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Enjoy Almond and Rose Petal Squares at London’s Famous Fortnum & Mason

Welcome to Tea Tuesday, my weekly ritual of sharing tea with Downton Abbey fans.

Downton fans are counting down the days until the January 6th PBS launch. This will give US foodie fans time to carefully plan S3 launch parties (check out my link to upstairs/downstairs theme ideas). Do consider supporting Vermont Public Television’s Downton Abbey Inspired Culinary S3 Launch Weekend at the Essex Resort in Vermont (see details below).

The British may have historically failed in other culinary areas*, but excel in the tea ritual. Each Tuesday I dish on Downton Abbey, the Royal Family, UK tourism and other topical tea issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a tea treat recipe with history. Today’s treat is Almond and Rose Petal Squares from Fortnum & Mason.

My Online Guide to the Tea Ritual

Taking a traditional “afternoon tea” is definitely a bucket list experience. To do it properly, I have created a handy guide to help you enjoy the experience. I highlight a famous London tea house each week, but do check out and support the tea houses in your local community. Send in a pic and I will post it here and on my Pinterest Tea Board. My Downton Abbey Cooks Online Guide to Afternoon Tea.

We are So Social

A heart felt thank you for sharing my passion for Downton Abbey, history and food. We now have 136,000+ views here since January when I started Downton Abbey Cooks.  I chat daily with many of the 6,000+ twitter followers @downtoncooks.  Also check out the posted links to my Facebook and Pinterest pages.  I am excited to be invited as a guest pinner on a new official Downton Abbey Pinterest page. Stay tuned.

Spreading the Word: Anyone can be a Downton Abbey Cook

Jungle Red Writers: Check out my chat with the ladies at Jungle Red Writers, exploring Inside the Downton Kitchen.  There was quite the discussion about the proper way to pronounce “scone”, (rhymes with gone) and heated debate about which goes on first the clotted cream or jam.

Vermont Public Television: Check out my interview with VPT and my involvement with their big Season 3 launch weekend, outlined below.

We Women: To learn more about how you too can become a Downton Abbey Cook, read my interview in Downton Abbey Cooks: Take over Mrs. Patmore’s Kitchen in WeWomen magazine.

VPT’s Experience Inspired by Downton Abbey: Jan. 5/6

Vermont Public Television is hosting a Downton inspired culinary weekend January 5th/6th to launch Season 3 at the renowned Essex Resort. Lord D and I look forward to this wonderful event of fabulous Downton food and festivity, with a Saturday night screening of S3E1 on a large screen. Tickets are now on sale.

Whisky Bar:  Brian from Oui Dram (they are based in Montreal) will be in full regalia to help educate your palate.

Corporate Sponsers:  If your corporation would like to help support this event through sponsorship, contact me and I will be happy to put you in touch with the event organizers for this good cause to help support public television.

Dishing Downton: There May Be Spoilers

Sage advice for those waiting for S3.

WARNING: if you wish to remain in ignorant bliss about that is going to happen in Season 3, I would suggest you scroll right down to our recipe of the day.
  • There is a new and wonderful Downton Abbey era book to add to your collection: The Edwardian Country House: A Social and Architectural History.  This would make a great Christmas gift for Downton fans.
  • Free Bates: The Pinterest campaign to free Bates continues. I baked a cake with file in it and secret message in the frosting.  What will your creative submission be?  Submit your creative submission.
  • Mark Downton Days on your New Calendar Keep track with Downton Abbey 2013 Wall Calendar, now available. I just received my calendar yesterday and it is lovely.  You can actually start using it now.
    • Calendar Give Away:  I have 2 calendars to give away. Stay tuned for the skill testing question next week.

Almond & Rose Petal Squares

Lovely little bites of heaven which the Dowager would definitely approve of.

Tea at Fortnum & Mason, my little blue book of tea treats is still my favorite.  It was sent to me by my virtual friend Ellen who travelled all the way from Boston to the UK to attended a ladies luncheon where Lady Carnvaron was speaking at Tylney Hall, just a stone’s throw away from Highclere Castle where they film Downton.  She didn’t visit Highclere Castle on that visit, she subsequently returned to London this summer with her son.

This is a really simple treat to make, and since it doesn’t fit into my category of healthy tea treats, this is an indulgence.  You can use this recipe with other preserves, but if you can find rose petal jelly in a specialty store, do try it, it has a lovely taste to it and adds a nice light fragrant taste.  I have made adjustments to this recipe for pan sizes.  The reason I make a large batch of short crust (pie) pastry is for times like this when I can quickly pull together a few treats.


  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp. rose petal jam (or your favorite jam or preserve)
  • 3/4 cup shortcrust/pie pastry* (see crust recipe) or try puff pastry in a pinch.
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds


Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, pat into 8″ or 9″ square pan.
  2. Prick the pastry with a fork and spread jam evenly over top.
  3. Sift the icing sugar and mix in the ground almonds in a small bowl.
  4. In a grease-free metal bowl whisk the eggs whites until stiff, then fold in the almond and icing sugar mixture.
  5. Spread over the prepared pastry and sprinkle the slivered almonds.
  6. Bake for an hour until golden brown and firm to the touch.  Cool in the tin, then cut into squares.

*English Cookery– the worst in the world?

While famous British chefs (Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay) have helped boost the reputation of English cuisine, I am pretty sure many food critics still compare some English fare with the quality of Branson’s soup that he attempted to dump on the General’s head in Season 2. Apparently that reputation goes back hundreds of years. From the original domestic goddess, Mrs. Beeton’s delightful book, Beetons Book of Household Management, published in 1861:

IT HAS BEEN ASSERTED, that English cookery is, nationally speaking, far from being the best in the world. More than this, we have been frequently told by brilliant foreign writers, half philosophers, half chefs, that we are the worst cooks on the face of the earth.

Own Your Own

2012 Downton Calendar

A great little tea book

beautiful book on architecture