by Pamela Foster, DowntonAbbeyCooks.comWelcome to another great week of all that is Downton Abbey. We are now settled comfortably into Season 3, enjoying all the great Downton drama that Vision TV brings us each week. As always, there is a lot going on in the big house in the country.
While Mary and Matthew were successfully married off in E1, the mood has dampened a bit as Edith was left at the altar in E3. There appears to be a “fire” theme this week as many of the characters in this episode get “burned”. A tally of those left singed around the edges:
- Mrs. Hughes causes a disturbance when she brings an electric toaster to Downton, startling Carson when her experiments send smoke down the servants corridor.
- Branson gets himself into trouble through affiliation with Irish radicals who set fire to the home of “friends” of the Crawleys, and is now banned from Irish soil.
- As Edith struggles to find a new life for herself, Granny tells her to find something to do, but when she tries her hand at writing, her family is less than supportive. She also has to adjust to being the only woman at the breakfast table, as only married women were allowed the privilege of breakfast in bed.
- Ethel makes the painful decision to give up her beloved little son Charlie.
- Matthew has saved the Estate from financial ruin, but now discovers that the Estate is not being properly managed, and his Father-in-Law is reluctant to discuss changes.
- Anna and Bates are temporarily denied contact from one another due to the scheming of a fellow prison mate and a guard on the take.
- Daisy fancies Alfred and finally gets the blessing from her Father-in-Law to move on. When she summons the courage to tell Alfred she cares for him, she is interrupted by Mrs. Patmore who introduces her to Ivy, the new kitchen maid. Of course, Alfred fancies Ivy. Scorch!
- While handsome new footman Jimmy brightens the maids’ day, he has triggered the power struggle between Team O’Brien and Team Jimmy, led by Thomas. As Alfred and Jimmy compete for the 1st footman position, they jostle over the honor of serving main dishes, such as the pork dish< we cooked last week.
- Alfred almost nails his “spoons” quiz: The correct answers were tea spoon, egg spoon, melon spoon, grapefruit spoon, jam spoon….and bouillon spoon. Bouillon is a light soup which is typically reserved for luncheon since it is too light for a dinner, particularly when the evening meal is heavy and much wine is served.
- Finally, let’s not forget The Dowager having to part with a whole Guinea for a bottle of perfume. “Did he have a mask and a gun?”
This Week’s Downton Dish: Baked Rice Pudding
This week’s dish is baked rice pudding, a great comfort food which will come in handy when watching the upcoming episode. This is a Victorian era recipe, which could be tossed in the oven and left while the cook attended to other kitchen duties in the Abbey. This is a really simple and healthy recipe, without the heavy cream found in many rice pudding recipes. I love to serve the pudding topped with sliced nuts and berries.
- 2 cups skim milk
- 3 tbsp. caster sugar (or sugar substitute)
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ¼ cup short grain rice (basmati works well and bakes quicker)
- 1 bay leaf
- Nutmeg, freshly grated
- 3/4 cup raisins or currants (optional)
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Lightly grease a 9 inch square pan or small casserole dish.
- Place the milk and sugar in a saucepan over heat. Melt butter in the milk mixture. Place the rice in the baking dish. Pour milk over the rice, mix in the raisins if using, and add the bay leaf.
- Bake for 1½ to 2½ hours (depending on the type of rice you use), stirring every 30 minutes or so.
- Remove from the oven, grate nutmeg over the surface.
- Increase the oven temperature to 325°F and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf and let rest before serving warm. I like to add some nonfat strained yoghurt, a few sliced almonds and berries.
Downton Abbey Season 3 continues Wednesdays at 9pm ET/6pm PT and our special Downton Abbey mini-site has launched featuring photos, videos, character profiles and much more. It’s your online domain for all things Downton!
Pamela Foster is a culinary historian who resides in the Greater Toronto Area with her husband, affectionately referred to as Lord D. Her popular blog Downton Abbey Cooks explores food, history and health of the Downton era (1912- 1920s). A signed copy of her ecookbook Abbey Cooks Entertain can be downloaded from her website and regular copies from Kobo or Amazon.ca. (Get a sneak peek here.)
all Downton Abbey photos (c) NBC Universal/ITV
photos of Pamela Foster/Abbey Cooks Entertain/recipe dishes courtesy Pamela Foster