It is not long America. Season 3 of Downton Abbey will be on PBS Sunday starting January 6. It is time to start getting into the ritual of saving your Sunday nights to watch a Downton episode on DVD, with wine/chocolates, or a cuppa with biscuits or tea treats. Amazon actually has a streaming service so you can download the episodes and watch instantly which is great if you don’t have iTunes. Check out the links below.
Last night’s episode, S3E5 of Downton Abbey was powerful and I strongly advise those of you outside of the UK who are not able to watch the new episodes to stay away from Social Media to avoid seeing any of the major spoilers, but there was enough drama going on in the kitchen to keep me on my toes.
What beginner or non-cooks don’t realize is that not all dishes turn out perfectly. Some disasters make it to the dining room, like the salted raspberry meringue, but for the most part an experienced cook will find ways to divert a crisis. The chicken which landed on the floor was dusted off and sent on its way, the shoddy ingredients for the test wedding cake discovered before anyone actually had to eat it. I am a big fan of testing while I cook! I just lived through “Substitution Saturday” breakfast preparations as weekend guests slept downstairs, when I discovered I was out of applesauce (made puree of canned pears), out of milk (had powdered skim milk), low on eggs (but had frozen egg whites in the freezer). You learn to be quick on your feet, even at 6 am.
This week on Downton we had two kitchen disasters. I was suppose it was about time that another dish ended up on the floor. This time it was kidney soufflé, which was already burnt so I am not sure it was a great loss. I love the taste, but not generally fond of the smell of offals as they are cooking, memories of when my mother used to cook liver.
The other crisis was the hollandaise sauce which had curdled. Yes that does happen if it is kept heated too high. This is an easy fix, but it seemed like a magical cure just at the right time. Well, actually when it happens to you it does seem like a magic cure to save the day.
Five Mother Sauces
Sauces are what make French cuisine so distinctive. Hundreds of sauces were developed over hundreds of years. Auguste Escoffier, the famous Edwardian chef was key to bringing French cuisine to the upper classes to Downton and other grand houses in that era. He is credited for narrowing the list to five mother sauces. From these five, many variations, or daughter sauces can be made.
- Béchamel is milk based, thickened with a white roux.
- Espagnole is a brown veal stock sauce.
- Velouté is a white stock based on stock, thickened with a roux or a liaison.
- Hollandaise, an emulsion of egg yolk, butter and lemon or vinegar.
Escoffier’s Hollandaise Sauce
Own your Own