Prepared by Mrs. Patmore, served by Mr. Carson and enjoyed by the Crawley family and their guests, meals at Downton Abbey were extravagant, to say the least. When watching the series, there were times that you’d wish for the these are professionals, do not try this at home graphic to appear on the screen. While not a problem for the downstairs staff at Downton, the mere thought of an 8-course meal featuring the likes of Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes, Lady Sybil’s Poached Salmon with Creamy Hollandaise Sauce, Lobster Thermidor, Guard of Honor Lamb with Mint Sauce, Squab with Fig Fois Gras, Potatoes Lyonnaise, not to mention, the Dowager Countess’ Dark Chocolate Trouffles was just a bit too much to tackle on the home front.
While the long-awaited series 3 of Downton Abbey premieres tonight on ITV1, wherever you are on the planet, it’s time to channel your inner-most Mrs. Patmore with The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, which releases on Tuesday, 18 September. With more than 150 recipes, all prepared with the ‘downstairs’ passion of those that took great pride in their food prep, you can add a bit of sophistication and style to your Downton Abbey watching parties in the months to come. The great thing about the book is that it is not only laid out by meal course from Hor D’Oeuvres to the Finishing Touches of Sweets and Desserts, there are also some bits and bobs that will help you prepare Afternoon Tea, course pairings, tips for table seatings and etiquette guidelines.
If you’re feeling a bit ‘downstairs’ at mealtime, not to worry. The second half of the book is filled with some spot on recipes that, while a bit less extravagant, would make the likes of Mr. Carson, Mr. Bates, Anna and Daisy proud. I can speak to this personally as I did make the Shepherd’s Pie (page 222) recently. Have to say that I did take Mrs. Patmore’s suggestion and substituted minced lamb for the beef and it was pretty darn good. Gordon Ramsay, here I come.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab the nearest Mr. Carson, secure the services of your favorite Daisy and be the best Mrs. Patmore you can be. I’m betting you won’t hear Lady Grantham saying: “Oh, is her cooking so precisely timed? You couldn’t tell.” And, don’t forget to share. Would love to see photos of your latest Mrs. Patmore creation!