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Afternoon tea in Calgary

Afternoon tea at any Fairmont hotel is delightful, including the Palliser Hotel in Calgary.

I am jetting back today from my “surf and turf” holiday with my family out in Calgary, Alberta.  I spent week one salmon fishing with Dad and my brothers on the west coast, and week two on the family estate (farm), complete with horses and hay, dogs and other working animals.  In our travels we did see the devastation the floods did to the Calgary area, but with help of volunteers come “hell or high water” the Calgary Stampede went ahead, attracting over one million visitors this year.

Going home certainly reminds you of what made you the person today.  Growing up I often found myself in the kitchen preparing family meals, freeing up mom and the others to tend to outside chores.  The result was an early love of cooking. This week was no different, and I reveled in cooking again in my original test kitchen for the family that I love dearly.  Yup, I baked up a couple of pies before heading out into the fields to help bring in the hay.

As you may know, Tea Tuesday is a weekly tradition I started, dishing about Downton Abbey, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe. 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. During Downton Downtime I only post once a week so not all the dishes here will be served at tea, but we can still put the kettle on and share Downton gossip over a nice cup of tea.

Today’s savoury dish is beef rolls.  A great dish made from your Sunday night beef dinner leftovers.

Downton Dish

Summertime at Downton

Summer is time for Garden parties at Downton Abbey

Now that summer has arrived there is much to do to keep you distracted to keep your Downton cravings at bay. If you haven’t seen all seasons (1-3) beware of spoilers below.

Downton Inspired Fundraising Ideas

mish mash of teacups

your teacups don’t have to match

Last week I promoted the idea of using the popularity of the Downton era to help fundraise.  During my visit home I was invited to meet with the lovely ladies at Southminster United, the church I grew up in.   They are celebrating their 100th year anniversary and wanted my input on hosting an afternoon tea to celebrate, as well as to promote the church in the community.

We sat for over an hour brainstorming over coffee and homemade blueberry muffins.   In reality they had most of the elements well in hand.  If your church is looking for a fundraising idea this is an easy event to put together.  Food and church go hand in hand and church ladies are experts in feeding large crowds.  Tea and sandwiches are commonly served in church halls.   Depending on how popular Downton Abbey is in your community you can turn it into a Downton themed tea which will attract fans from show.

As I shared recipes from my book to inspire them on an achievable menu, and stories about how other museums and churches have set about holding afternoon teas, some concrete ideas started to take shape.   Southminster would update their regular tea service by offering live music (the local symphony already performs in the church), making vintage aprons for the servers from old table cloths, make it more intimate by adding smaller tables, and creating tiered tea trays from old plates.  The ladies will collect teacups, teapots, table clothes from the congregation to create a wonderful eclectic display of color.  Prizes will be awarded for best costume or hat.  Their event will be held in November and hopefully I will be able share pictures.  Best of luck to Wanda, Jaye, Joan, Linda, Amy and the rest of team of delightful and talented ladies.

Turning Silverware into Silver Wear

Bracelets

turning silverware into lovely bracelets

Thinking outside the kitchen, the church also came up with a wonderful idea to commemorate their 100th anniversary and raise money.  Silverware, while lovely, cannot be put into the dishwasher so was rarely used.  When they were not able to sell their collection, the ladies looked to Shirley Scotney and Sandra Hahn of Silver Wear, who took the collection and turned it into over 80 commemorative bracelets and rings.  Mom surprised me with one which has “S” for Southminster inscribed.  The ladies at our meeting were each sporting a slightly different version.  A wonderful keepsake from the church which I will treasure.

I thought this was a wonderful way to bring the past into the present.  While these ladies don’t have an Etsy site, I found Aljesh and Company Jewelry, a husband and wife team, who make and sell the same type of lovely pieces from old silverwear.  You may wish to check out their store.

Abbey Cooks Entertain: Inspiration for Your Fundraiser

Click here to buy

With 220 Downton era recipes, you will want to get this book for recipes for the famous Downton dishes from Season 1-3. I also presented whole chapters on Garden Parties and Afternoon Tea.

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’t have an eReader I would suggest the PDF version which allows you to print recipes as you go, if you wish.

Fundraiser Event: many local museums and churches are drawing upon the popularity of Downton Abbey by hosting an afternoon tea or garden party as a successful fundraisers. While I am in my home town I am actually helping my home church organize an afternoon tea to celebrate their 100th anniversary.  Drop me a line and I will send you the same idea sheet I shared with my church.

Ask me for a complimentary copy of my book to for great recipe ideas to help ensure your event is a success. I only ask that you provide me with pictures and a description to share here to inspire others.

Beef Rolls

A tasty servants hall dish.

beef rolls, a tasty servants hall dish.

This recipe has been a staple in our family for as long as I can remember and not much different from recipes of the era.  Growing up with an estate which raised cattle, we often enjoyed roast dinners.  This recipe is a great use for left overs, which Mrs. Patmore might very well have had ordered it prepared for dinner in the servants hall.  You can find my favorite roast recipe here.

Incorporate whatever leftovers you have…often we only have a small amount of roast, but the more meat you use, the larger your roll.  I often have leftover roasted vegetables along with beef and I chop it all up as the filling.  Gravy goes into the recipe as well, but save extra gravy to serve on top.  Works just as well with turkey leftovers.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients
Pastry
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk

Filling

  • 2 – 4 cups finely chopped roast beef or other meat
  • 1/2 – 1 cup left over roasted vegetables, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup gravy (depending on the amount meat you are using)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.  Prepare baking sheet by oiling or using parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and cut in the shortening until well incorporated into the flour.
  3. Slowly add the milk to make a soft dough, using more or less to get the right consistency.  Knead until the dough comes to together.
  4. Flour your breadboard or roll onto parchment/wax paper to make a rectangle 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Combine the filling ingredients and spread on the dough.
  6. Roll up like a jelly roll.
  7. Cut into 1 inch slices and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until pastry is golden brown
  9. Serve with additional warmed gravy.
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