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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 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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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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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.

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Celebrate Bonfire Night with Comfort Foods Like British Flapjacks

The Guy Mask
The Guy Mask- you may have seen the mask but not know its history.

“Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason & Plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot.” Traditional British Rhyme A lesser known holiday to Americans, tonight is Guy Fawkes Day, aka Bonfire Night, celebrated across the United Kingdom marking the failed attempt of Guy Fawkes to blow up English Parliament on November 5, 1605.  Bonfires were set alight on that night when the plot was revealed, celebrating the safety of the King James I and the tradition has continued.  For four hundred years, the anniversary is commemorated fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on huge bonfires, and of course lots of warming foods and drinks. Today’s traditional bonfire treat are flapjacks. Flapjacks in the UK are not the same as pancakes.  They are a delicious granola bar which are as addictive as they are nutritious. You can imagine tucking into this treats around the bonfire, sharing insights on this season of Downton with friends, family and neighbors. Continue reading Celebrate Bonfire Night with Comfort Foods Like British Flapjacks

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Downton Cooking Basics: How To Make The Best Scrambled Eggs

Tea at the Cadogan
Granny would have had tea Cadogan, serving Afternoon tea since 1887.

It has been an interesting few days in the online world of Downton Abbey.  There is another  plot twist afoot in Season 4, so if you don’t want to know anything about Season 4 before January’s launch, I would strongly advise you stay away from social media for the next three months.

For all fans of Downton I thought you might enjoy travel back to episodes we have all seen and take a cooking lesson in memory of dear Lady Sybil.  Today we learn how to make creamy scambled eggs, fit for the Downton upstairs breakfast room, but easily made in your own Abbey.  Save your milk.  Properly made scrambled eggs are a simple mixture of eggs with a little butter, prepared in a saucepan, not a skillet.

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Tea Tuesday: Celebrate Halloween Downton Style with Irish Barmbrack

A haunted Halloween tea party

Welcome Downton Abbey fans.  It’s a spooky Tea Tuesday, Halloween is a day away, and the East coast of US and Canada coping with the effects from Hurricane Sandy.  We have had high gusting winds and pouring rain in our area, but fortunately no damage. I pray you are taking necessary precautions to keep you, your family and your community safe.  If you are out of harms way, but have no power,  you should be fine with a well stocked pantry.  Just try to imagine you are living in the Edwardian era when there was no electricity.

UK fans will be viewing the Season 3 finale next Sunday, while Americans are looking forward to the Jan. 6 PBS launch.  There really is something special about watching Downton on PBS Masterpiece. 

Join me each Tuesday as I dish on Downton Abbey, the Royal Family, UK tourism and other topical tea issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a tea treat 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. In honor of the holiday, today’s treat is Irish Barnbrack, traditionally served at Halloween.

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Tea Tuesday: Witty Downton Retorts Served with Custard Tarts

Award winning afternoon tea at the Palm Court in Langham Hotel in London.

Welcome to Tea Tuesday, my weekly tribute to the art of having tea. As Henry James once said: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

I host Tea Tuesday each week, a virtual tea party which was inspired by Christine, a follower who lives in France, who was curious about English tea traditions after watching a few episodes of Downton Abbey. The British may have failed miserably in other culinary areas, but they excel in the tea ritual. Join me every Tuesday as I dish on Downton Abbey, the Royal Family, UK tourism and other topical tea issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a tea treat recipe with a history.

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