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 S6E7: Love is in the Air as is the Smell of Apple Crumble Baking

S6OppositesAttract
…but do they live happily ever after?

Lord D and I spent a wonderful St. Valentine’s Day together, taking time for each other after a hectic week, and ignoring the frigid temperatures outside. He made his famous pork roast dinner (featured in Abbey Cooks Entertain), served with my homemade applesauce and horseradish. After tucking into comforting apple crumble, we  topped off the evening with the latest installment of Downton Abbey.

Brace yourselves, we only have 2 episodes left. Start polishing your silver for your finale party, the series finale will be broadcast on March 6th. I believe I am mentally prepared to say goodbye to Downton, hoping to look forward to The Gilded Age, Julian’s next project which will focus on the millionaire titans of New York.

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. Charlie Carson is tricked into cooking dinner for his wife so he would gain an appreciation for cookery. Today’s recipe is a scrumptious apple-cheddar crumble, a dish Mr. Carson barely stayed awake to enjoy.

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Downton S6E6: Smoked Salmon and Other Romantic Gestures

S6E6Openhouse (2)
Downton opens their doors for charity. Grand homes now open their doors for survival.

We have reached another milestone in the final season of Downton Abbey. Last night was our final standoff against the Super Bowl. Regardless of the ratings, it is sad to think that we won’t have the same battle for the best screen in the house next year. How are your Valentine’s Day plans coming? Perhaps you and your loved one will be cuddled up watching Downton together. I know Lord D and I will be.
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. We continue to see how food plays a role in adjusting to married life. We have recently prepared a lovely duck dish which Elsie prepares for dinner, so we will focus on her first course of smoked salmon, one of my favorites. Continue reading Downton S6E6: Smoked Salmon and Other Romantic Gestures

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Downton S6E5: Adjusting to Married Life with Bubble and Squeak

S6E5PattyPans
Mr. Carson is a new husband training.

January has come and gone in a flash and now Valentine’s Day is looming on the horizon. I am a lucky lady. Every day in our household is filled with love to the point that my girlfriends beg Lord D to give lessons to their husbands on how to give flowers for no reason. To pay it forward I have listed a few dishes below which will thrill your Downton fan.

Now that Charlie Carson wed Elise Hughes (S6E3), we are granted a view of how the new couple adjusts to married life. Mrs. Hughes ran the household not the kitchen, so how does a man with exacting standards adjust to a wife who does not cook? And how will Mrs. Hughes gently adjust his expectations? This will be fun to watch.

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. As the newlyweds adjust to married life this week’s recipe is  Bubble and Squeak, an easy dish which any new cook can master, even if Mr. Carson finds it odd that Mrs. Hughes likes to pair it with lamb.

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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 Soup Kitchens Serve Borscht to Russian Refugees

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Downton wins NTA and SAG awards this week.

January is almost behind us but we have had plenty of distractions to keep our mind off the short days and long winter nights.  Not only did Downton Abbey won Best Drama at Britain’s National Television Awards last week, they picked up the Drama Ensemble Award at last night’s SAG awards.  Joanne Froggatt was so kind to specifically thank us viewers for our support.  You can view the “ensemble” acceptance speech below in the Downton Dish section.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, Scots around the world celebrated poet Rabbie Burns this weekend (more below).

In tribute to the Russian refugees who Rose adopted and whom Violet has a connection with, this week’s dish is Beef Beet Borscht, a traditional Russian dish.  It is hearty healthy and inexpensive soup, perfect to feed your own army during the cold winter months.

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Celebrating the UK Launch of Downton Season 5 And My 200th Post

S5Donk
Someone learns a new word in S5E1.

It is time to celebrate. Scotland is still part of the UK (apologies to those who wished to separate,  but we would have really missed you), and ITV has begun broadcasting Season 5 of Downton in the UK.  I won’t comment on E1 other than to say that Season 5 starts off like a wonderful stew set on simmer, which is key to blending flavors, and that “donk” is my new favorite word.

It is also my 200th post here. I still wonder about where my passion for this show and its food comes from. So many stories, glimpses into food history, and  wonderful Downton inspired dishes. The dishes are catalogued in the Recipe Index.  Some of them and many others are perfectly packaged in my online cookbook Abbey Cooks Entertain, always at the ready on your smartphone or tablet.

I can’t believe I haven’t already shared this recipe from my cookbook, but I can’t  think of any better recipe to celebrate than Lord D’s Pork Roast.  

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Ease into Summer with Grilled Salmon & Boozy Rhubarb Sauce

Time to kick back and relax
Even Mr. Bates takes time to kick back and relax

Now that the US, UK and Canada have enjoyed long weekends this month (and other countries in hot pursuit) we can all in the mood for taking it a little easier at work and enjoying life outdoors. Less time looking for missing files, more time searching for gardening tools.  Your accounting skills now are put to use calculating your golf index and how much food to buy per person for the camping trip. Organizational talents range from BBQ grill management to pulling together details for your neighborhood street party.  Forecasting is all about looking up at the clouds. And then there is freezer inventory.

Our annual family”Fishing Like A Crawley” fishing trip is a month away.  We still have salmon and a bit of ling cod left in our freezer from last year (thanks to vacuum packing) so we have been gifting to friends and colleagues what we can’t eat ourselves.  In keeping with my rhubarb series, today we are making Grilled Salmon with Sherry Rhubarb Sauce using rhubarb in a main course dish, in a wonderful boozy sherry sauce.

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Easing into Summer on Victoria Day with Healthy Rhubarb Crumble

QueenVictoria This is the weekend that all Canadians look forward to: Victoria Day, celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria, our first sovereign queen.  May 24th marks her official birthday, but the holiday falls on the last Monday before May 25.  While still proud of our English heritage, this holiday takes on a special meaning marking the changing of the seasons.  The fear of frost has almost passed so many will be planting their gardens–which is what I will be doing–and city dwellers will be fighting horrific traffic to enjoy Canada’s beautiful lakes, mountains and forests.  Also known as the May Two-Four, the Canadian slang for a case of twenty-four beers (a “two-four”), a drink popular during the long weekend.

It is time for us to turn to summer foods with fresh fruit and less time in the kitchen.   My rhubarb is growing like weeds with all the rain we are having in this area.  A healthier rhubarb crumble is just the meal to slide into a slower summer pace.

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