Dinner is Served, M’Lady


It is finally here!  Season 3 of Downton Abbey has arrived.



The evening began with a cheese plate featuring cheeses from the British Isles:


Colston Bassett Stilton from Neal’s Yard Dairy


Cheddar with Porter

Seaside Cheddar

Wensleydale with Cranberries

Sparkenhoe Red Leicester

Although all of these cheeses were made from cow’s milk, each had its own personality and flavor.  One of my favorite combos was the Cotswold, on a multi-seed cracker, sprinkled with a touch of  Worcestershire.

photoWe could not resist pulling out the Royal Doulton china for a festive dinner with friends prior to the 2-hour extravaganza.

When we asked our friends which menu they would like – “upstairs” or “downstairs”, the vote was unanimous.  Good British comfort food it is!

For the Soup course, a butternut squash soup. photoYou can find my basic recipe for this dish on a previous blog.  The only difference this time was the consistency.  I kept it a little thicker.  It was delicious, but I will probably go back to a thinner consistency next time.


Main course – Bangers and Mash.  Flavorful sausages made from veal and pork and hearty mashed potatoes – with lots of cream and butter.

IMG_1491Final course – Classic Cream Scones and Strawberries.  If there is one recipe that I am very partial to, it is my Classic Cream Scone.  Although I have enjoyed scones from reputable creators in Austin, I can honestly say that I have yet to find a perfect scone on the market.  To begin, traditional scones have currants – not raisins.  You don’t want them too large – they should present a touch of class on a plate.  Classic scones are also very distinctive in texture, more dense than an American biscuit.

Here is the recipe:

CLASSIC CREAM SCONES– recipe from Simply Scones by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Alright

2 cups flour

¼ cup sugar

2 tsps baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled

½ cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 egg

1 ½ tsps vanilla extract

½ cup currants

* 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp water for glaze (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Lightly butter a baking sheet. (I use a Pampered Chef stone for most of my baking, so no butter is required).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and distribute over the flour mixture.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
  4. In another small bowl, stir together cream, egg and vanilla.
  5. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Stir in the currants.
  6. With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a ½-inch thickness on a lightly floured cutting board.  Using a floured biscuit cutter (or glass), cut out rounds from the dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  Gather scraps together and repeat until dough is used.
  7. If desired, brush the tops of the scones with the egg mixture.
  8. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  9. Let scones cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet to a wire rack.  serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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