Sunday, January 12, 2014

Let's be honest, since the end of Breaking Bad we have been waiting for season 5 of Downton Abbey. The theme song makes us giddy!  Sunday's premiere proved we are in for a great season. — and of course a few more one liners from the fantastic Maggie Smith's portrayal of the Dowager Countess. Here are some of my favorites...

"Can't you give advice without sounding like a trumpeter on the peak of the moral high ground?"

Violet: "I'm so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I'm with her, I'm reminded of the virtues of the English."
Matthew: "But isn't she American?"
Violet: "Exactly."

"Rosamund has no interest in French. If she wishes to be understood by a foreigner, she shouts."

To Isobel: "I wonder your halo doesn't grow heavy, it must be like wearing a tiara round the clock."

"Just because you're an old widow, I see no necessity to eat off a tray."

"Just because you're an old widow, I see no necessity to eat off a tray."

Ok...What's your Downton Abbey name?

1. Choose appropriate title (Lord/Lady/Count/Countess etc.)
2. Forename = your grandfather/mother's first name
3. Surname = the name of your primary school

Comment below with yours and share!

Mine is Lord Harris Encino

Well let start the season off with a drink!

Dowager Countess Cups, the drink to order at polo matches, are traditionally made with lemonade, lemon soda, ginger ale or ginger beer and are garnished lavishly with cucumber, mint leaves and fruit.

  • 2 lemon slices

    1. 3 ounces chilled ginger beer
    2. 2 ounces English gin
    3. 1 cucumber wheel, 1 cucumber spear and 1 cucumber ribbon (optional)
    4. Ice
    5. 2 orange slices
    6. 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
    7. 1 strawberry, halved
    8. 2 mint sprigs
    9. 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
    10. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the leaves of 1 mint sprig with 1 lemon slice, 1 orange slice, the cucumber wheel, half of the strawberry and the lemon juice. Add ice and the Pimm's and Creole Shrubb. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled pilsner glass. Stir in the ginger beer and garnish with the remaining mint sprig, lemon slice, orange slice, cucumber spear, cucumber ribbon and strawberry half.

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    The Crawley family chauffeur, he inspires Reuben Egg Rolls and Dipping Sauce

    This is Tom's Favorite St, Patty's day snack 

    Lets put it together 
    This irresistible twist on the classic Reuben sandwich features crisp egg roll wrappers stuffed with tender corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, creamy Swiss cheese. 
     Dip them in homemade Spicy Thousand Island and  horseradish sauce.

    What's in it?
    • For the Egg Rolls:
    • About 25 egg roll wrappers 
    • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds cooked leftover or sliced deli corned beef
    • 2 packed cup sauerkraut, I like the jared style
    • 1 1/2  cups shredded Swiss cheese 

    • 2 teaspoon caraway seed 
    • 2-3 inches canola oil in a high-sided, heavy-bottomed pan 

    • For the Thousand Island Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup lowfat yogurt 

    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
    • 1/4 cup minced sweet onion
    • 3 tablespoons ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon of horseradish 
    Lets put it together  
     The Thousand Island Dipping Sauce:
    Whisk to combine all of the dressing ingredients. let it rest in the refrigerator. 
     The Reuben Egg Rolls...of LOVE
    Place the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse over the sink. Squeeze, squeeze and squeeze as much liquid from the sauerkraut as you can, then coarsely chop very fine. Put this in a large mixing bowl.
    Coarsely chop the corned beef, no large pieces.  Transfer the corned beef to the mixing bowl with the chopped sauerkraut, add the shredded Swiss cheese and the caraway seed (if using.) Use your hands to toss the ingredients together so that everything is evenly combined.
    Place a single egg roll wrapper with one point facing toward you and one away. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and moisten the two edges farthest away from you. Scoop 1/4-cup of the corned beef filling onto the egg roll wrapper just slightly closer to you than the center of the wrapper. Simply roll the skin tightly. Try to avoid holes in the wrapper as they can cause leaking melted cheese and therefore splattering during the frying process. Gently press the final edge to help seal it and lay it on the clean pan you prepared for it. Repeat until the filling is used up.

    Lets Bake the egg Rolls
      Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray both sides of the finished egg rolls with non-stick cooking spray and lay them -not touching- on a baking sheet. Bake until the wrappers are golden brown and the Swiss cheese is melted inside. While these are definitely best hot, they are also good at room temperature.

    Sunday, March 10, 2013

    Anna Bates: The Basics of a Making a Great Roast Chicken

     Anna Bates: The Basics of a Making a Great Roast Chicken

    When Anna and Bates moved into there new home, the stove was fired up and the cooking began. Mr Bates remembered roast chicken while growing up. Simple and easy and so good. 

