Downton Abbey Series Finale – And They Were All Happy Enough

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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 S6E6: Smoked Salmon and Other Romantic Gestures

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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

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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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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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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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Final Days until Historic Vote & Downton S5 in the UK

ScottishEnglish It is a historic week in the UK. While American Downton Abbey fans might be envious about the launch of Season 5 on ITV this Sunday, it is the Scottish Referendum which has the captured the world’s attention.  This Thursday, September 18th, Scots will vote on a simple question “Should Scotland  be an independent country?  To keep up to date, follow BBC coverage at Scotland Decides.

In this last week of Downton Downtime in the UK, today’s dish is Made Over Pork Stew. I prefer to use the term “made over” over “left over” when creating a downstairs dish from the remainders of an upstairs meal.

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Plastic Water Bottle Leaves Egg on Face of Downton Promoters

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The now famous water bottle shot.

Much to the surprise of Downton fans everywhere, our favorite show has been getting some unexpected press this week.  Known for their attention to historical accuracy,  sharp eyed fans were aghast when a plastic water bottle was spotted on the Crawley  mantle in a Season 5 promotional photo released on Instagram.  The photo has since been taken down, but has the damage was already done.  It has since made the rounds on social media and broadcast news shows across the country. Alastair Bruce, the show’s historical advisor, will certainly have been in a huddle with Julian Fellowes over this slip up.  Even if they have a bit of egg on their face, in the end though, there is something to be said for the saying “there is no such thing as bad publicity”.  In fact, lemons have now been turned into lemonade as the cast has now posed in a fun photo to help support the UK agency WaterAid

Speaking of eggs, today’s dish is a simple one: poached eggs. Poached eggs are easy to make and keep for a larger group for your weekend brunch.   It is one of those dishes that Mrs. Patmore would have taught Sybil once she mastered boiling an egg.  I make them almost every week for Lord D, and it is one of the 220 recipes in my book, Abbey Cooks Entertain, but for some reason I have not shared it here.   A simple dish, all you need is fresh eggs, a pot of water, a bit of vinegar and 4 minutes.

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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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Mother’s Day Tea is Always a Great Last Minute Idea

A simple cream tea
A simple cream tea makes a great gift.

Mother’s Day is tomorrow in the US and Canada.  Are you ready?  My mom lives across the country so I have my card in the post, with  a gift card for her favorite local restaurant, and a promise to Skype tomorrow.

For those of you blessed to have your Mother living within driving distance, it can be a struggle to decide how to celebrate the day with her.  If you missed out on brunch reservations, might I suggest that you try a tea party.  Your heritage might be linked to the British Empire, but I think I am safe in saying that Moms generally appreciate any meal they don’t have to cook, particularly if sweets are involved.  If you have siblings with little girls, you can gather the whole troop together, and let the kids experience a fun version of tea.

Today we recap tea ideas and continue our series on rhubarb with rhubarb ginger jam, a lovely mix of flavours.

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