The burning question this week on the minds of millions of Americans across the United States is, “What will happen to Lady Mary now that her beloved Matthew is gone?”
At the time of this writing, the Downton Abbey website posted the countdown of 3 days, 11 minutes, 12 seconds until the first episode of Season 4 begins in America on Sunday evening. If you missed it this Sunday, don’t worry. Next Sunday, the saga continues. Of course, since the show airs months earlier in the UK, it was possible to view these “new” episodes on the Internet. However, I chose to wait to savor every second of the season, week after week. No spoiler alerts for me!
I wasn’t always a Downton Abbey fan, but after hearing all the chatter and being inundated with all things Downton Abbey, I decided to check it out. Sure enough, before the unflappable, impeccable butler, Mr. Carson, had closed the door to Highclere Castle, I was hooked. It drew me in so much that I went on a marathon binge viewing of all seasons to date, and have been visiting the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their family faithfully since that auspicious day.
Whether following the lives of the upstairs aristocrats or the servants and maids downstairs, everyone has a story to tell, and all of the characters are intriguing. Whether it’s Sherlock Holmes, Monty Python, James Bond, Harry Potter or Downton Abbey, those Brits sure do know how to entertain us with great fun.
And the food! How lovely! Upstairs, the food is put together by an historical cook who shows proper, authentic cuisine as it would have been served and eaten by the very wealthy at that time. Downstairs, the servants’ food is more like what we would eat today: toast, tea, shepherd’s pie, chicken and stews. Could viewing all those goodies have had a little to do with my interest in DA? Quite possibly! A good bit of the action does take place in the kitchen. Who could resist all those treats cooked by Mrs. Patmore and Daisy?
Put the kettle on! It’s time for a cuppa and a catchup! Along with that proper cup of tea, scones are in order. Delicious warm, just out of the oven, and quite easily made, the following scone recipe will transport you right into the gracious home of Lord and Lady Grantham. Like the show itself, savor every last morsel of these delightful scones, because they will be gone before you know it! I’ve heard that these scones are a favorite of Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham.
2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. orange zest (very finely grated orange rind)
4 Tbls. cold butter cut into chunks
2 eggs, beaten (Save 1 Tbsp. egg white to brush on top)
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar (Preferably coarse)
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
-In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and orange zest.
-Cut the butter chunks into the flour mixture using a fork, two knives, pastry cutter, food processor or your fingers so tiny bits of butter remain mixed into the flour.
-In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly with cream, and stir into flour mixture.
-Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly, only until dough sticks together.
-Divide dough in two parts.
-On an ungreased baking sheet, form and pat each clump of dough into a circle that is 6 inches in diameter and 1-inch thick.
-Cut each circle into 4 wedges on baking sheet; separate wedges slightly.
-Brush top of scones lightly with the reserved egg white.
-Sprinkle top with sugar.
-Bake for 15 minutes.
-Makes 8 scones.
Serve scones with butter, jam, honey, clotted cream or lemon curd. Also good is Orange Butter: ½ cup softened butter beaten together with 2 Tbls. orange marmalade.
Eat well, live long, enjoy!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Northeast Times, 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA 19053.)