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.
Fellow Downton fans across America and Canada have now settled in nicely with Season 6 to keep them warm these cold winter Sunday nights. There are still 6 more episodes to go before the end of this glorious series, and I for one am savoring every last bite of this sumptuous feast.
A wee dram of scotch will help keep Scots warm round the world today as they pipe in the haggis to celebrate Robert Burns Day. A history and less intimidating food choices are listed below.
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. This week we see Daisy taking out her frustrations out on the mashed potatoes, and pudding served as dessert, but it is the chicken liver pâté she was making for Gwen’s luncheon that we will be making today.
The holidays are over. In our home holiday decorations have been carefully packed away along with the old Downton calendar, replaced by Downton Abbey 2016 Wall Calendar waiting to be filled with important dates. I sometimes imagine that the holidays are like life at Downton; a packed social calendar without any work commitments.
It is also the beginning of awards season and we give our condolences to Joanne and Dame Maggie for their loss at the Golden Globes last night, but that show really is not “Downton – worthy” in any event. But time to get on with it, embrace the new year with all that it brings, and enjoy the last season of Downton.
Those who garden realize the rewards of their efforts when the harvest comes. While grocers can now ship produce to us year-round, the best taste still comes from the local harvest. So like Mrs. Patmore smart cooks prepare what is in season for the best taste.
And speaking of our favorite cook, PBS announced the launch date of Season 6 of Downton Abbey, and yes, this will be the last season of this wonderful show. If you have not been following along, Julian Fellowes, who writes the show, has signed a deal to write an American version called The Gilded Age. Since he cannot write two shows at once, it was finally decided that this will be the final season of Downton. We will have to say goodbye, and let our favorite characters live out the rest of their fictional lives off camera.
There are still many months before the launch (The UK will likely see a Sept. launch date), and we should not let the summer harvest pass us by. I visited our family estate (farm) in July and remembererd just how sweet peas are, so today we will be making a simple classic dish of Peas in Béchamel. It can be served upstairs as a side dish or downstairs as Creamed Peas on Toast.
What a marvelous end to Downton Season 5. The Christmas Special was like a perfectly laid out buffet with something for everyone. There were love stories, great injustice, selfless acts, grouse hunting, secret plots, reunions, touching farewells and Christmas carols.
It was a wonderful season, over for us in North America, but yet to be discovered in other parts of the world. Do come back and visit here from time to time as I continue to share the love of food from Downton era. Together we can get through Downton downtime together. I will be regularly sharing new recipes here, but you will find me more active on my Facebook and Twitter pages.
I was particularly delighted that one of the sub plot lines this episode featured “the challenge of the wooden spoon”. Dowager mentions the words of a previous maid ‘every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.” When Miss Denker suggested that those days had not gone, Sprat pressed her to produce her own chicken broth. Seems fitting then that this week’s recipe is chicken broth.
It was a challenging two screen night again this week as Downton and The Academy Awards competed for our attention. No Downton cast members up for awards this week, but perhaps one day there will be a Downton movie of the like of Gosford Park. On a side note I was gratified that the only premier screening Lord D and I caught Toronto Film Festival this year was Still Alice. Julianne Moore was as striking as she was passionate about Alzheimer’s in her opening remarks at the Gala.
In this week’s episode the Crawleys spent most of their time in London. Not much “food name” dropping, although we do see Daisy finishing the wedding cake. A whirlwind of events (the parents of the Groom entertaining, how odd) during the week, Mrs. Patmore suggests she could whip up some soup for a buffet for guests staying at Downton House. So this week’s dish is Cauliflower Soup with Truffle Oil. A simple, yet elegant soup to serve to the most discerning guest on a moment’s notice.
Emotions were heating up the small screen on Downton Abbey this past week. Good thing because it is frigidly cold in many parts of the country, and a cuppa Downton is just what we need. Secrets are revealed, servants are at odds, suitors are spurned, engagements delayed, and a young romance blooming against the odds. We all look forward to celebrating another Downton Wedding.
While there was much drama bubbling this episode, there was not much food of note seen on camera. We do see Mrs. Patmore and Daisy discuss the Labour Government as they prepare a plate of appetizers for a big dinner, so this week we will be making Croque Monsieur, a french comfort food. It is a perfect hot sandwich for lunch or brunch, but this week we will be preparing it as an appetizer fit for the Queen.
It’s Blue Monday, apparently the most depressing day of the year. It is a British thing. While Americans celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King on the third Monday of January, a 2005 promotional campaign for Sky Travel decided we needed to be reminded just how long and bleak winter can feel after the holidays are over, the credit card bills have come in and Spring is far off. It has been scientifically disproven as nonsense, but still lingers. When I lived in Atlanta I was at ground zero for Martin Luther Day, but I should think we should all spend our time today focussing on how we can influence positive outcomes that Dr. King was so passionate about.
And to add more levity to your day, I suppose Julian Fellowes couldn’t hold out any longer. It was finally time to bring out the spotted dick, a classic English pudding served this week on S5E3. Mrs. Patmore delivered the line so quickly there wasn’t much time for snickering. Considering how this episode opens (with Mary in bed with Tony) a little sexual innuendo is not out of place.
It was a great night for American Downton Abbey fans. We had prepared ourselves to watch another great episode of Season 5, but were so thrilled to share in the joy of Joanne Froggatt’s win at the Golden Globes. She won for best supporting actress in a TV series. In her powerful acceptance speech she addressed her controversial storyline in Season 4. “After this storyline aired I received a small number of letters from survivors of rape and one woman summed up the thoughts of many by saying she wasn’t sure why she’d written, but she just felt in some way she wanted to be heard,” she said. Her acceptance speech can be viewed here.
This week’s Downton Dish is pudding. In this week’s episode, the Downton kitchen prepared a Charlotte Russe for the Crawley family, so we will be making a Chocolate Charlotte Russe. A french dessert, it is my small act of solidarity with the French people in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week. On a lighter note, why not serve this dish to your Valentine this year. Lord D loves anything chocolate.
Downton Days are here again on PBS. A brand new year with a brand new glorious commercial free season of Downton, just the way we like it. I was particularly thrilled that the great chefs at PBS didn’t mess with the UK version or feed us extra portions; in past years they would edit the shows and serve E1 and E2 together, which is ever so delicious, but makes the season so much shorter. Season 5 promises to be a great season, full of secrets and love in the most unexpected places. Lord D particularly enjoyed the Manners of Downton Abbey special which followed Episode 1.
Over the past few weeks, many fans approached me for food pairing ideas to celebrate the launch of Season 5. My Online Guide to Hosting a Downton Abbey Party has plenty of ideas. When pressed for a specific dish for this episode, I suggested a flambé (but not disclosing Edith’s bedroom fire), since any time you set fire to food, it is a special occasion. I chose Cherries Jubilee for its simplicity, grand effect, and the connection of its creator, Auguste Escoffier, to Downton Abbey.
A culinary historian and Downton fan (not officially connected to the Show or its producers) fascinated by the fine, yet simple food of the post Edwardian period of Downton Abbey. Great food has a history and connects us with our past. Wouldn't it be lovely to add a touch of elegance to your Abbey?