Those who garden realize the rewards of their efforts when the harvest comes. While grocers can now ship produce to us year-round, the best taste still comes from the local harvest. So like Mrs. Patmore smart cooks prepare what is in season for the best taste.
And speaking of our favorite cook, PBS announced the launch date of Season 6 of Downton Abbey, and yes, this will be the last season of this wonderful show. If you have not been following along, Julian Fellowes, who writes the show, has signed a deal to write an American version called The Gilded Age. Since he cannot write two shows at once, it was finally decided that this will be the final season of Downton. We will have to say goodbye, and let our favorite characters live out the rest of their fictional lives off camera.
There are still many months before the launch (The UK will likely see a Sept. launch date), and we should not let the summer harvest pass us by. I visited our family estate (farm) in July and remembererd just how sweet peas are, so today we will be making a simple classic dish of Peas in Béchamel. It can be served upstairs as a side dish or downstairs as Creamed Peas on Toast.
Here are articles to help keep us to date until the final season launches. While there is talk of a movie, musical or spinoff, we will have to wait for official word.
- The Announcement from PBS: The final season will premiere Jan. 3rd, 2016
- What’s Going to Happen in S6? A few gentle hints
- The Downton Cast say goodbye after final filming: Party for the local villagers.
- So What do You Think Will Happen? Calculating the odds on weddings/funerals.
- Gareth Neame at Home: The Financial Times interviews Downton’s producer.
Canadian Fans Rejoice! Jessica Fellowes is coming to Toronto: October 10
Jessica Fellowes, niece of Downton’s writer Julian Fellowes is a writer in her own right. She now has 3 official Downton books from her extensive research with her all insider access to cast & film sets. Jessica is a wealth of Downton Abbey knowledge.
Jessica’s retrospective show had been a major hit is the UK & USA & garners rave reviews on her Downton Abbey multimedia presentation complete with Audience Q&A.
It will be a treat to finally meet Jessica, my email pal, in person. Lord D and I will be at the Matinee, front row center.
Abbey Cooks Entertain: 2nd Edition
Summer means entertaining. Have you held a garden party? Whether you are hosting 2 or 20, this book has lots of ideas. Containing 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 448 page ebook has been updated to include both metric and imperial measurements and now includes famous Downton dishes from Season 1-5. Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to provide you new recipes on a regular basis.
This ebook is now available for download here (see right) and on Amazon: Abbey Cooks Entertain: 220 recipes inspired by Downton Abbey, Seasons 1 – 5
Print Version is here. The good news is that the 2nd Edition is available on Amazon. The full book is 450 pages and will contain famous Downton recipes.
Béchamel: One of the 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 fine tables in the grand houses of the Edwardian era. He is credited for narrowing the list to five mother sauces. From these five, many variations, or daughter sauces can be made. One of these mother sauces is Béchamel. Recipes for all five are in my book Abbey Cooks Entertains.
There is some debate about who created this lovely creamy sauce, which contains milk and not cream. Most likely, it was the invention of by Chef Francois Pierre de la Varenne (1615-1678), court chef during King Louis XIV’s (1643-1715) who dedicated it to Louis de Bechameil as a compliment.
You may recall in Season 4 that Alfred jumped into help Mrs. Patmore during the big house party to make the Béchamel. He also “enriched the Béchamel” for the savoury in another episode. This is a very simple sauce and in our family Abbey it was used to enhance vegetables grown in the garden, including today’s recipe with fresh peas from the garden.
Don’t Be Commonplace: Peas are Best When Fresh
Chef Auguste Escoffier said it best:
Whatever the treatment to which peas are to be subjected, always take them very green and freshly gathered, and shell them only at the last minute. Peas are one of the vegetables most pone to lose their quality through want of care. If prepared with care, the delicacy of their flavor is incomparable; but the slightest neglect on the part of the cook makes them savorless and commonplace.