ago).

Since my table inspiration came from Australia, I decided to choose my menu recipes from some cookbooks I bought when we were in Australia and New Zealand.  I've described two of the recipes in previous posts.  Chicken sausages continue the chicken theme, as does the Courgette Bake, which is an egg dish.  The recipe comes from a cookbook I received as a gift from friends who were living in New Zealand at the time of our second visit there.  The Edmonds Cookery Book has become a "Kiwi icon" for New Zealanders.  A version was first published in 1908, and it continues to be a best seller today.  Edmonds is a New Zealand company that has been in business for over 130 years.  It specializes in baking products, most notably baking powder, and more recently other food products as well.

Rustic Red Chickens Brunch Table Menu:

Tea or Coffee
Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
Courgette Bake*
Chicken Sausages
Damper/Butter and Fruit Spreads

A serving of the courgette bake (I know, I know, it's a fish plate.
I thought I would give you a break from chickens in this photo!)

*Courgette Bake
(from Edmonds Cookery Book 1987)

4 eggs
1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 C. vegetable oil
3-4 medium courgettes (zucchini), grated
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 C. shredded cheese (any type)
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly beat the eggs.  Add the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/2 C. cheese.  Pour into a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until light golden brown and firm to the touch.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and continue baking for five more minutes until the cheese melts.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.  Serves 4.

Note: I made this recipe exactly as given in the cookbook, but next time I will sauté the onions in a little oil first for more flavor, and squeeze the grated zucchini dry in some paper towels to reduce excess liquid in the dish.

Individual small bowls full of wild huckleberry jelly beans (also known as jelly bird eggs, which sort of continues the chicken theme!) are the only candies on this brunch table.  My husband brought these back with him after a recent trip to Las Vegas.  I loved the purple color, and they are very tasty:

On the credenza, a colorful wooden rooster puzzle stands guard over the flock on the table:

This was supposed to be the year my chicken coop and enclosure finally got built, but nothing has happened yet because the weather has been so uncooperative.  I am determined to get it done soon, though, and meanwhile I can at least enjoy chickens on my dining room table!

An attractive (and expensive) chicken coop from Williams-Sonoma.

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