Downton S6E8: Downton Abbey Has Gone Completely Bananas

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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Add Some Downton Touches to Your Holiday Table

gourds and candles make a lovely Thanksgiving table photo: Hudson Grows

Across America, experienced cooks are finalizing their Thanksgiving dinner menus, and double checking their order for fresh turkey.  Less experienced cooks are summoning up the courage to take on their first big meal, excited about starting new family traditions of their own, but nervous about how it will all come together. The rest are finalizing their travel plans or still scrambling to find a spot at a dinner table somewhere.

Thanksgiving is a North American holiday so the Dowager may well ask “What is a Thanksgiving Dinner?” The British don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the same way.  Instead, harvest festivals are held across the UK during the month of October, but there is no big holiday meal.  In Canada our Thanksgiving holiday is held the second Monday in October, presumably since our growing season is shorter.  It has nothing on American Thanksgiving as I learned from living in the US.  As an outsider, it occurs to me that it has greater significance as a time to gather family and friends than Christmas.  For that, America, do give thanks this holiday weekend.

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Kedgeree, Mrs. Patmore’s First Dish

Welcome to Downton Abbey (ITV)

I often wonder whether my degree in History has any practical application in life, particularly since I ended up not pursuing law (sorry, Cousin Matthew) and became a corporate marketer.  I do think though, that studying history has impacted the way I view the world; I tend not to take things at face value and strive to understand how things came into being.

So when Mrs. Patmore places that first wonderful silver dish into the hands of the footmen to take upstairs, I had to learn more about what was in that pot and where it came from.   The Brits love the dish, that they now serve as a weekend brunch item.  It is simple to make, uses up leftovers and tastes amazing.  Mrs. Patmore was very clever indeed.  Continue reading Kedgeree, Mrs. Patmore’s First Dish