Downton Dish: Posh Popcorn

It’s summertime at Downton, which means it must be time for some sort of sporting event/fair/celebration that’s terribly important, despite the fact we’ve never heard anything about it prior to now. This year, it’s the annual bazaar, which has fallen into Cora’s lap while her husband’s away keeping her brother’s ass out of a witness box. Everyone else at Downton is dealing with serious issues, … Continue reading Downton Dish: Posh Popcorn

Downton Dish: Ham and Eggs

Ahh, the Downton pigs. Who knew they’d be so good as a matchmaking tool? And, of course, the person hired to take care of them is completely incompetent because the Crawleys actually really suck at this whole landowning thing. How are these people still rich? Oh, right, numerous lucky inheritances. Anyway, it’s a good thing Blake’s on hand this episode to whip out his surprising … Continue reading Downton Dish: Ham and Eggs

Downton Dish: Molten Toffee Puddings

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes this episode. There’s Robert’s surprise birthday party, with Rose’s ‘gift’ to him (which turns out to be more of a gift to herself), and a few other things, good and bad. Since I’ve been skewing savoury on these blogs the past few weeks, I thought I’d go the sweet route and serve up some cake with a surprise … Continue reading Downton Dish: Molten Toffee Puddings

Downton Dish: Vichyssoise

At last, Alfred’s oft-mentioned interest in cooking is about to pay off…maybe. Our tall footman friend is off to London to embark on a slightly less ridiculous and profanity-laden version of Hell’s Kitchen. The prize? A place at the Ritz, which was (and is) no joke. They don’t just hire anyone, so you’d better know your French classics. Classics like Vichyssoise, or posh potato soup, … Continue reading Downton Dish: Vichyssoise

Downton Dish: Filo-Wrapped Asparagus

Things are heating up a bit for a few characters (in both good and bad ways), so it’s not hugely surprising that one of Ivy’s tasks this week is to make a classic aphrodisiac: asparagus.

Nobody’s really sure if asparagus enhances the libido. It’s status as an aphrodisiac goes back to the Doctrine of Signatures, an ancient theory that holds that plants and herbs which look like a part of the body will enhance or heal the functions of that part. Not too many people believe in the Doctrine of Signatures anymore, but there are plenty who hold that asparagus is best shared with a lover. And really, when it comes to aphrodisiacs, a lot of the power lies in belief and suggestion, right? So whip some of these together, share ‘em with your honey, and enjoy tonight’s (significantly less scarring) episode.

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Downton Dish: Peach Melba

Dame Nellie Melba is in the house! To put that in perspective, for this crowd and this time, it’s roughly like Niles and Frasier Crane getting Pavarotti to sing at one of their dinner parties. Or having Kanye West or Katie Perry play at your birthday party (depending on your musical tastes). It was a pretty big deal—after all, this is a woman that had … Continue reading Downton Dish: Peach Melba

Chocolate Orange Victoria Sponge

In honour of cake week on GBBO, I thought I’d share the recipe for one of my new favourite Victoria sponges. Now, chocolate and orange isn’t exactly a groundbreaking flavour combination, but you have to admit, they go together like strawberries and rhubarb: both are perfectly delicious on their own, but put them together and you’ve got some serious yum. Jazz it up for a dinner party with some candied orange peel, or, if you’re in a hurry or can’t find any, finish the cake off with a dusting of icing sugar.

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Raspberry Chilli Jam

I don’t know why, but making jam gives me an immense sense of satisfaction. Seeing the ingredients come together, simmer down into that thick, delicious mixture, and then admiring those lovely rows of jewel-tone jars…I love it. And with fruit now coming in fast and furious, this is jam-making season.

I’ve been doing jams and preserves for a few years now, which means I’ve learned quite a few things, the most important being: most jam recipes are terrible. I don’t even use recipes anymore, I just go by instinct, what I know I and my husband like (not too much sugar), and flavours I know go together. And it’s working out pretty well for us.

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