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Enjoy a special Easter Tea at the Dorchester

Enjoy a special Easter Tea at the Dorchester

Only one more day before we can officially say goodbye to Winter and hello to Spring. Unfortunately the seasons take their sweet time in making the shift change, but it won’t be long until we can put our winter boots and sweaters away. It does help that Easter is earlier this year.

As you may know, Tea Tuesdays is a weekly tradition I started last year, dishing about Downton Abbey, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe.  Starting last week we departed from simply providing Afternoon Tea recipes and expanding our Tuesday repertoire to include dishes you would see at High Tea–what workers would eat as an early supper at the end of their day.  It will give you a better sense of the difference between Afternoon Tea and High Tea, and give Lord D, my official taster, a chance to recover from tea treat overdose.  There are only so many delicious cakes and tarts (even if they are made healthier) that a man can take.

You can still refer to my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea, helpful in understanding  traditions and recipes to help you host your own tea party with family and friends.

Today’s dish is Ham and Potato Soup, a great way to use the left over ham bone from your upcoming Easter Dinner.

Downton Dish

You're in the Soup

You’re in the Soup

There is still some news to share during Downton Downtime.  They are filming S4 after all.

Chatting with Cooking’s Most Famous Bow Tie

I am always amazed the power of the internet and the far reaching love of Downton food.  I recently interviewed with a magazine in Norway and today I chat with Christopher Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen for an upcoming radio broadcast.  I will link to the broadcast once it is up and live.

Christopher Kimball2 I have always admired the dedication of the America’s Test Kitchen team who tirelessly test and retest recipes to take away the trial and error for beginners.  The science behind food preparation also fascinates me.  Many experienced cooks often “discover” the science of food through trial and error, but knowing the scientific principle is a great short cut for those just learning to cook.  I was most pleased that their basic approach to making scones is the same as mine, using grated frozen butter and folding.

Abbey Cooks Entertain: Downton Downttime Dining


Some Downton fans do needle point, others cook in the off season.  With 220 Downton era recipes, you will want to get this book for recipes for the famous Downton dishes from Season 1-3.  This 432 page ebook sells for only $7.95.  Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to keep bringing you new dishes each week.  You can only get a signed copy here on my site.

If you don’ have an eReader I would suggest the PDF version which can be printed, if you like.

Ham & Potato Soup

Hearty Downstairs Soup

Hearty Downstairs Soup

This is a great Irish inspired soup which we had this past week in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  If you wondered about the history of the day, I previously provided a brief history of “green day” and a great Irish Stew recipe.  

This is an example of a dish which would start upstairs and finish downstairs.  After a lovely upstairs dinner of lovely roast ham, the bone could be made into a delicious soup for the servants.

So this is a great way to use your left over ham bone after a great Easter ham.  My grandmother always made an amazing potato soup with a lovely toasted nutty flavor, simply by browning flour. You can add dairy (I sometimes add some non-fat plain yogurt, mixed in with the flour and hot broth in Step 4)  if you like a creamy soup, or not if Mrs. Hughes does not feel it prudent to waste dairy on your servants.

Serves 6


  • 1 ham bone (meaty preferred)
  • 1 cup left over ham, finely chopped if your bone has been picked pretty clean
  • 4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 – 6 potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. parsley, chopped


  1. Combine the ham bone, ham, water, stock and vegetables in your soup pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce to simmer for 40 minutes.  If there is meat still on the bone, it should be easily removed by this point.  Shred and put it in your soup.
  2. Add the potatoes, bring back to the boil, then reduce again to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. In a medium saucepan, add the flour over medium heat and stir as it turns  brown.  Don’t let the flour burn.
  4. Take some liquid from the pot and mix with the flour to thicken.  You can adjust the thickness of the soup by the amount of the flour mixture you add. If it gets too thick, simply add more liquid.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and sprinkle the parsley on top when you serve.