and ramblings on everything in between
Downton Abbey has captured a lot of our hearts and provides a unique view into the class system and antics of aristocrats in England during the early 20th century. For the past three seasons, I’ve been head-over-heels in love with Daisy and Molesley and Mary. This season, however, isn’t doing it for me. I think it’s taking too long to get some interesting plot lines going again since the third season had to end in such tragedy. Perhaps it’s the three-season curse. I tend to fall out of love with TV shows at that point – The Office, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy.
My favorite tea brewer, The Republic of Tea, was kind enough to send me a sample of a special blend in honor of Downton. English Rose Tea is a delicate blend of rose, raspberry, and hibiscus. I often steer away from herbal teas because they tend to remind me of warm Kool-Aid. I decided to give this one a go for the Crawleys sake. It wasn’t too sweet, which kept it from completely spilling over into the warm Kool-Aid realm, and the rose was a nice touch. I don’t think it’s enough to send me sailing over to the herbal tea side of the line just yet.
You can check out the Downton Abbey Cooks Online Guide to Afternoon Tea to learn about the origin of afternoon tea and discover a few crumpet and scone recipes. Here are a few tidbits for you:
– Afternoon tea was first enjoyed by Anne, Duchess of Bedford, in the late 1830s when her growling stomach couldn’t make it between lunch and dinner without a bite and sip of something.
– Afternoon tea is traditionally offered with sandwiches and sweets.
– According to the French, “To put milk in your tea before sugar is to cross the path of love, perhaps never to marry.” Think about that the next time you’re making a cuppa.
I’ve made these delicious orange scones that I found over at Pastry Affair for a few Downton viewing parties. I highly recommend them!
1 3/4 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, orange zest, and salt. Add the butter using a pastry tool (or your hands) and mix until the mixture is crumbly with pea-sized chunks. Stir in the orange juice and sour cream until just blended. Do not overmix or it will result in tough scones.
Roll scones into a ball and flatten slightly on a cookie sheet to resemble 2 inch rounds. Whisk together the egg and milk and brush over the top of the scones. Let scones rest for 10 minutes before baking.
Bake for 12 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Cool until room temperature before glazing.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth. If too thick, add more orange juice until it is smooth. Drizzle lightly over scones.
Put the kettle on and enjoy!