    Downton Abbey fans across England have come to call Sundays “Downton Day”.
    Mrs. Patmore, Daisy, love to cook and show how food can play an important part in people’s lives.  
    Families used to sit down to Sunday dinner, and some to try to keep this one day of the week for gathering for a great meal. 

    So it's Roast Chicken and here we go!

    Some Chicken pointers:

    Picking Chicken:  Picking a good chicken at your butcher or grocer is a great start to get the best results.  Certified Organic tops the charts if you can find/afford, air-chilled is a good choice, and kosher is great because the process of salt brining kills bacteria and enhances the flavor.

    Safe Prepping:  the spread of harmful bacteria is particularly evident in chicken and other fowl.  Make sure you disinfect your work surfaces as you go.  It is actually safer to forego the step when advised to wash the chicken before baking. So just check inside the bird for giblets, cut away excess fat.

    The Best Breast:  My trick is to add lemon slices or butter between the skin and the chicken breast.

    The Key is 165° -170°F:  Use an instant-read thermometer as your most reliable indicator of doneness.  It should read 165° to 170°F when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken (aim for the inner thigh),  Otherwise you look for clean running juices when you prick with a knife.

    Give it a Rest:  A trick to ensure the chicken stays moist, let your chicken rest, covered with tin foil for 15 – 20 minutes which allows the juices to absorb.

    • 1 whole chicken (3 lbs is ample for 2-3 people)
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 lemons
    • kosher salt
    • freshly ground pepper
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • Dried herbs...  rosemary, sage, thyme, flat-leaf parsley.
    • 1 tbsp. softened butter
    Preheat the oven to 375°F.
    1. Place the chicken into a shallow roasting pan which should have a grill rack. Mix the garlic and toss in fresh herbs.  We love rosemary in our house.
    2. Remove the giblets from the chicken and wipe down the chicken with paper towels.  Rub with olive oil and salt and pepper. Rub other dried herbs you have on hand (rosemary, thyme, Herbes de Provence) and garlic.
    3. Gently separate the breast skin from meat on each side with your fingers or a spatula.  Insert lemon slices and some fresh herbs which will help flavor the bird and keep the moisture in.  Alternatively, you can rub a little softened butter, again between the skin and the actual breast meat.  
    4. Place in the oven, uncovered.  As a general rule, calculate a cooking time of 20 minutes per pound of meat.  The temperature of the chicken needs to be 165° -170°F (see above).
    5. Let the cooked bird rest for 20 minutes to let the juices settle into the meat.  If you cut it too soon, you will see all the flavour on your cutting board. Remove from your roasting pan and cover with tin foil and get your table setting ready.
    6. You may be tempted to make gravy, but you really don’t need it and your doctor will thank you for it. You can use a fat separator to take the fat off and serve the juices on the side to your family/guests.
    7. Carve the chicken and serve with vegetables.

    Taste of Downton Life:

    Recipes for eating and living better from “The Happy Diabetic”
    We’re changing the way you eat one recipe at a time.

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

    If Mrs. Patmore cooked for diabetics....

    Just in case, I'm ready with this recpie from Chef Robert Lewis The Happy Diabetic.

    Major Richard Clarkson is the local doctor for the family, having known the three sisters since they were girls.

    He's on the leading edge of diabetes care at Downton. He will be ready!



    1 T of fresh blueberries
    4 strawberries
    2 T fresh raspberries
    4 teaspoons sugar free chocolate syrup
    4 small slices angel food (1 oz each)
    Light real whipped cream

    1. Slice 4 pieces angel food cake in 1 inch slices and toast lightly under a low broiler until golden brown.
    2. Place the angel food on a plate.
    3. Top each piece with 1 teaspoon whipped cream.
    4. Place 1 sliced strawberry on top of the whipped cream.
    5. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of sugar free chocolate sauce on top of each slice of cake.
    6. Sprinkle with sugar free cinnamon sugar.
    7. Place the blueberries and raspberries around the cake.

    Servings:  Makes 4 HAPPY Desserts

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):
                110 Calories
                21 gm Carbohydrates or 1 ½ Carb Choice
                2 gm Fat
                2 gm Protein

    Recipe by Robert Lewis,

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    Taking the Mystery Out of The Mother of All Sauces...Hollandaise

    Oh how they love Hollandaise Sauce. The Dowager Countess of Grantham loves this silky smooth sauce on her pouched fish.                          
     Oh, well, that is an easy caveat to accept, because I'm *never* wrong. 

    I Remember just what happened to Ivy, the perky new kitchen maid, in the Dowwnton Abbey kitchen right before a grand meal. Even Daisy, the more experienced assistant cook, panicked when she saw the curdled sauce.

