A Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea!

DA - tea partyDSC08897The local Library in Bluffton South Carolina has been having weekly Downton Abbey discussions since the first episode of Season 3, all culminating in an Afternoon Tea this past week. A Season recap, Delicious fare, Fine company, Gorgeous hats, and Games of trivia to test our Downton Abbey brain power! –  all staged with perfect finesse by Amanda, our fearless leader and Reference Librarian, the intent to keep us all (over 70 of us!) from falling into a deep Downton Abbey depression. We toasted Julian Fellowes, bid our adieus to Sybil and Matthew and wondered aloud as to where the show shall take us next year, alas! eleven months of impatient waiting.  We were asked which actor would we most like to have dinner with; which actor we would most like to be in a scene with; our favorite quotes; most memorable scene? and trivia questioned on our knowledge of all things Downton [like: Where does Lord Grantham sit at the dinner table? What is the proper dress for a dinner at home without guests? Where is the story set? Where is the actual Highclere Castle?, etc…] – most of us found we should have to re-watch all three seasons to get a a passing grade!

I append some pictures to share the day, with a Hearty Thanks to Amanda and the Friends of the Bluffton Library for all their efforts to prolong the Downton Abbey season as long as possible – I think even Violet would approve!

Delicious fare!

Delicious fare!

Our Gracious Hostess Amanda

Our Gracious Hostess Amanda

...and her gorgeous hat!

…and her gorgeous hat!

Our very own Mrs Patmore

Our very own Mrs Patmore

Our very own Mr Carson

Our very own Mr Carson

A bevy of Hats!

A bevy of Hats!

Best hat for Afternoon Tea!

Best hat for Afternoon Tea!

The long wait until next January!

The long wait until next January!

DA outdoor tea

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Downton Abbey and the Tale of an Edible Salmon Mousse

This past week’s Downton Abbey had its usual witty remarks from all quarters, Violet yet again leading the pack.  But my favorite by far came from Mrs. Patmore, as she says to Ethel:

Mrs Patmore and Ethel - PBS

“Anyone who has use of their limbs can make a salmon mousse.”

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My mother-in-law always made salmon mousse – I cannot recall a single family gathering where it was not upon the table, eye and all – and to keep me from forgetting these family gatherings, I actually inherited her much-used salmon mousse mold – but alas! have not put it to any use, despite having all limbs in fairly good working order.

But recipes abound if you should want to try – and if Ethel could pull this off, it should be easy sailing:

This is from the website Downton Abbey Cooks, worth a visit for the show’s food history and great recipes [there IS a great deal of cookikng and eating!], all from Pamela Foster, author of Abbey Cooks Entertain:

Smoked Salmon Mousse Pinwheels

DA Cooks - salmon mousse pinwheels

a colorful dish for cocktails or tea.

This sandwich adds a lovely punch of color to your tea tray, contrasting dark pumpernickel bread with deep orange smoked salmon. The Ritz London serves a similar version with whisky, but I like the fresh flavors of vodka and dill. You are only limited by your imagination.

Ingredients

  • 1/3   cup non fat greek yoghurt
  • 1      tbsp. minced chives
  • 2      tbsp. whisky
  • 4      ounces smoked salmon
  • 1      1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

For the Sandwiches

  • 12      slices dark wheat or pumpernickel bread, crusts removed
  • 2      ounces cold smoked salmon, cut into strips: you can also use hot smoked      salmon as pictured above

Method

To make the mousse

Put the greek yoghurt, chives, vodka, salmon, lemon juice and pepper in a food processor and process for 20 to 30 seconds or until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days to let the flavours blend.

To make the sandwiches

Roll the bread slices flat with a rolling pin . Spread the salmon mousse on one side of each slice and arrange pieces of smoked salmon on top. Roll up and place seam side down on a serving plate. Cover with a damp tea towel or paper towels until ready to serve.

You can make larger pinwheels by cutting in half diagonally and stand on the flat edge. You can also cut into smaller bite sized 2 inch angled sections.

Makes 12 large or 24 mini pinwheels

book cover - Abbey Cooks

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Here are links to other recipes, some made in the mold, some in bowls:

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Perhaps Ethel’s praise-worthy attempts to be a cook who actually cooks something edible and Mrs. Patmore’s kindness in helping, despite the grousing of Mr. Carson, might indeed see “the return of the salmon mousse,” even in my house.

Salmon Mousse - Food Network

Salmon Mousse – Food Network

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

Downton Abbey ~ Carson’s Song

Last week, Downton Abbey ended with Carson singing a song while polishing the silver, quite jovial over hearing the positive prognosis for Mrs. Hughes.  We can wonder at the plot turn – there have been previous intimations that Hughes and Carson should somehow hook up and exert even greater control over downstairs life – they do after all seem to genuinely care about and respect each other … but who knows what direction this shall all take – but just want to append the words of the song he was singing – a sure clue in this alone:

DA - Carson

The song is titled “Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron” – “a traditional English folk song written in the 19th century about a housewife carrying out her linen chores” [wikipedia]:

‘Twas on a Monday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-washing of her linen, O

Refrain
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
Dashing away with the smoothing iron
She stole my heart away.

‘Twas on a Tuesday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-hanging out her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Wednesday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-starching of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Thursday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-ironing of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Friday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-folding of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Saturday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-airing of her linen, O (Refrain)

‘Twas on a Sunday morning
When I beheld my darling
She looked so neat and charming
In every high degree
She looked so neat and nimble, O
A-wearing of her linen, O (Refrain)

[Text from contemplator.com]

dashing away smoothing iron

Further reading (and listening!):

c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont