Downton Abbey Series Finale – And They Were All Happy Enough

Our last look at Downton (ITV)

Well, the final episode aired last night and what a way to end the series. Yes, there are no more episodes of Downton Abbey. The Carnavrons have reclaimed Highclere Castle from film crews, and the production sets used for the downstairs scenes have been packed away. We must be resolved to gracefully let these beloved characters live out their lives without us watching.

This will be my final recipe to share as my love letter to the Downton kitchen staff and to those fans who love the food on the show. We first met the Crawley family over breakfast as they learn about the sinking of the Titanic; Mrs. Patmore’s dish that morning was kedgeree, so I thought it fitting to return to the beginning to feature another breakfast fish dish. The recipe is Omelette Arnold Bennett, invented at the famous Savoy which uses finnan haddie, smoked haddock. It is a fabulous morning after dish to soothe the broken heart of any Downton Abbey fan.

Don’t despair, I have share 100s of recipes so you can easily find them through the Recipe Index.  And I will still be active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Downton S6E6: Smoked Salmon and Other Romantic Gestures

S6E6Openhouse (2)
Downton opens their doors for charity. Grand homes now open their doors for survival.

We have reached another milestone in the final season of Downton Abbey. Last night was our final standoff against the Super Bowl. Regardless of the ratings, it is sad to think that we won’t have the same battle for the best screen in the house next year. How are your Valentine’s Day plans coming? Perhaps you and your loved one will be cuddled up watching Downton together. I know Lord D and I will be.
In keeping with tradition, I will continue to share one recipe mentioned on each episode as my love letter to the Downton kitchen staff and to those fans who love the food on the show. We continue to see how food plays a role in adjusting to married life. We have recently prepared a lovely duck dish which Elsie prepares for dinner, so we will focus on her first course of smoked salmon, one of my favorites. Continue reading Downton S6E6: Smoked Salmon and Other Romantic Gestures

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Downton S6E5: Adjusting to Married Life with Bubble and Squeak

Mr. Carson is a new husband training.

January has come and gone in a flash and now Valentine’s Day is looming on the horizon. I am a lucky lady. Every day in our household is filled with love to the point that my girlfriends beg Lord D to give lessons to their husbands on how to give flowers for no reason. To pay it forward I have listed a few dishes below which will thrill your Downton fan.

Now that Charlie Carson wed Elise Hughes (S6E3), we are granted a view of how the new couple adjusts to married life. Mrs. Hughes ran the household not the kitchen, so how does a man with exacting standards adjust to a wife who does not cook? And how will Mrs. Hughes gently adjust his expectations? This will be fun to watch.

In keeping with tradition, I will continue to share one recipe mentioned on each episode as my love letter to the Downton kitchen staff and to those fans who love the food on the show. As the newlyweds adjust to married life this week’s recipe is  Bubble and Squeak, an easy dish which any new cook can master, even if Mr. Carson finds it odd that Mrs. Hughes likes to pair it with lamb.

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Your Online Guide to Hosting A Downton Abbey Themed Party

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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Plastic Water Bottle Leaves Egg on Face of Downton Promoters

The now famous water bottle shot.

Much to the surprise of Downton fans everywhere, our favorite show has been getting some unexpected press this week.  Known for their attention to historical accuracy,  sharp eyed fans were aghast when a plastic water bottle was spotted on the Crawley  mantle in a Season 5 promotional photo released on Instagram.  The photo has since been taken down, but has the damage was already done.  It has since made the rounds on social media and broadcast news shows across the country. Alastair Bruce, the show’s historical advisor, will certainly have been in a huddle with Julian Fellowes over this slip up.  Even if they have a bit of egg on their face, in the end though, there is something to be said for the saying “there is no such thing as bad publicity”.  In fact, lemons have now been turned into lemonade as the cast has now posed in a fun photo to help support the UK agency WaterAid

Speaking of eggs, today’s dish is a simple one: poached eggs. Poached eggs are easy to make and keep for a larger group for your weekend brunch.   It is one of those dishes that Mrs. Patmore would have taught Sybil once she mastered boiling an egg.  I make them almost every week for Lord D, and it is one of the 220 recipes in my book, Abbey Cooks Entertain, but for some reason I have not shared it here.   A simple dish, all you need is fresh eggs, a pot of water, a bit of vinegar and 4 minutes.

