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Its looking a lot like Christmas at Highclere Castle

Its looking a lot like Christmas at Highclere Castle 

It started in the last half of November.  The songs which I detest at other times of the year were finally getting a listen on my iPhone on my commute to the office.  ”Christmas Time is Here!” slowly started to get me into the spirit of the Season.  This past week I created a new playlist of all my favorite holiday songs to send me into overdrive.  I was also organizing our company annual Winter Wonderland event so it really got me into the spirit of things and now the Season is in full gear. Holiday decorations in the stores which were annoying right after Halloween are now really pretty.  At home, my baking has increased, the fruitcakes are getting a shot of rum every week, all leading up to our annual family gathering is coming up this weekend.  Lord C has been kind enough to host the last few family celebrations, but a very British Christmas is Lord D and mine to host this year.

This week’s holiday dish is a good one for those who love ginger but don’t have the time or patience to roll out and cut and decorate gingerbread cookies.  Gingernuts, the English version of ginger snaps is a traditional favorite cookie, this and any other time of year.

Downton Dish

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You can order all things Downton for tea; my favorite tea comes from Clearview.

The launch of Season 4 is inching closer in the US.  January 5th is when PBS will be broadcasting the event across the US and Canada.  UK fans can look forward to the 2 hour special (final episode of S4 on Christmas Day.  Each week I share Downton news, but if you haven’t seen all seasons (1-4) beware of spoilers below:

Upcoming Downton Events

Jan. 4/5: PBS S4 Launch Party Inspired by Downton in Burlington, VT

downtonHeaderVermont Public Television is hosting their second Downton inspired culinary weekend January 4th/5th. This event will launch Season 4 at the renowned culinary mecca, the Essex Resort, in Burlington Vermont. Look forward to this wonderful event of fabulous Downton food and festivity, and be among the first in the US to see Episode 1 in a theatre setting. Last year Lord D and I had so much fun dressing up for Day 1, that they chose to wear their finery on Day two. Tickets are now on sale for this great event in support of public television, the network which brings Downton to the US and Canada.

Jan. 17-19: A Downton Abbey Chauffeur-Turned-Gentleman: Sea Island, GA Downton Abbey is hopping the pond this January. From the 17th – 19th, meet Allen Leech, otherwise known as “Tom Branson” former family chauffeur and widower of Lady Sybil and Jessica Fellowes, author of 2 great Downton books. For more information about this event.

Downton Followup

  •    A Very Downton Evening in Newbury, UK

A very special and “very Downton” themed event that took place in November and which was hosted by the Countess of Carnavron raised $4500 for Naomi House and Jacksplace hospices.  The organizers said my free copies of my cookbook went over really well with guests and Lady Carnavron thought my book wonderful.

  •    Happy Calendar Winner

I received a lovely note from one of our calendar winners who was really delighted with her prize.  It helped to brighten a sad Christmas as all of her family were not able to be together this Christmas.  The Crawleys year round is not a bad substitute.

Pudding Matters

Puddings Matter

Puddings Matter

I met Michelle Chandler, a lovely lady at a Downton Abbey event this past Mothers Day and she told me about growing a pudding business.  Fast forward to this week and we finally had a chance to reconnect to talk puddings.  I was thrilled to hear her company has made some progress penetrating the Canadian and US Retailer market where fine foods are sold.

Since I am short of time to cook my own puddings we will be enjoying her puddings at our table, lighting them very much like Granny did in the Downton Christmas Special.

Pudding MatterPuddings Matter have a website with a history of puddings, how to ignite the pudding without burning down your house and sauces to serve alongside.

Downton Holiday Entertaining: Only $7.95

With 220 traditional Downton era recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to to give for fellow fans planning holiday treats and meals.  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. While the book is available on Amazon, 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. Buy one for yourself, gift to another.  All you have to do is email the download link.

Downton Holiday Baking

visions of sugar plums danced in their heads

visions of sugar plums danced in their heads

Last year we prepared a number of traditional holiday treats. Here are links to the posts with the recipes. Scroll down to location the recipe, or you can purchase my book and you will have these and other recipes on hand.

Gingernuts

ginger snaps the British way, made with golden syrup

ginger snaps the British way, made with golden syrup

Gingernuts are a great English tradition, producing a great cookie, perfect for dunking.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. dark treacle or molasses
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup demerara (brown) sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the brown sugar in a shallow bowl
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the molasses and syrup and continue beating until well incorporated.
  3. In a second bowl sift the remaining dry ingredients and then add to the butter mixture.
  4. Use your hands to mix together into a thick dough.
  5. If you have a small cookie dough scoop, use to scoop out into nice round balls about the size of a walnut.
  6. Roll the balls in the brown sugar and then place on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.  Press down gently to flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes at 350F, the reduce the heat to 325F to bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  8. The cookies are done when they have cracked, are slightly firm to the touch and golden brown all over.  Cool on the sheet for few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Store in an air tight container and freeze if you like until your guests arrive.

Your downton Holiday Gift Giving

Gift ideas for your Downton fan. Click on the icons to take you to Amazon to order in time for the holidays.

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