Sweets for Downton

Almond croissant and dreaming of London

Almond croissant and dreaming of London

The weather has played quite the see-saw. Freezing one day and way too warm the next. As I am typing this post, I am sitting in my living room with the balcony door open. The sun alternates from illuminatingly bright to sepia. I brewed a cup of tea and am savoring it with the last of my almond croissants. It is Sunday afternoon here. Last week a few happy souls and I celebrated my birthday, and a couple days after that we celebrated my brother’s birthday. January is a happy month–besides the birthdays, we also have Downton Abbey! (more on that in a bit).

My cubicle got bombed by the birthday squad

My cubicle got bombed by the birthday squad

Birthday bouquets

Birthday bouquets

Dinner at cafe with my honey

Dinner at cafe with my honey

Tortilla soup with lots of crispy tortilla chips and gooey cheese

Tortilla soup with lots of crispy tortilla chips and gooey cheese

Got kissed by sis...happy birthday to my baby brother

Got kissed by sis…happy birthday to my baby brother

On the counter lies open a recipe book featuring a carrot and olive oil cake. My project for this evening. Since this is Sunday it is Downton Abbey night. Alas, season three of the Downton drama has arrived (four weeks ago) upon our golden shores. Each night since the premiere I have baked a sweet to accompany a mug of tea (a cup won’t even last thirty minutes) for the show. As one New York Times writer noted, Downton Abbey is the intelligent people’s television. O…k…

I confess (quite readily and with much enthusiasm) that I’ve loved the show since its first airing in January 2011 (in the US). I appreciate the story, that the set and costumes are gorgeous is also a plus. What I love most of all is that the characters are uniquely their own, meaning each are distinct with their own quirks and storyline. There are characters I love, characters I tolerate, and characters I want to push into mud. Each are memorable. (Warning: spoiler alert ahead)

Chocolate biscotti

Chocolate biscotti

On opening night, since my home has unofficially become Downtown Abbey watch party central, we enjoyed the two hour season premiere with dark chocolate biscotti. Oh, and what a gem those biscotti were, studded with bits of chocolate chunks! Too hard to chew comfortably on their own, they are transformed into blissful perfection once dunked into a mug of steaming tea. As the biscuit soaks up the hot liquid, it crumbles gingerly into your mouth, releasing bits of melted chocolate. A perfect accompaniment to welcome Lady Cora’s mother to Downton and to celebrate Lady Mary’s wedding (finally!!).

Chocolate tart

Chocolate tart

For episode two I baked a chocolate tart. I know, right? Chocolate two weeks in a row. Well…one’s got to be led by inspiration, and apparently chocolate was inspiring me. The crust was made out of ginger snap crumbs. The chocolate filling consisted of melted chocolate in heavy cream beaten with eggs, sugar and vanilla and then baked. Very simple and very rich. In order to really let go and enjoy this tart, it had to be served as thin slivers. Yes, it was that rich. Oh, but poor Lady Edith! The richness of the tart softened the bitter blow (somewhat) of Lady Edith getting jilted on her wedding day. Poor Edith! That Sir Anthony!–and I so liked him in the beginning. In other news, we are quite relieved that all is well with Mrs. Hughes.

Too big a slice...so rich

Too big a slice…so rich

Episode three, the Irish son-in-law and former chauffeur , Tom Branson, had the nerve to leave his pregnant wife behind in Ireland and show up at Downton. Don’t you know Lord Grantham was livid. I baked a lemon-scented pound cake for the occasion. Good thing Lady Sybil got out of Ireland all right. That long, torturous silence between Anna and Mr. Bates was overdrawn, but we were glad that the issue that caused that was resolved by show’s end. Poor Mr. Bates, when is he going to be released? It looks like in the upcoming episodes Thomas may be on the prowl again.

Pound cake

Pound cake

One huge shift in season three thus far is that my affection for Ms. O’Brien has changed. Where once there was none, there now sparks a little something akin to tepid like.

Well, I best get a move on in the kitchen. Until next time!

All images © 2013 Sriprae P. McDonald

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Sweets for Downton

  1. Lol, I read the first part of your post re your bday celebrations and then (I skipped) the spoilers! Guessing it means I missed out on pictures of your cake possibly (but I do remember) your Downton snacks from IG.

    We’re only just pass the (dismal) wedding to be for Lady Edith, I think the next episode is when Sybil goes missing…so waiting with bated breath here 😉

      • Indeed, I’ve decided that despite the limitations of the modern century and lack of etiquettes, (now a days!) I’d still prefer my life over theirs. Luckily, I’ve Ben about to watch the whole of season three, thanks to a friend. Sadly it wasn’t a great year for the family, was it 😦

      • I agree with you, I do prefer my life over their’s, too. So much pressure to marry respectably, to produce an heir, to have someone dress you… 🙂 Perhaps we can borrow a phrase from Dickens: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times (for the Crawley family). I have to say, though, that season 3 endeared me to Tom Branson…poor Tom. I still love the biting wit and facial expressions of the Dowager Grantham–Maggie Smith is the best!

  2. Sriprae its 6AM here and I’ve been up for the last 2 hours unable to sleep. I have just made myself a very nice cup of black tea (Twinings English Breakfast) and catching up with blogs I have followed since I started my own.
    I haven’t seen Downton Abbey yet and have avoided the spoilers!! 🙂 but have enjoyed looking at your pictures!
    I noticed the London book; if you come here make sure its in the summer months – its COLD and miserable in the winter!!!

    • Hello Peter!
      Sorry for the delayed response. Good to hear from you. You haven’t seen Downton Abbey yet?? *gasp* Well, you’re in for a treat. 🙂
      I love London. I’ve been there once and very much want to visit again, hence the London book. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s