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Spring Means Rhubarb Season is Upon us

Rose up on her Irish slang

After a long cold winter, Spring has finally arrived, what great craic! Craic is an Irish word for fun and enjoyment, typically mixed in with alcohol and music, but still an expression of delight that we can shed our winter clothes and enjoy sun, and a new growing season.  I was particularly delighted to see my rhubarb plants already growing and I can’t wait to dig into a fresh stalk of tart delight.  Then again I have always preferred sour over sweet.

In any event, rhubarb is one of my favorite vegetables, not least of which is that is likely the easiest plant to take care of.  Edwardians simply adored rhubarb, and while I have already shared a few rhubarb recipes (see below) in the next few posts, we will explore more recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Today we start the day off right with healthy rhubarb oatmeal gems (muffins).

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Hot Cross Buns are Still a Good Friday Tradition

MakeTime for Easter Tea
MakeTime for Easter Tea

This coming week Christians around the world are celebrating Easter.  A moveable feast, Easter occurs the First Sunday after the Full Moon following the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.  It is late this year, just like Spring.

Marking the end of Lent, Holy Week leads to Good Friday which commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ who died for our sins on the cross.  On Easter Sunday we celebrate His resurrection.  Easter is also linked to the Jewish Passover by symbolism and where it falls on the calendar.  Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but decorating Easter eggs is a common motif.

In the Western world, Easter takes on secular customs, such as egg hunts and the Easter Bunny.  The English tradition of wearing new clothes at Easter would have been gleefully followed by the women of Downton Abbey, although I am not so sure about the Dowager.  The Easter Bonnet, made famous by Judy Garland in Irving Berlin’s Easter Parade is the part of this tradition, which was to keep in harmony with the renewal of the year and the promise of spiritual renewal and redemption.  Any excuse to shop.

This week’s treat is a special one as I finally share one of  my most precious recipes:  my Granny’s sweet bun recipe which makes lovely light hot cross buns.

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Dating Downton With Ham and Eggs

Who knew she could cook
Who knew she could cook?

Love is in the air this week as the clock counts down to Valentine’s Day.  This is the day when many men make an Olympic sport of timing a visit to floral shops just before closing.  Thankfully, like John Bates, my Lord D showers me with romantic gestures throughout the year so the roses have already been hand selected and delivered with a cake from the baker who prepared our wedding cake.

This week on Downton Abbey (S4E6 or E7 by ITV count) a few of Cupid’s arrows fly.  Ivy now sees Alfred in a new light, and Lady Mary attracts the attention of Charles Blake as she rolls up her sleeves to help water the dehydrated pigs.  As a horse woman, she would know her way around livestock, but cooking, that is a skill we haven’t seen before.  However does she make it look so glamourous?

Since we have already made creamy scrambled eggs, this week’s dish is eggs en cocotte,  in honor of Mary and Charles’ late night with the pigs and early morning in the kitchen.  This is a simple baked egg dish; this version is made with every man’s favorite food, bacon.

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Downton’s Drop Scones are Simply Delicious “Pocket” Pancakes

Be safe out there this Black Friday
Be safe out there this Black Friday

The US will soon will be alive with the sights and smells of Thanksgiving cooking.  No time to dwell on Downton Abbey this week as shopping lists are being prepared from time honored recipes passed down from mother to daughter.  If you think cooking for your extended family a few times a year is tough, imagine Mrs. Patmore, Daisy, Ivy and the kitchen staff preparing  multi course meals every night. I really don’t know how they did it.

The Dowager should have every reason to ask “What is Black Friday?” since this is an American invention dating back to the 19th century.  Perhaps we can bridge the cultural gap with the introduction of today’s Downton dish: Drop Scones.  They are not like American drop biscuits, but rather delicious mini (pocket) pancakes.  Imagine tucking a few of them into your pockets as a snack during your Black Friday shopping marathon.

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Harvest Time Pumpkin Spices Stimulate our Delicate Downton Senses

While our American neighbors  celebrated Columbus Day yesterday, Canadians were elbow deep in turkey and all the fixins. Nephew Lord C and his mom Lady J did not fail to disappoint at our family gathering this year with a 20 pound free range turkey and a whopping 8 sides.  With a tribute to the US, we did have a taste of lasagna as a starter. Food coma.

While US Thanksgiving is the jumping off point for the holiday season, our Canadian Thanksgiving triggers pumpkin season for me. Today’s treat is pumpkin bread, a low fat quick bread which fills your home with the smell of those lovely pumpkin spices.

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