Posted on

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.

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

Share
Posted on

Summer is The Time for Fools, A Downton Favorite

HighSummer
Summer blooms at Highclere

It never ceases to amaze me how Spring weather transitions into Summer in a matter of days.  Even more sad though is how quickly time passes in Summer months.  Granted we are annually tortured for about of month of hot then cold weather in the Spring, making wardrobe decisions very challenging.  But then one day it arrives in your part of the world.  Sadly, this week my parents had snow in Calgary while we enjoyed 80+ heat, but their time will come soon. I hope so, the family fishing trip up to Alaska is coming up quick, followed by booth duty at the  Calgary Stampede’s Horse Haven.  Plus I am almost finished transitioning my wardrobe and focusing on my golf game.

When it’s hot outside the last thing we want to do is heat up our kitchens.  Time to simplify our cooking methods.  Desserts should be easy and refreshing and it is no wonder that we keep coming back to time honored traditions.  I have yet another rhubarb recipe to share this week, rhubarb fool, a traditional British favorite.

Enjoy your summer and I will pop in from time to time to update you with new recipes.  In the meantime, there are around 200 recipes in the Recipe Index to keep you company.

Continue reading Summer is The Time for Fools, A Downton Favorite

Share
Posted on

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.

Continue reading Easing into Summer on Victoria Day with Healthy Rhubarb Crumble

Share
Posted on

Downton Abbey Fans See Red When They Think About Green

S4E3BustaGut
The kitchen staff preparing for another party at Downton.

Just as Downton fans were starting to recover from the S3 shock of Matthew’s passing, Sunday’s episode confirmed that there are fates worse than death, and bad things still happen to really nice people on that show. When I first saw this episode on ITV this fall, I thought it was odd that “viewer discretion was advised”.  The same warning was broadcast last night.  By the end of the show we all understood why.  Anna Bates, played by Joanne Froggatt is brutally attacked by Mr. Green, a visiting valet.  The controversial scene was watched by more than 9 million people in the UK on ITV, prompted outrage among some viewers and a huge amount of coverage and debate in the media. A total of 244 complaints were made to Ofcom (media regulator), with around 200 received by ITV.  In the end Ofcom did not investigate the matter further.  We shall see how America reacts.  Sadly, the plotline reveals a darker side of servant life. 

This week’s dish is Syllabub, one of many dishes being served at Downton to their visiting guests that fateful weekend.  Simple to make and contains alcohol. You may find it helps calm frazzled viewer’s nerves.

Continue reading Downton Abbey Fans See Red When They Think About Green

Share
Posted on

Tea Tuesday: We all Scream for Ice Cream and Downton S4

Enjoy a free glass of champagne at
Toast Downton with a free glass of English Sparkling wine at Browns Hotel until Sept. 30

Downton fans across North America are in a funk as we try to be gracious about the Downton launch on ITV next Sunday, while we have to wait for January on PBS.  On the upside we can still look forward to Sept. 22 as the date of the Primetime Emmy Awards.  Downton has garned 12 nominations, including Best Drama.

As you may know, Tea Tuesday is a weekly tradition I started, celebrating the era of “Downton Abbey”, the popular TV show, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe.  Refer to my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea, helpful in understanding the traditions and dishes served at tea.  Each week we take time to take a break to talk Downton and share a recipe which might have been enjoyed upstairs or down.

Today we enjoy the more fruits of the harvest and squeak a few more weeks out of summer with peach and lavender ice cream.  Definately an upstairs dessert.

Downton Dish

We meet again

Unfortunately PBS will not be broadcasting S4 of our beloved show until January (see the countdown clock above) in the US and Canada.  But you can get reacquainted with  If you haven’t seen all seasons (1-3) beware of spoilers below.

Abbey Cooks Entertain: For a Downton-Themed Emmy Party

With 220 traditional Downton era recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to have on hand when planning a Downton cocktail party with fellow fans.

This 432 page ebook sells for only $7.95. Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to keep bringing you new dishes each week. You can only get a signed copy here on my site. If you don’t have an eReader I would suggest the PDF version which allows you to print recipes as you go, if you wish.

Light Peaches and Lavender Ice Cream

lovely taste of summer
lovely light taste of an English garden

Last week we made lavender tea and lavender tea cakes. I also had some peaches from the market so made a batch of ice cream to enjoy before we say goodbye to summer in this part of the world.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 peaches
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dried lavender buds
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup fat free evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup honey

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Place in large roasting pan, cut side up. Drizzle with the honey and lavender. Roast until golden brown and soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely and peel the skins off the peaches and roughly mash.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the milk, evaporated milk and honey, stirring until the mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. When both fruit and ice cream base have chilled, mix together and freeze for 20 minutes or according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Best enjoyed right out your ice cream maker, but you can freeze and let thaw slightly to regain the great creamy consistency.

Tips on Making Lower Fat Frozen Desserts

Most of the recipes I provide on this site have been lightened to some extent, and in the case of ice creams, use milk or yoghurt in place of cream and eggs.

If you have a family recipe you want to make healthier here are a few tricks which help keep the same creamy consistency:
• Add 1–2 tbsp. cornstarch for every quart of mixture; it serves as a thickening
agent;
• Add 1–2 puréed frozen bananas; it will help provide a creamy texture;
• Replace the cream with fat free evaporated or coconut milk; it will help provide
a creamy consistency;
• Drop in 2–3 tbsp. of vodka or other alcohol into your mixture; it has a lower
freezing point will helps prevents ice crystals from forming.

Books

Amazon Image Gain unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to Downton Abbey in this official Season 4 tie-in book, complete with never-before-seen photos giving fans insight into the making of the runaway hit.

