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.
UK fans only have to wait a few more weeks for Season 5, (Sept. 14 on ITV), but North America will have to wait until Jan. 4 for the release on PBS. Keep an eye out for our favorite actors at the Emmys at the end of this month. In the meantime, here is the latest dish on Downton:
- The most famous water bottle in history. The first reports
- Downton Season 5: Slideshow of new pics
- The Downton heirs are growing up. First pictures from Season 5
- New Downton Abbey Book to long for. Coming this Fall A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes
Bottled Water at Downton: A History of Perrier
While a plastic water bottle would never have been seen in any of the great English country homes during this period in history, water in glass bottles certainly was. The upper classes took to Louis-Eugène Perrier’s “champagne of table water” in a big way. Taping into the trend to visit spas on the Continent for health purpose and an increased interest in athletic pursuits, companies just as Perrier and Scheweppes brought out products which we still enjoy today.
A brief history of Perrier from Perrier.com
1898 – Introducing, Louis Eugène Perrier
A doctor, politician and fervent champion of the virtues of thermal springs, Perrier bought Etablissement Thermal de Vergèze, which he renamed the Société des EauxMinérales, Boissons et ProduitsHygiéniques de Vergèze… The good doctor then devoted himself to developing a hygenically sealed glass bottle to hold and transport water that contained three times its volume in gas.
1903 – Love at first sight for an English Lord
It was a huge challenge selling water to the French, who drank mainly wine. Suffering from a lack of funds, Perrier met St John Harmsworth. In 1903, Harmsworth bought the doctor’s shares and re-named the spring after the man who had done so much for the spring. Harmsworth then designed the iconic shape of the Perrier bottle, drawing his inspiration from the Indian exercise clubs that he used to keep in shape.
1905 – Purveyor by Appointment to his Majesty the King of England
Harmsworth opened the door to the British Empire. His idea was to convince the British army in the Indies of the unique qualities contained within his bottle. After becoming widely known in the colonies, Perrier water was enjoyed at Buckingham Palace and, in 1905, Harmsworth gained the title of “Purveyor by Appointment to his Majesty the King of England”. Then, in 1908, at the Franco-British exhibition in London, Perrier water was awarded the Grand Prize for Mineral Water Sale of the Year (Grand Prix des EauxMinéralesVente de l’Année), having sold 5 million bottles. At that time, Perrier was better known in London, Delhi, and Singapore than in Paris.
Abbey Cooks Entertain
With 220 traditional Downton era recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to create some simple or complex dishes for your Mary or Anna. This 432 page ebook sells for $7.95. Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to keep bringing you new dishes each week.
While the book is available on Amazon, 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. Buy one for yourself, gift to another. All you have to do is email the download link to your loved ones.
I found myself in my brother’s kitchen this summer teaching him how to make poached eggs. I was surprised that he was keen to learn until he revealed that his girlfriend loves them and he didn’t have one of those special pots to make them for his sweetie.
There are all sorts of gadgets on the market, but you really only need a pot. I love watching eggs take a dip in a bubbling hot bath. Using fresh eggs will ensure the best results, otherwise the whites may not cling to the yolk.
- 4–6 fresh eggs
- 1/3 cup vinegar (or 2.5 tbsp. per quart)
- If you add 2 quarts of water to 8 inch round saucepan, you get a depth of 2 ½ inches. Add more water to get that depth in your pot, adding more vinegar as needed. Set the water boiling.
- Prepping: to get some help with a successful poach, try making a pinhole in the large end of the egg, and dip in boiling water for 10 seconds to help the egg whites coagulate. Take it out immediately.
- Crack an egg into a small cup, place the cup close the water and let the egg gently slide into the water, then reduce the heat to simmer. Set the timer for 4 minutes. Repeat with the other eggs, adding them around the edge of the pan. I like to stir the water a couple of times just after the eggs go in which also helps the whites cling to the yolk.
- The eggs are done when the whites are set but the yolk is still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon, placing in a bowl of warm water to remove the vinegar and to keep warm until you are ready to use.
Your Downton Wish List
Jessica Fellowes latest book is coming out this Fall.