Canadians are back today after celebrating a long weekend with family and friends. A civic holiday, it is known by different names across each province, but the tradition was started in 1869 by the Toronto City Council in honour of Lord Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and the man who initiated the abolishment of slavery in Canada.
Lord D and I spent the morning exploring the countryside just a few minutes from our home, which included a visit to Springridge Farm, a great country farm where you can buy the latest crop off the field (raspberries, corn), enjoy a BBQ or baked goods, and this week a jar of their Prince George jam in honor of the new young prince.
I love hosting virtual teas, celebrating the era of “Downton Abbey”, the popular TV show, featuring a new “Downton” era recipe. Refer to my Online Guide to Afternoon Tea, helpful in understanding the traditions and dishes served at tea.
Today’s dish is Plum Crumble, a sweet or tart dish (depending on the amount of sugar you use), with a British style topping of flour, butter and ground almonds.
This is the time of year when we should all be booking fall holidays to the UK as Downton launches Season 4 in mid September while we wait until January for our turn. In the meantime, here are some distractions to keep your Downton cravings at bay. If you haven’t seen all seasons (1-3) beware of spoilers below.
- Daisy gets a mixer and other things to look forward to in S4. Just a hint at what things to expect in the new season.
- The Downton Abbey effect hits China. 160 billion people are now fans
- Only a month away in the UK, the push is on to stop the spoilers. Trying to put a lid on all the juicy news.
- The Real Lady of Highclere and her Lord. More stories about how the castle was chosen as film location for Downton.
‘Tis the Season for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Summer is the time of the year which promises a great bounty from gardens and orchards. We now live in a world where we can get produce year round, but there is nothing quite like the taste of fruits and vegetables grown locally. I love visiting farmers markets in the summer time, and often you end up bringing home more than you can possibly eat. You can make jam or enjoy them now in your summer desserts.
I have not been shy about my admiration of Mrs. Beeton, the original kitchen diva whose book Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management was a staple in every Victorian household. I have written a few pieces about her (the Goddess, celebrating her birthday, video about her work) and her amazing ability to touch a whole generation of housewives when she herself did not cook. A testament to great marketing as she preached the economy of operating a household, buying produce when it was in season, how to cook and how to preserve for the winter.
English Plum Crumble
Mrs. Beeton’s Plum Crumble
- 1 1/2 lbs ripe plums pitted and quartered
- 1 cup caster sugar or sugar substitute
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a shallow baking dish.
- Place the quartered plums into the baking dish and add the sugar to coat. I happen to love sour desserts, but adjust for the sweetness level you prefer.
- To make the topping, place the dry ingredients into a bowl, and grate in the butter into the mixture and rub into the mixture until evenly distributed.
- Spread the crumble evenly over the plums, then lightly smooth.
- Bake for 45 minutes until bubbly and the top is golden.
- Serve with frozen yoghurt or custard.
Get the Books
For Downton Abbey Fans