 

 

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”0385344961″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uhXRfNyTL._SL160_.jpg” width=”104″]

 

Share
Posted on

Tea Tuesday: Labour Day Lavender Blues

lavender blue chairs at the  Capital Hotel
Shop at Harrods then settle into the lavender   blue chairs at Capital Hotel for tea.

The US and Canada celebrated Labour Day yesterday. The long weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the last day of freedom for many children who are back to school today. As adults we also feel the blues of carefree days by the lake basked in sunshine. The days will be soon be getting shorter and cooler for us in the Northern Hemisphere, but for now I am only lavender blue since there are still a few more weeks of official summer left.

Labour Day dates back to 1882 and I like to believe the story that Americans were inspired by Toronto’s Labour Festival.  The no whites after labour day rule is another signal that the seasons are changing.  Traditionally white clothing (linens) was worn in warmer temperatures and when the wealthy packed up their summer homes at the end of August, they also put away the summer whites until next May.

As you may know, Tea Tuesday is a weekly tradition I started, celebrating the era of “Downton Abbey”, the popular TV show, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe.  Refer to my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea, helpful in understanding the traditions and dishes served at tea.  Each week we take time to take a break to talk Downton and share a recipe which might have been enjoyed upstairs or down.

Today we enjoy the fruits of the harvest. You don’t need a lot of space to grow lavender and once harvested, you can make wonderful Lavender Lemon Tea Cakes and tea.

Continue reading Tea Tuesday: Labour Day Lavender Blues

Share
Posted on

Tea Tuesday: Downton Downstairs Dessert: Rhubarb Orange Brown Betty

 

Corinthia Hotel London
Corinthia Hotel London offers award winning afternoon tea.

In the land of Downton (and across the British Commonwealth), homage is paid to those who gave their lives for their country on Remembrance Day, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. In the US this is called Veterans Day, celebrating the service of all those who have served their country.  In the US yesterday was Memorial Day, specifically remembering fallen soldiers.   Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day we all lived in a world of peace and harmony?

As you may know, Tea Tuesday is a weekly tradition I started, dishing about Downton Abbey, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe. Refer to my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea, helpful in understanding traditions and recipes to help you host your own tea party with family and friends.

This week’s treat is a lovely Rhubarb Orange Betty.  We have all heard of the apple brown betty, but this version has a delightful flavour of tangy rhubarb, and not paired with traditional strawberry, but with the refreshing taste of orange.  Mrs. Patmore might say that anyone with the use of their limbs can make a brown betty.

Continue reading Tea Tuesday: Downton Downstairs Dessert: Rhubarb Orange Brown Betty

Share
Posted on

Kick off the Season with Rhubarb Puffs

harrods tea
Afternoon Tea at Harrods

Canadians celebrated Queen Victoria’s birthday yesterday, one of our most loved long weekends.  May 24th marks Victoria’s 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 unofficial start to summer.

The fear of frost has passed in most parts of the country so many worked on their gardens, others fought horrific traffic to enjoy Canada’s beautiful lakes, mountains and forests. Also known as the May Two-Four referring to the Queen’s birthday and the Canadian slang for a case of twenty-four beers (a “two-four”), a drink popular with Cannucks during the long weekend.

As you may know, Tea Tuesday is a weekly tradition I started, dishing about Downton Abbey, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe. Refer to my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea, helpful in understanding traditions and recipes to help you host your own tea party with family and friends.

This week’s treat are rhubarb puffs, a great little bite which is the cross between a muffin and a biscuit. Great at tea, brunch or breakfast.

Continue reading Kick off the Season with Rhubarb Puffs

Share
Posted on

Tea Tuesday: Visions of Sugar Plums and Cookbooks Dance in our Heads

lovely tea
lovely tea from Style Pretty

Welcome Downton Abbey fans.  Christmas is just a week away.  Are you ready yet? Have you taken the ladies out for a relaxing tea to unwind? I do love the spa experence, but afternoon tea is so relaxing.  Perhaps someone should combine the two.

Part of our holiday plans recently included a  lovely holiday meal with Lord D’s foodie family; Lord C and his mother Lady J prepared a lovely  turkey dinner for our extended family. Our son, Master S, is visiting from Australia, making it an extra special event.  Shout out to family friends Lord E and Lady K who brought wee Master O to brighten everyone’s day.

Each Tuesday I dish on Downton Abbey and other topical issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a recipe with history. You may find my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea helpful in understanding traditions and recipes to serve at your own tea party.

Today’s treat is Sugar Plums. Do they really dance in children’s heads?  They are really easy to make, and quite healthy for you. Bonus.

Continue reading Tea Tuesday: Visions of Sugar Plums and Cookbooks Dance in our Heads

Share
Posted on

Tea Tuesday: Enjoy Simply Mincemeat Cake for the Holidays

Why not host a Christmas Tea party?

Welcome Downton Abbey fans.  Christmas is only thirteen sleeps away, that time of year when we frantically  try to cram as much merriment as we can into a few weeks. Why not start a new tradition and invite your friends for a relaxing afternoon tea to help calm the nerves?

Each Tuesday I dish on Downton Abbey and other topical issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a recipe with history. You may find my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea helpful in understanding traditions and recipes to serve at your own tea party.  Today’s treat is  Simply Mincemeat Cake, from my new ecookbook Abbey Cooks Entertain.   A simple recipe which provides some of the flavours of Christmas without all the work.

Continue reading Tea Tuesday: Enjoy Simply Mincemeat Cake for the Holidays

Share