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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.

Continue reading Your Online Guide to Hosting A Downton Abbey Themed Party

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Celebrate Bonfire Night with Comfort Foods Like British Flapjacks

The Guy Mask
The Guy Mask- you may have seen the mask but not know its history.

“Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason & Plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot.” Traditional British Rhyme A lesser known holiday to Americans, tonight is Guy Fawkes Day, aka Bonfire Night, celebrated across the United Kingdom marking the failed attempt of Guy Fawkes to blow up English Parliament on November 5, 1605.  Bonfires were set alight on that night when the plot was revealed, celebrating the safety of the King James I and the tradition has continued.  For four hundred years, the anniversary is commemorated fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on huge bonfires, and of course lots of warming foods and drinks. Today’s traditional bonfire treat are flapjacks. Flapjacks in the UK are not the same as pancakes.  They are a delicious granola bar which are as addictive as they are nutritious. You can imagine tucking into this treats around the bonfire, sharing insights on this season of Downton with friends, family and neighbors. Continue reading Celebrate Bonfire Night with Comfort Foods Like British Flapjacks

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Halloween Downton Dining Upstairs with Squash Risotto

Turnip lantern
Turnips were the first jack o lanterns

We are a few days from Halloween. Did you know that Halloween has ancient origins in Ireland? It was originally called Samhain, and the day marked the end of the harvest season for Celtic farmers. Irish immigrants brought their traditions to America and adapted to their new surroundings. Originally, turnips served as Jack o Lanterns, but pumpkins are so much easier to carve.

This week we recap a couple of traditional Irish served at recipes which would have been enjoyed by Branson’s family, but if you like Lady Mary who really doesn’t really do Halloween, your cook can quickly create a quick and lovely orange squash risotto. Continue reading Halloween Downton Dining Upstairs with Squash Risotto

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Downton Abbey and Thanksgiving “Makeovers”

Getting ready to open its doors for Season 3

Thanksgiving in the US has past, and many are still savoring “leftovers” from huge family dinners.  I never really liked the term “leftover” as it carries a negative connotation, as if the food has lost some value somehow.  I like to use the term “makeover”, implying that yesterday’s fabulous meal will taste even better today with a few touches, and more love added in.  I often find that many dishes take on new lives when enjoyed the second time around. Today’s dish is a prime example.  Colcannon (a mashed mixture of potatoes and cabbage) is sinfully delightful when made into Colcannon cakes.  This is definitely a Lord D favorite.

Continue reading Downton Abbey and Thanksgiving “Makeovers”


Celebrating Downton’s Irish with Stew

St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland

March 17 marks Saint Patrick’s Day (aka St. Patrick’s Day, St. Paddy’s Day, St. Patty’s Day), a cultural and religious holiday which celebrates the life of Saint Patrick, who died on that date way back in the fifth century.  Patrick has endured as the most commonly recognized patron saint of Ireland, credited for bringing Christianity to Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and continues to have religious significance.  It has also gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture, where people line up for hours for the privilege of cramming into a pub to drink green beer or Guinness.  I recall a childhood where vicious class mates threatened pinches if we didn’t wear green on that day. They weren’t even Irish. Continue reading Celebrating Downton’s Irish with Stew

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Fine Dining at Bates’ Red Lion With Colcannon

PBS fans are midway through Season 2 of Downton Abbey. UK viewers/DVD collectors who have seen all episodes could be feeling smug in their knowledge–me included–but the series is so rich that I have no problem watching the older episodes a few more times. Besides, September is a long time to wait for Season 3 and life in the 1920s. Continue reading Fine Dining at Bates’ Red Lion With Colcannon