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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Downton S6E4 Served at Luncheon with Chicken Liver Pâté

6E4Gwen
S1 Maid Gwen returns upstairs as Mrs. Harding. (ITV)

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.

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Things are Heating Up at Downton in S06E2, Perhaps it is the Horseradish

S6E2WigsontheGreen
The gloves and wigs are off over the hospital.

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.

In keeping with tradition here, I will continue to share a recipe from each episode which gets on screen mention as my love letter to the Downton kitchen staff and to those fans who love the food on the show. Today’s recipe is homemade horseradish, which really is quite easy to make yourself. Continue reading Things are Heating Up at Downton in S06E2, Perhaps it is the Horseradish

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From Jessica Fellowes to Afternoon Tea, Downton Abbey is All Around Us

S6 Cast photo
The Official Season 6 Photo

By the time leaves begin to change, the lazy days of summer are long behind us. Schedules are packed with activities, and for Lord D and I, that has meant much Downton. To begin with Season 6 launched in the UK (I promise no spoilers).  Next, I gave a Downton Afternoon Tea talk recently(and have more planned). Also, my virtual friend Jessica Fellowes was in town. If you have a chance to see her speak, do not deny yourself the opportunity. Finally, now that Thanksgiving is upon us Christmas is not far away. Yes, it is busy times.

The English don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as one day, but while here we traditionally turkey, gravy, and pumpkin pie (follow the links for those recipes), I thought I would share Jamie Kennedy’s recipe for Roast and Confit of Duck, a wonderful dish Lord D and I enjoyed at What’s Cooking Bracebridge. It’s very Downton.

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The Downton Abbey Wedding Curse

Atticus & Rose marry
Atticus & Rose marry, but will it be happily ever after? (ITV)

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.

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Cocktails at Downton? Perhaps the End is Near

Cocktailparties
Changing times in the UK

It is finally February and a busy TV Sunday in many households as Downton Abbey competed once again with Super Bowl. While we could never hope to outshine football, in 2014 PBS reported that for the third year in a row, Downton Abbey “was the #2 rated 9pm show to the Super Bowl with a 4.9 overnight rating (Nielsen Overnight Metered Markets).” Sounds like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day (which is also today), repeating itself.The social media buzz this week concerns Julian Fellows’ new NBC project Guilded Age, taking place in New York in the 1880s. Julian can’t write both shows equally well (his Titanic mini-series bombed), so the birth of Guilded Age means the death of Downton. Perhaps it is time as the Dowager can’t live forever. I know in my heart that we will be able to love again.On the show this week Downton finally catches up with the times as the Crawley family hosted a cocktail party. To help you host your own party I provide some period food and drink suggestions, and this week’s recipe is Parmesan Straws, a wonderful recipe from Jessica Fellowe’s new book  A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes. Continue reading Cocktails at Downton? Perhaps the End is Near

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Spotted Dick Served With Your Downton Abbey

Spotted Dick
For the uninitiated, Spotted Dick is a lovely steamed English pudding.

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.

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Your Online Guide to Hosting A Downton Abbey Themed Party

DiningatDownton
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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Downton Cooking Lesson: It’s All Gravy

S5 MrsHughes It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.  The Dowager might very well have asked her American nemesis Martha Levinson “What is Thanksgiving?” The British do not celebrate a one day feast; instead there is month of Harvest Festival events.

The Canadian Thanksgiving holiday was officially proclaimed by  Parliament in 1879 and draws upon three traditions: European harvest celebrations; the first North American Thanksgiving (1578) observed by Martin Frobisher in the Arctic Circle; and the Pilgrims’ 1621 first celebration in Massachusetts.  In 1957, the date was set for Second Monday in October, and of course Americans know that US Thanksgiving is the held the 4th Thursday in November.

In light of the harvest which leads to the holiday season, this week features an easy turkey gravy, the pièce de résistance of the turkey dinner. “It’s all gravy” is an English idiom, one of many we will explore over the coming weeks to share at the dining table.

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