Downton Abbey Series Finale – And They Were All Happy Enough

FinalDownton
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 S6E8: Downton Abbey Has Gone Completely Bananas

S6BE8Bananas
Bananas was a great word to describe this episode: that Spratt!

Wow, there was quite a bit of drama to absorb this week on Downton; I am sorry to have to spoil the fun, but there is only one episode left of Downton Abbey. It is the traditional extended Christmas Special that we have come to love over the years, but this one will be bittersweet. Mark your calendars (or keep tabs on the countdown clock at right) and bring out the good silverware, the finale is March 6, 2016. It also happens to be a couple days after my birthday, so thanks PBS for making my year. Be sure use my handy index to help plan your own fabulous finale party.

In keeping with tradition, I will continue to share one recipe from each episode as my love letter to the Downton kitchen staff and to those fans who love the food on the show. This week’s recipe is a mashup of two story lines. The Crawleys saved Mrs. Patmore’s Bed & Breakfast with Afternoon tea, so I knew we would be baking something for tea.  We already have a delicious scone recipe, so I thought traditional Cornish Banana Cake would be appropriate, considering “banana” was used as a code word at the magazine. If you are looking for a more health conscious banana recipe, there is always my fabulous banana breads.

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Valentine’s Day Love at Downton Abbey is Served with Victoria Sandwich

RoseandAtticus
Downton’s latest couple: Rose and Atticus (ITV)

Love is in the air as we count down the days until Valentine’s Day. This season of Downton Abbey is certainly filled with love connections, some in the most unexpected places. While we see sparks fly between Rose and Atticus, it is lovely to see Isobel and Lord Merton find new love in their golden years.  And who knew that the prim and proper Violet had a secret past with a dashing Russian Prince?  While she might be tempted to run off with Prince Kuragin, she does make a good point that there is no one run from. Mabel Lane Fox is certainly trying to rekindle her love with Tony with Charles’ help. And Mary is just happy being Mary.

Sadly there is no dish which gets on-air mention in this week’s episode (unless you count ice cream, but it is not really the season for it), but we do see Daisy putting the finishing touches on a Victoria Sandwich.  If you notice this season (see below) it is the favorite tea cake of choice at Downton, a regular cast member often sitting demurely on camera. So for the love of a good cake…

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Downton Cooking Basics: How To Make The Best Scrambled Eggs

Tea at the Cadogan
Granny would have had tea Cadogan, serving Afternoon tea since 1887.

It has been an interesting few days in the online world of Downton Abbey.  There is another  plot twist afoot in Season 4, so if you don’t want to know anything about Season 4 before January’s launch, I would strongly advise you stay away from social media for the next three months.

For all fans of Downton I thought you might enjoy travel back to episodes we have all seen and take a cooking lesson in memory of dear Lady Sybil.  Today we learn how to make creamy scambled eggs, fit for the Downton upstairs breakfast room, but easily made in your own Abbey.  Save your milk.  Properly made scrambled eggs are a simple mixture of eggs with a little butter, prepared in a saucepan, not a skillet.

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Tea Tuesday: Traditional Courting Cake

Its time for Wimbleton and themed teas
Its time for Wimbleton and themed afternoon tennis teas

I have been waiting for summer to arrive since last fall, and finally it is here.  This week I will be leaving for our annual family fishing trip to the West Coast which I have written about more than once.  I will be offline for a week or two. Sadly our travel plans through the Rockies might be changed with the flood damage to the Calgary area.  Equally disappointing will be  a smaller version of the world famous Calgary Stampede as flood waters have completed covered the grounds.  My mom thoroughly enjoys putting her horse on display in the horse barns every year.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose homes have been ravaged by nature.

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.

This week’s treat, Courting Cake, is inspired by our son Master Stephen and his girlfriend Lady Emma, who stopped by this weekend on their way to spend a year in Australia together.

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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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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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The Easiest Breakfast Dish is Breakfast Pudding

What will Daisy be cooking in Season 3? (ITV)

It’s the last week of August and time when many of us begin to mentally prepare for the end of the lazy days of Summer and the return to busy schedules of the Fall and Winter season, when the kids are in school and superiors/co-workers are back from holiday with lots of great ideas to implement.  For Downton Abbey fans in the UK, the end of Summer brings a new Season of their favorite period drama. Continue reading The Easiest Breakfast Dish is Breakfast Pudding

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This Chocolate Genoise Cake is Fit for Your King or Queen

Dads are used to taking back seat to Moms.

Father’s Day was celebrated in many countries around the world yesterday. Most fathers seem to take the day in stride; when I called my Dad, he was busy digging through the freezer looking for crab to cook for his Father’s Day meal.  At our house, Lord D prepared a wonderful grilled steak feast for myself and son Master James.  The day got a bit of an upgrade this year since Lord D’s birthday is today.  So while he does not normally like to embrace his Father’s Day or his birthday (totally opposite to me), I did take the opportunity of the double celebration to make him feel a little like royalty with a special cake we will get to later.

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“Life IS Downton Abbey”. What a gem..or is that muffin?

Spoofs: the sincerest form of flattery

The phrase “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery”, is credited to Charles Caleb Colton, in Lacon: or, Many things in few words in 1820.  Downton Abbey has certainly seen its share of tributes as well as parodies, such as Downton Arby’s, Downton Sixby circulating on the web, and little references finding their way into scripts of other shows. A current favorite circulating around Twitter is from the Office: Jim: “Life is not Downton Abbey“.  Pam:  “Life IS Downton Abbey“.

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