This goes out to the fans of “Downton Abbey,” who are surely tickled at the thought of a full-length film finally being released next week.
The popular British historical drama series set in the early 20th century depicted the lives of an aristocratic family and their domestic servants. It aired on PBS in 2011 until its series finale in 2015 — a sad day indeed.
“Downton Abbey” had something for everyone, despite its stuffy-sounding description. Not only did my grandma, my mom and my friends like it, so did my dad. I can’t say that about any other television show. The period drama was eye candy with beautiful people, clothing and scenery but also provided just the right amount of action, mystery and justice.
And then there was the food.
Between the upstairs snobbery of the elite Crawley family and the downstairs modesty of the domestic servants, it seemed like there was always food being prepared for one or the other.
I loved watching the staff prepare and serve the elaborate meals for upstairs, but I really liked watching the servants eat their humble meals crowded around a long table in the kitchen. It looked cozy, with crusty bread, meat pies, stews and effortless conversation. And tea. Everyone, no matter how rich or poor, had tea.
The kitchen was often filled with steam, flour flying and dough rolled out on every surface. Mrs. Patmore, the cook, shouted out instructions to those trying to help. Her accent combined with words that didn’t make sense in relation to food, often had me jotting down names of dishes or ingredients I wanted to research.
Prawns are shrimp, mince is beef, shaddock is a citrus fruit, sweets are candy, biscuits are cookies, fries are chips and chips are crisps. It’s dizzying.
Allow me to share a few of my findings:
• Christmas (plum) pudding is made in a mold with sugar, eggs, breadcrumbs, milk and spices but not plums.
• Truffled egg toast is pretty much the same as our egg in a hole but with fancy truffle oil drizzled on top.
• Spotted dick is custard with raisins or currants.
• Kedgeree is a savory breakfast dish made with leftovers from the night before, which was a way to use food before refrigerators became commonplace.
My list goes on and on, and I hope to add a few more dishes when I see the movie. Make these British recipes to celebrate the temporary return of our beloved “Downton Abbey.”
Mini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef and horseradish
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted, plus more for greasing pans
1/4 pound high-quality sliced roast beef, or sliced rare beef
Microgreens for garnish
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Beat eggs, milk and butter in a separate bowl until well-combined. Pour slowly into flour mixture while whisking, whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place mini muffin pan (24 mini muffins) in oven to heat. Once fully heated, carefully remove pan from oven and quickly brush each well with melted butter (or beef drippings). Fill about halfway with batter. Return to oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until well-puffed and golden.
Top each pudding with a thin slice of beef and a tab of horseradish. Garnish with microgreens if desired. Serve warm.
Recipe adapted from bakinbit.com.
Earl Grey tea biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 4 bags)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
Whisk flour, tea and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Put butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow the log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper towel tubes; freeze until firm, 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
Recipe adapted from www.marthastewart.com.
Mince and tatties
1 pound lean ground beef (mince)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
3 cups beef stock
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup peas
6 cups mashed potatoes
Heat a large skillet to medium and add the mince, pressing to break up into smaller pieces. Once the meat has browned, add the butter and diced onion and cook another 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir until all the flour is absorbed. Add the beef stock, carrots and simmer for 20 minutes until the gravy has thickened. The peas cook quickly so add them in the last five minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve by putting mashed tatties (potatoes) on the bottom with the mince on top.
Recipe source: www.downtonabbeycooks.com.
Amanda Stone works in educational services, marketing and special features at the Globe. Contact her at 417-627-7288 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.