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Always Time for Tea, Biscuits and Giving Thanks

Always time for tea, biscuits and offering thanks, particularly to those who have had an influence on this blog, and to those who have taken the time to share a comment or their favorite time in history which Downton Abbey shares (1912-1920s).

Thank you for keeping me company as I blog my way through the food of Downton Abbey. I have been thrilled by the follows, subscriptions, comments, and tweets (@downtoncooks) from all over the world. I have just set up a Facebook page and Pinterest boards. I am enjoying the experience of keeping my social media skills sharp.

My first word of thanks is to Lord D, my husband, whose proud “upstairs” English heritage drew us to Downton Abbey in the first place. He is a true gentleman, tall dark and handsome, loves my cooking, a true romantic, and who is always supportive of everything I do. I hope that I will be able to learn more about British cuisine to further honor the rich traditions of his family.

From my own Backyard: Thanks to Eva and Barb

In my career as a professional marketer I have been blessed to work with some remarkable people. I met both Eva and Barb around the same time at KPMG, and while our career paths have gone in different directions, we still share our passion for food. When researching Titanic recipes, I had recalled the “wine jello” that Eva had served at an engagement dinner she and her husband hosted for us. Barb has recently started to blog and I was surprised at her range of knowledge, not just a pretty face. I look forward to sharing one of her recipes with you soon. In the meantime you can explore their blogs yourself.

From france: Christine, who Inspired Tea Tuesdays

I received this lovely note from Christine who is living in France, how marvelous. Tea time in the UK is such a time honored tradition with so many wonderful recipes, she inspired me to dedicate one day a week to sharing a new recipe.

It is not an habit for me to write to a blogger. But I had to write you because I came across your blog yesterday and I think it is just splendid. I am a French girl who is passionate about cooking, and specially baking. I discovered downton Abbey around Christmas time, and I just fell in love with it. I can re-watch the episodes without getting tired of it. I love everything, the dresses, the interior decoration, the food, and of course the storyline. I started a blog about the fashion (and the hairdos) during edwardian era. I like doing researches myself about one or another subject, and so this is one of the reasons why I like very much the way you’re writing your articles, because one can sense the historic background behind a recipe or a fact. I lived one year in the US when I was younger, so I still got a very special connection to english/american recipes. I am looking forward to reading your upcoming recipes. It would be great if you would do an article about the tradition of tea (and tea time-s-) and the little snacks that go with it (for example I was surprised to learn than salty snacks were served with tea like cucumber sandwiches, I didn’t know that!). Tea time seems very sacred to the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey :-)

Kind regards from France,


Thank you, Christine for your inspiration. Please do let us know the name of your blog so we can follow along.

From the Mother Ship: thanks to @DowntonAbbey

The highlight of my first month was when @downtonabbey, the official tweet page for Downton Abbey retweeted my post on Daisy to a gazillion followers. I wonder who on #teamservants ended up having to make the crumble? If you need an extra hand, I would fly out to Highclere Castle any time!

from the US: The Food TimeLine

Thank you Lynne Olver, a food historian (what a great job) for your efforts in collecting all things food related on your wonderful site Foodtimeline. It has been an invaluable tool for me to use in order to delve more deeply into the world of Downton: what foods would have been available, preparation and storage methods, and food fashion in Britain.

From the UK: Measurement Conversions from Cookipedia

I would be lost without Cookipedia, based in the UK. I have often found an international recipe but was baffled by the measurements. I know that I have followers from around the world and often don’t take the time to do the translation, so have added a link at the top of this page so you can look them up yourself. Cookipedia also offers very handy meat cooking calculator to let you know when you have to put in your roast in to have it on the table at a certain hour. Brilliant. The site collects recipes from around the world so check them out or add your own.

From Spain: Biscayenne, another Mrs. Beeton Fan

Finally, and for the recipe of the day, here is thanks for another Apple Charlotte recipe.

I have gushed a bit about Mrs. Beeton this past month. For such a young woman who at age 28, she produced an enormous volume of cooking and household advice which quickly became a “go to” cookery guide for women around Europe. I was thrilled to receive a note from a Spanish blogger who also adores Mrs. Beeton. She also was kind enough to share Mrs. Beeton’s unmolded version of the Apple Charlotte. While I have posted Mrs. Beeton’s actual recipe below, I have included the lovely sauce from the blog, which isn’t too hard on the calories. I still went for the unsweetened apple sauce topping on mine. I am quite envious that her final product was far prettier than mine as you can see from Biscaynne’s version .

Mrs. Beeton’s very simple apple charlotte


Simple Apple Charlotte

  • 9 slices of bread and butter
  • about 6 good-sized apples
  • 1 tablespoonful of minced lemon-peel
  • 2 tablespoonfuls of juice
  • moist sugar to taste.


  1. Butter a pie-dish
  2. Place a layer of bread and butter, without the crust, at the bottom; then a layer of apples, pared, cored, and cut into thin slices;
  3. Sprinkle over these a portion of the lemon-peel and juice, and sweeten with moist sugar.
  4. Place another layer of bread and butter, and then one of apples, proceeding in this manner until the dish is full; then cover it up with the peel of the apples, to preserve the top from browning or burning;
  5. Bake in a brisk oven ( 350 F / 180 C degrees) for rather more than 3/4 hour; torn the charlotte on a dish, sprinkle sifted sugar over, and serve.

Remember to make breadcrumbs from your scraps!

Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons. Seasonable from July to March.

Earl Grey créme anglaise

200 ml. (3/4 cup) milk
2 egg yolks
35 g (1/.4 cup) sugar
a vanilla bean (seeds scraped) or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 Earl Grey tea bags
  1. Bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the tea bags into the milk, and let steep for ten minutes. Then remove the teabags from the milk, making sure to squeeze out all of the liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar thoroughly until the mixture becomes pale yellow.
  3. Pour about half of the milk into the eggs, mixing continuously. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk, and cook for a short time over medium heat, stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture boil, and test for readiness by dipping a spatula into it and running your finger over the coated spatula. The creme is done when it is thick enough that the trail wiped away by your finger remains.
  4. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir it continuously for another two minutes. To complete cooling quickly, place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice and stir the creme until cool.