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Your Online Guide to Hosting A Downton Abbey Themed Party

DiningatDownton
Here’s a fun party game: who in this picture is no longer with us? (photo ITV)

Downton Abbey fans love to share the show with their friends and family.  The fabulous food lends itself to themed parties.  In this post, I include a few specific ideas for planning a Downton party.  Whether you are serving 2 or 200 there are plenty of recipe ideas to make in your own Abbey.

In 200 posts over three years, I have posted over 250 recipes for foods which would have been served upstairs and down at Downton Abbey and other great English country houses from the Edwardian era through to the early 1920s. All for the love of Downton and those who love the show.  For a full list of dishes by meal or occasion, check out my Recipe Index.

Entertaining is Much Simpler in Season 5

We are now in the 1920s and if you are planning to host a Downton Dinner, you will be relieved to know that family dinners during this period are now only 3 courses…unless of course you are entertaining your fellow aristocrats.  And the cocktail party finally comes to Downton. Carson finally gets with the times!

Check my Press Clippings

Don’t just take my word for It:  I have given a number of interviews in the national press,and my recipes have been posted in papers around the world.  I even prepared Afternoon Tea for national TV. Check out my Press Page.

Why not buy the Book?

Want it all and more in a pretty package?  My ebook, Abbey Cooks Entertain, is available for download here (click on the image in the right column), or you can order from Amazon. I also include a cocktail section with authentic cocktails from the era. My 2nd Edition is now available with recipes from Season 1 – 5 with both imperial and metric measurements.

I hope to provide inspiration for fans of all cooking ability who want to take a Downton twist on casual or formal gatherings.  It is pretty rare to get rich selling books, but every penny helps offset my food costs so I can continue to share new recipes with you throughout the year.

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Tea Tuesday: Manchester Pudding, A Tribute to Matthew

Tea at the award winning Intercontinental, London
Award Winning tea at the  InterContinental, London, Park Lane

Today is our first Tuesday of Downton Downtime 2013, at least for those who have watched all episodes up to Season 3.  For the rest of you who have just discovered Downton, enjoy the ride and watch out for spoilers.

Each Tuesday I dish on Downton Abbey and other topical issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a recipe with an interesting history.  You may find 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 treat is Manchester Pudding, perfect for paying homage to Matthew’s hometown.

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Shepherd’s Pie Helps Healing on Downton Abbey

SoupIsobel
Isobel mourns the loss of well prepared food.

It was an interesting evening for Downton Abbey fans in America.  In some homes there was stiff competition for control of the remote as the Super Bowl was being broadcast at the same time. Greasy Super Bowl food competed with dainty Downton appetizers in many kitchens.   For those conflicted about which to watch there was a brief window of opportunity for football fans to catch a bit of Downton during the power outage in New Orleans.  It was a good episode, as Downton recovers from tragic loss. Let others focus on other plot elements of S3 E5 and 6, I am still not quite ready to talk about it, particularly with fans who are still catching up.

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Tea Tuesday: Brighten your Day with Battenburg Cake

cosy tea inside
Cosy tea by the fire at the Stafford-St. James

“Shut the French Window”! Is it another Tea Tuesday already?  Each Tuesday I dish on Downton Abbey and other topical issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a recipe with history. The quote above comes from Phyllis Logan’s (Mrs. Hughes) acceptance speech at the Screen Actor’s Guide Awards. It has quickly become my own catch phrase.  You can find the link to the full video below.

You may find 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 treat is the colorful Battenburg Cake,  as we now know it.

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Downton Abbey Fans Could Use the Comfort of a Good Rice Pudding

Ethel
Tragedy strikes Downton (ITV)

It has been a hard day for me, the day after the PBS Masterpiece broadcast of S3E5 (or E4 if you go by PBS calculations: they showed ITV E1 & 2 together as one for the premier).  As millions of Americans watched this episode, there were gasps of disbelief as events unfolded. The amount of chaos and mayhem was far too much for one to bear and many fans are consoling each other today as they struggle to digest what had happened. I myself wanted to jump through my TV set to comfort  the characters.  But of course, this is just a TV drama and it was all make believe.

