Monday, January 20, 2014

Downton Abbey Brunch

Downton Abbey Brunch

So this past weekend, I threw together a brunch for Ben, my friend and sorority sister Tiffany, and myself.  We all love Downton Abbey and with it being new episode day, I knew this would be the perfect theme. I do love a good themed meal! I researched recipes from the 1920s, yes Downton started in 1912 but this being Season 4, we have now moved into the roaring 20s.  When reading recipes that Ms. Patmore would have cooked there are several things that made it tricky to decide what to cook.  Several of the recipes called for ingredients I had never heard of and knew I wouldn't be able to find. Second, lots of the recipes used methods that would have been heavily French influenced and required techniques I am not skilled in...yet! After selecting our menu, and finding some great make and take craft projects for us to do, I prepped for our brunch.

Downton Abbey Themed Brunch Menu

Cucumber Ranch Cream Cheese Spread Sandwiches
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Salmon Mousse Pinwheels
9 Veggie Roasted Vegetable Minestrone Soup
Assorted Pastries
Peach Ginger Tea
Vanilla Chai Tea
Poached Pear Upside Down Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Our table setting! If you don't have any crystal, places like the DollarTree, Goodwill, and thrift stores are great places to pick up a few inexpensive but beautiful pieces.

The veggie soup would have been a hearty downstairs dish served to the servants of the house using leftover veggies from upstairs meals.  The rest of the meal was what would typically be served upstairs during afternoon tea.  The Salmon Mousse Pinwheels were tricky to make, but the mousse was delicious.  The recipe came from a blog devoted to Downton Abbey themed cooking. This is the link if you want to attempt that yourself.  http://downtonabbeycooks.com/tag/salmon-mousse-pinwheels/
The soup is a Pioneer Woman recipe, we substituted okra and left out the mushrooms.  Very simple, but packed with lots of flavor, warning, this makes a ton so be prepared to eat soup for the next week or freeze, I am working on canning but thats for another blog post. You can find the soup recipe here. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/09/roasted-vegetable-minestrone/ The last recipe I used was very authentic and Ben had to do conversions on the ingredients before baking. http://www.highteasociety.com/2012/08/downton-abbey-inspired-recipes/

After preparing all the food, I had to pick out a Downton themed outfit.  I decided to go with a day off Anna Bates inspired outfit.  When I opened my box of crystal I had packed away a few years ago, I found two wonderful retro hats that belonged to my Grandmother.  I put on a simple dress, still showing way more skin than they would have, a strand of pearls, and the hat and I was good to go.  Tiffany wore an upstairs riding themed outfit and one of the antique hats.  If a lady was going out of the house, it would have been necessary to wear some kind of hat.
Tiffany and I channeling our inner Lady Cybil and Anna Bates in our Downton wear.

Posing with our candlelit table.  You can pick up glass candle holders at the DollarTree and boxes of two candles.

For my table setting, I used my fine china, teacups make everything more fun, and lots of crystal.  The upside down pear cake recipe even recommended that you put the cake on a crystal cake stand.  We served ourselves, how economic of us, and Ben refused to put his tux on and play footman(not surprising ha!).  The food was delicious, especially the soup and pear cake.  The cake was definitely not a modern cake taste but it was a very nice texture and the poached pears on top were so wonderful. Had Daisy or Ivey made the cake, I think Ms. Patmore would have given them her stamp of approval.

The cake flipped perfectly onto the crystal cake stand I picked up at Maxway for $10.

The poached pear slices not only tasted delicious, but looked pretty swirled on top too.

Ben serving his wonderful cake with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

After our meal, Tiffany and I got to work on our Downton Abbey themed crafts.  We made etched stemless wine glasses using my usual etching method.  You can read about the process of etching here. http://annaslifetravels.blogspot.com/2013/03/glass-etching.html We decided to put Lady Anna and Lady Tiffany on our glasses so we could feel super fancy.  These would make awesome name card replacements if you wanted to have your own Downton inspired meal and do these for guests ahead of time.  We etched our guys glasses too, saying Lord Ben and Lord ARay, I think they will feel pretty cool using them.
Etching is a super fun and easy craft, it is kid friendly too, great for teacher gifts!
Now we can feel fancy while drinking our wine!

Our next craft project used these adorable plastic hand mirrors I found at the DollarTree.  We had fun looking at different quotes on Pinterest and chose our favorites to write on the mirrors with dry erase markers.  This way if theres some awesome quotes from this season, we can change it up later on.  We both decided on a Dowager quote "You are a woman with a brain and reasonable ability".  You can find the rest of the quote here, we could only fit the beginning. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/285626801341093544/ You can always count on the Dowager Countess to give you a confidence boost!
These mirrors would be great favors for a Downton party or a little girl's tea themed party.

Showing off the fun mirror!

So that was our Downton Abbey brunch! We planned it for three people but you could very easily plan for a much bigger party with these crafts and recipes.  I hope everyone is enjoying Season 4 of Downton Abbey! Have you hosted any Downton themed parties, I would love to hear which recipes you used and which ones are worth trying!


  1. So, so awesome! If you can't go to England, this is totally the second best thing!

    1. We had so much fun! I thought you would appreciate this!


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