Recipes were created to celebrate Downton Abbey: Season 2 releasing on DVD and Blu-ray
DAINTY AFTERNOON TEA SANDWICHES
Traditionally come tea-time, the Brits nibbled bite-sized triangles of brown bread filled with classic cucumber or egg and cress. We’ve taken our cue from venerable London department store and tea sellers, Fortum & Mason: they suggest adding zest to cucumber sandwiches with vinegar and white pepper. Don’t forget to cut the crusts off!
1 sliced brown loaf
Good quality salted butter
2 cucumbers from your garden
White wine vinegar
A generous handful of mustard cress (* you can grow this quite easily from seeds in a window box)
Combine cream cheese and chopped dill in a bowl, season with white pepper. Peel and finely slice cucumbers, splash with a little vinegar.
Hard boil the eggs (8 minutes please, in salted water, from cold). Peel, then set aside. When cool, mash gently with a fork, adding 3 tbsp mayonnaise. Season to taste.
Assemble your sandwiches carefully, remembering that less is more! Aim for pretty and neat – not giant messy mouthfuls. Cut each one into 4 triangles, and arrange delightfully on a bone china plate
MRS PRESS’S YORKSHIRE SCONES
Like Lady Mary, I’m from Yorkshire (though alas I’ve never been to tea at Downton Abbey). Not that I don’t know my way around a scone. These are best served warm, fresh from the oven (by your maid if you’re lucky). And remember your manners – spoon on your jam, then add a ladylike dollop of cream, don’t be greedy and never mix the spoons.
250g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
Milk or egg yolk for glazing
Pre-heat oven to 220C and grease scone tray.
Sift flour and salt together.
Cut butter into flour, and rub in lightly using your fingers. Turn onto a floured surface and knead slightly. Remember, the less you handle the dough, the lighter your scones will be.
Flatten out the dough with the heel of your hand to approx 1/2 inch thickness. Stamp out with a scone cutter
– or a glass dipped in flour works just as well. Place scones touching each other on a tray, glaze tops and bake
PEAR UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
Bothersome wartime rationing couldn’t stop the pears growing in the orchard. This simple sponge is elevated by the wonderful addition of syrupy seasonal fruit. Serve on a crystal cake stand.
2 eggs, well beaten
250g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
60g brown sugar
60g unsalted butter
2-3 pears poached and thinly sliced
(425g can sliced pear drained is also an option)
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Sift the flour and salt and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar, then add the beaten eggs gradually. Now add flour and salt, alternating with milk and vanilla and mix.
For the topping, soften the butter and mix with the brown sugar.
Press into the base of an 8-inch cake tin and arrange pear slices on top.
Layer the cake mix on top of the fruit, and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Stand for 5 minutes before inverting onto your finest cake platter.
Serve warm and enjoy oohs and ahs!