    It's Alfred to the rescue, the very inexperienced and tall footman, who comes to the rescue. Prior to serving at Downton, he had worked as a hotel waiter, where he had caught glimpses of how master chefs save a separated or "broken" sauce. He quickly strained out the curdle portion of the sauce and whisked one egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water to the remaining sauce, still keeping it warm during the process. His fast reaction would please any chef and mark this young man as someone to promote. (Is Mrs Patmore , Downton's cook, observing his flare, leading possibly to future plot developments?) 

    Hollandaise is thought to be the most finicky of all the French Mother Sauces. All kind of things can happen, the sauce "breaks", the eggs curdle, you drop in on the floor and cat starts licking it up.
    Now DO NOT allow this sauce to intimidate you. Ounce you understand the basics and the how too's then take a deep breath...let's cook!
    This sauce is like a mayo, hollandaise is an emulsified sauce, that means the mixture stays together unlike a oil and vinegar dressing that quickly separates. The egg yolks are the thickening magic. That and the clarified butter bind the sauce so its thick, smooth and creamy. The more you cook the egg yolks, the thicker your hollandaise will be. However, the longer you cook your egg yolks over the heat,'s now a scrambled eggs sauce.
    I like to heat the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water (aka double boiler). The gentle heat of the steam is much more forgiving than a direct flame. With that said, let's make some sauce of LOVE!
    First What Is Clarified Butter?
    Clarified butter is whole, unsalted butter that is melted down and allowed to separate so that the milk solids can be removed. The milk solids is what make butter BURN. The solids need to be removed to make a perfect sauce.

    First the easiest way to clarify butter is to place it into a pan on medium heat and bring to a gentle boil and then turn it off. What happens next is  milk solids "foam" on top.  To finish the process, simply skim off the “skin” and pour off the clarified butter, being careful not to pour off any of the solids that's settled to the bottom.

 it ready to become a thick and creamy and amazing sauce...

    The Happy Diabetic Classic Hollandaise Sauce

    The Classic Ingredients:
    • 3 egg yolks, large eggs
    • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • Salt, to taste

    The Classic Preparation:

    1. In a small saucepan set over a double boiler on medium heat, whisk 3 egg yolks and a splash of water.
      2.Continue whisking the egg yolks, taking the bowl off the steam occasionally so not to cook the eggs to quickly.
    See the wipp marks?
     3. When the sauce is thick and you can see the wipp marks take if off the heat. now its time to add the butter. 2 teaspoons at a time, until all the butter is thoroughly incorporated into the sauce. The sauce will be thick, smooth, and glossy.
    Whisk the lemon juice and salt into the hollandaise sauce, and then continue stirring it for 1 minute. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve it immediately.
    This hollandaise recipe makes about 2 cups

    Simple Charlotte Russe

    Ethel Parks Glorious  Simple Charlotte Russe the girls couldn't leave without tasting!

    The History...The dish, which falls into the larger category of “charlottes” (molded desserts), was likely named by French chef and noted Russophile,Marie Antoine Carême. Considered by many to be the father of French cuisine, Carême included a recipe for “Charlottes à la Parisienne or à la Russe” in his 1815 cookbook The Royal Parisian Pastry Cook and Confectioner.

    The Set up:  It's lunch time for the girls. But can Ethel cook? With the help of Mrs Patmore anything is possible. Lord G ruined the day, however, bursting in to reveal that Ethel is or was a fallen woman. Already livid about the baby Sybil debate, and about Matthew finally broaching the fact that Downton is run about as efficiently as a week one Apprentice task, his Lordship angrily demanded that everyone come straight home.
    Cora stood her ground. Blaming Lord G for his daughter's death was one thing, but openly and knowingly chowing down on a prostitute's salmon mousse? Surely their marriage was over!
    But what about dessert??? The Dowager has a secret love for a good Charlotte!



    The Recipe:

    Happy Diabetic Strawberry Charlotte Russe

    • 2 envelopes gelatin
    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 1 cup mashed fresh strawberries
    • 1/2 - 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries ( to taste)
    • 1 cup splenda 
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 packages ladyfingers (48)
    Soften gelatin in cold water 5-10 min. Place over hot water to dissolve. Heat mashed berries with Splenda until it's dissolved. Add to gelatin and mix well. Let cool to room temperature.
    Meanwhile, line bottom and sides of 9" or 10" springform pan with ladyfingers. Whip cream till stiff. Add vanilla and gently fold into cooled strawberry mixture, blending well. Fold in sliced strawberries, reserving some to decorate the top. Fill pan with strawberry mixture. Chill several hours or overnight.


    Taste of Downton Life:

    Recipes for eating and living better from “The Happy Diabetic”
    We’re changing the way you eat one recipe at a time.