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Raise an Oatcake for Robert Burns

Afternoon tea on the Loch
How do you fancy tea on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond at the Cameron House?

“Fàilte, Ceud mìle fàilte”, or in other words, “welcome” to Tea Tuesday, wee lads and lassies.

Each Tuesday I dish on Downton Abbey and other topical issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a recipe with history. You may find my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea helpful in understanding traditions and recipes to serve at your own tea party. Today’s treat is oatcakes in honor of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns.
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Its Burnt Toast for Downton Abbey Characters

No family is what is seems from the outside.
No family is what it seems from the outside.

America is settling in nicely to Season 3 of Downton Abbey. I freely admit that I am an avid Downton fan, and even during the frantic stress of finishing my cookbook, the opening theme for the show never, ever ceases to give me peace and calm. Thank you John Lunn for your brilliant contribution to TV soundtracks. I could actually manage to play “Damaged”, but generally love listening to the music. I am not sure I can get used to the theme song with lyrics, but buy it and judge for yourself. I haven’t gone so far as to download the Downton Abbey ring tone- I am afraid I would jump for a TV remote and not my cell phone.

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Edith’s Wedding on Downton Abbey Goes Down like Titanic Food

Another Wedding at Downton
More fruitcake on hand for another wedding at Downton (ITV)

Another Downton Day in America.  This week’s episode S3E3 (E1 & E2 were shown on Masterpiece last week) of Downton Abbey led us on an emotional roller coaster.  First it was happy days for fans as Edith’s wedding was sure to be more fun than Mary’s and perhaps we would actually see a wedding reception this time around.  Meanwhile, Downton was in ruin and the Crawleys were sent off searching for a new home.  In the end, the tables are turned:  wedding goes down in flames, while Daisy saves the day  by remembering that Lavinia had given her a letter to post explaining to her father that Matthew belonged to Mary and not her. I am still not quite sure how or why one would write a letter like that, or how Reggie managed to have amassed a fortune while Lavinia went under cover for Sir Richard to clear a huge debt that he held over her father.  Regardless, Matthew can now claim the fortune to help save the day.

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Downton Days Return to America: Bring on the Deviled Eggs

Mary's Wedding Cake
The Wedding Cake

Welcome back Downton. After a long wait fans across the US and Canada were finally rewarded with Masterpiece’s presentation Sunday night of not one, but 2 episodes of Season 3. It was like having two pieces of wedding cake at Mary and Matthew’s reception: they finally made it to the altar!

It was disappointing that we were never treated to the experience of the wedding reception, and if you blinked you missed a shot of the wedding cake which barely made it into frame. Luckily I am able to provide a photo of this gorgeous cake which certainly suits the exquisite taste of Lady Mary. Fruitcake was the traditional choice for weddings in that period. We made a great traditional fruitcake which is great to serve at weddings and other special occasions.

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The Downton Year Ends with Hogmanay

Hogmanay
Count down to Hogmanay

While Christmas in North America is a month long buildup of festivities, reflecting a melting pot of religious, cultural and secular traditions, New Years is more of an after thought, one last party before getting back to business. In Scotland however, Christmas is a low key celebration with a build up to New Years, called Hogmanay, the biggest party of the year. Since the Crawleys visit their scottish relatives in the S3 Christmas episode I though it fitting to pay tribute to the great feast.

In the late 1500s, the Scottish Reformation abolished Christmas, which lasted for 400 hundred years. Most Scots had to work on Christmas Day until the 1960s. In the early 1600s, they changed the date of New Year’s from March 25 to January 1, and began celebrating Hogmanay. Christmas is still celebrated with family as a low key affair, but then the Scots pull out all the stops for a two day holiday.

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