Thursday, January 2, 2014


Season 4, formal family portrait, all looking quite grand! Notice those two folks from the US, Shirley Maclaine and Paul Giamatti.
Well one really good thing about January is that means the long awaited (for those of us who are dedicated viewers of the series) return of Downton Abbey is almost upon us.  This next Sunday night (January 5, 2014) at 9:00 (Mountain time) the season opener starts.  I learned my BIG lesson last season and that is to be very careful when looking for information about the show as it is shown in the UK before being shown here and while looking for some photos last year to put on an invite I discovered to my horror that they were killing off Matthew and then had to keep my mouth shut all season so as to not spoil it for friends and family that are also viewers.

At 8:00 Sunday night there is an hour program "Secrets of Highclere Castle" so I think I will ask the guests to arrive around 7:30 so we can get settled, nibble on some "English snacks" and be ready for the two hour season opener.
Since the story line has moved out of the Edwardian age into what is called the Interwar years (in between WWI and WWII) I looked for an authentic recipe to serve on the snack table - too late for high tea or dinner but we will of course, have snacks and tea! These are called Cheese Muffins and the recipe comes from a website in the UK under "History Cookbook."

"This recipe was popular in the Interwar years and variations appeared in several cookery books.

You can use different flavourings (mustard for instance helps to enhance the cheese flavour) and add chopped olives or tomatoes if wished - fun to experiment.

These can also be made in small confectionery (sweet) cases and baked for 8-10 mins for a party. 


  • 3oz (90g) of flour
  • 1 oz (30g) of grated cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoonful salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 pint (0.14l) milk
1 oz = 28.35g rounded up in this recipe to 30g
1 UK pint = 0.568 Litres

Making and cooking it

  1. Preheat the oven to hot (200C) = 392 Fahrenheit so I am thinking a 400 degree oven
  2. Beat the egg lightly
  3. Stir in the milk
  4. Add a pinch of paprika and stir
  5. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together
  6. Stir in grated cheese
  7. Pour the liquid into the flour mixture and stir
  8. Then beat hard
  9. Well grease muffin (patty) tins
  10. Spoon in mixture, only filling them half full
  11. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top
  12. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes"

Fashions will have changed a little more this season, hems lifted a bit and "oh my gosh" ankles showing!  We did see some of this last season, just way too shocking for Lord Grantham!

Cheese Muffin recipe, Cook It  
Photo of  Highclere Castle, the family and the fashions, The "Daily Mail"

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