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…
Season 5 of Downton Abbey can now be seen Sunday nights at 9 PM on PBS. We are now half way through the season. Some appetizing articles to whet your appetite while we wait for the next course of Downton. Topping the list this week is the suggestion that Downton will end with Season 6.
- Watch The Great British Bake Off? I know you do, so what’s all the fuss about?
- Downton Politics? Congressman Aaron Schock defends his Downton-themed Red Room.
- Are Isis’s Days Numbered? The Press speculated that her unfortunate name was to blame.
- Isis killed off because of Islamist? You are a complete berk if you believe that says Hugh Bonneville.
What happened in S5E6
A quick recap of what went down and upstairs this past week.
- Edith gets the news that she has been dreading, that Michael Gregson was killed in Munich at the hands of Hitler’s thugs.
- To try to lighten things up, Rose suggests that the family go down to Canningford and see the point-to-point (steeple chase) race together.
- Charles and Tony are already racing so Mary decides to cease the opportunity to show them all what they are missing.
- Carson and Mrs. Hughes are in tow as Mrs. Patmore checks out a cottage property as an investment. This prompts Carson to invite Mrs. Hughes to share in an income property as well.
- Atticus Aldridge’s parents, Lord and Lady Sinderby, are very well-off and a large part of the race, an opportunity for Rose to introduce the families.
- Mary decides to try on a bob, the latest hairstyle. Yes she can pull it off.
- Mary rides side saddle in the point-to-point, ladies can ride in the event you know, and gleefully finishes as first lady.
- Isis isn’t feeling well. Will there be a funeral this year after all?
- Robert is forced out of pouting over Simon Bricker when Cora calls him on his own flirtations in the past.
- Prince Kuragin professes his ongoing love for Violet…
- Bates and Anna argue over the Married Love book stored at the cottage, and Bates reveals he knew it was Green who had raped Anna, and that his unused ticket was his proof of innocence. Little do he, she or Mrs. Hughes know that Mary burned it.
- Edith, in her grief, decides to collect Marigold and leave Downton so they can be together, drinking champagne and eating ice cream in the the sunset together.
- My favorite quote (Mrs. Patmore to Daisy, referring to Molesley’s offer to help her with her schooling).
Birds do it..let’s fall in love
The customs associated with Valentine’s Day had their origin in the popular belief held by people in Great Britain and France during 14th and 15th century that birds begin to mate on February 14, halfway through the month of February. Lovers, therefore found St. Valentine’s Day an appropriate time to send love letters and gifts to beloved. The Romantic image of a day of celebration was further established by English and French poets and writers who drew parallel between mating of birds and St Valentine’s Day. Shortened to become Valentine’s Day cards.
Downton Abbey couple food pairings
While there are many couples on Downton Abbey, I have dedicated posts to a few of our favorites in past seasons. A recap:
Valentine’s Day Ideas for All Ages
While Valentine’s Day is celebrated in different ways around the world, most do involve a show of hearts, flowers and chocolate! Lord D and I treat every day as if it is Valentine’s Day so it is just another day in paradise. Creating a special romantic meal can be as simple as making everything heart shaped, including sandwiches.
Main Courses: keep it light
Sweets for the Sweet
…or how about a Valentine’s Day-themed Afternoon Tea?
Abbey Cooks Entertain: 2nd Edition
A new season means viewing parties. Whether you are hosting 2 or 20, this book has lots of ideas. Containing 220+ traditional Downton era recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to create some simple or complex dishes for your Mary or Anna. My chapter on the Cocktail party includes drink recipes dating back to the Savoy. Cocktail Index.
This 448 page ebook has been updated to include both metric and imperial measurements and now includes famous Downton dishes from Season 1-5. Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to provide you new recipes on a regular basis.
This ebook is now available exclusively on Amazon: Abbey Cooks Entertain: 220 recipes inspired by Downton Abbey, Seasons 1 – 5
Print Version is here. The good news is that the 2nd Edition is available on Amazon. The full book is 450 pages and will contain famous Downton recipes from Seasons 1-5. The not so great news is that with the size of the book, Amazon needs to charge Lady Mary price to recoup their printing costs.
The Victoria Sandwich: Beloved Downton Tea Cake
While Victoria Sandwich never seems to get an on air mention, you can get a glimpse of it displayed as the cake of choice for tea on Downton. Afternoon Tea is a lovely English tradition (not be be confused with “High Tea”. If you recall from my online Guide to Afternoon Tea, it was one of Queen Victoria’s Lady’s in Waiting who came up with the great idea of having food with tea in her chambers to bridge the gap between lunch and late dinners.
After the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria withdrew from society, but was eventually encouraged resume her civil duties by hosting her own tea parties at which a sponge cake would be served. The cake was named after her and became fashionable throughout Victorian England, and has been passed down through generations. Perhaps Queen Victoria’s reintroduction to society through tea and cake was the secret to her longevity.
Our S5 Downton connection to Queen Victoria was when Violet attended Prince Alfred’s wedding in 1874 to Grand Duchess Maria, the daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. That is where sparks flew between her and the young Russian Prince.
This is a great dish for beginners since you don’t have to worry about icing. A traditional Victorian sandwich consists of jam and/or whipped cream sandwiched between two layers of sponge cake. The top of the cake is generally not iced or decorated, except for a sprinkling of confectioners’ (icing) sugar, sometimes over a doily to create a lacy pattern.
Todays recipe comes from The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets
Tools of the Trade
Cooks, like other professionals, have their tools and as Mrs. Patmore says “it is a poor workman who blames his tools”. You can make do with the basics, but as you gain confidence and love for cooking, you should start to recognize items to help you cook. Mrs. Patmore didn’t electronic gadgets to cook with so be assured you can make do without the expensive gizmos. This section helps you identify some equipment that I use. Amazon has an amazing inventory of kitchen gadgets to add your own touch.
Mini heart shaped springform pans for your Valentine
For Your Downton Abbey Collection
Marvelous additions to your Downton Collection.