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Women coming across the pond to teach Downton Abbey themed classes


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: TASTING ENGLAND - Tina Boughey and Jennifer Aston Mills, of Tasting England, will present a Downton Abbey themed dinner and tea at In Good Taste in October. Sign up now for the taste adventure.

I have to admit that I was late to the party of the “Downton Abbey” mania. During the show’s first and second seasons, my family was dedicated to watching “Boardwalk Empire” and “Mad Men” on Sunday evenings. About halfway through season three, however, I started watching “Downton Abbey” and was instantly hooked.

This summer I viewed seasons one and two and am 164th in the queue at the library for borrowing season three. I am hopeful I’ll get to view it before season four begins in January. I daresay I believe I am being frightfully optimistic.

As a means to while away the time before the new season begins, my friend Barbara Dawson, owner of In Good Taste Cooking School, has a delightful prospect for us. She has invited Tina Boughey and Jennifer Aston Mills to come from across the pond, as they say, to present “Downton Abbey” themed events at In Good Taste.

Tina and Jenny both live in the historic city of Worcester, which sits on the banks of the River Severn. According to Barbara, they share a great love of England and its many cultural and historical traditions, and they want to share their passion with us. Both women have run highly successful cookery schools in England, America and Italy. They trained in the gourmet food and hospitality industry before going on to run a successful tour company specializing in small tour parties in cooking and painting in Florence and along the Amalfi coast in Italy.

They will present a dinner fit for the Earl of Grantham on Oct. 18. Not only will you dine on the fabulous cuisine to which the earl is accustomed, you will be served wines as carefully selected as we’ve ever seen Carson pour and you’ll learn the tricks you wish Mrs. Patmore would teach Daisy.

You’ll start the evening with a cooking lesson and then retire to the dining table for dinner. The dinner menu includes: salmon mousse toasts, hot crab toasts, Highclere chicken with herb-infused sauce, sole paupiettes with white wine and cream sauce, roast joint of lamb with anchovies and capers, Duchess potatoes, quenelles of carrot, Mrs. Patmore’s Floating Raspberry Meringues and fruit and chocolates.

If you prefer tea, the ladies will present a British Vintage Tea Time on Oct. 21.

The tea menu includes a selection of dainty finger sandwiches made prior to class and served at tea plus English scones with Tasting English’s special recipe with clotted cream and strawberry jam, glazed raspberry tart, meringue kisses, cherry frangipan fancies, shot glass of lemon posset and a selection of fine teas.

The cost of the dinner is $125 per person, and the tea is priced at $75.

Put on your best frock and treat yourself to a grand adventure. I can’t think of a more delightful way to build anticipation to the start of the fourth season of “Downton Abbey.” You can learn more and sign up for the dinner or tea online at ingoodtastestore.com/cooking-classes.html or by calling 503-248-2015.

I selected recipes of English cuisine today. The summer pudding is an old-fashioned dessert. It might not have been served upstairs at Downton, but certainly the staff downstairs would have enjoyed its simple nature.

Bon appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Summer Pudding with Blueberries and Raspberries

Makes 6 servings

A little easy preparation, plus time, yields a gorgeous old-fashioned English dessert that showcases summer berries in the most glorious way. The bread retains a bit of its texture and absorbs all the natural juices exuded by the berries for a cool, smooth intensity.

1 unsliced rectangular loaf of brioche or good-quality firm white bread such as Pullman (1 pound), crusts discarded

4 cups blueberries (1 pound)

5 cups raspberries (18 ounces)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Equipment: a deep 2 1/2-quart bowl (preferably 8 inches in diameter across top and 3 inches across bottom); a platter with a lip

Accompaniment: lemon verbena ice cream

Cut bread into 14 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut out a 3-inch round from 1 slice and put in bottom of bowl. Line side of bowl with 10 slices, overlapping them slightly.

Bring berries, sugar and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries collapse and release their juices, about 8 minutes. Spoon fruit into a sieve set over a bowl and let drain 15 minutes. Spoon drained fruit into bread-lined bowl (reserve juices) and cover completely with remaining bread, cutting bread to fit.

Pour juices evenly over bread, making sure all bread is saturated. Cover pudding directly with a piece of wax paper and place a 7-inch plate, upside down, on top of paper. Put a 1- to 1 1/2-pound weight (such as a large can) on plate and chill at least 8 hours.

Remove weight, plate and wax paper and invert platter over bowl, then invert bowl onto platter. Carefully unmold. It should be firm enough that you can cut it into wedges, put those on plates and serve with lemon verbena ice cream on the side.

Cook’s note: Pudding can be chilled (with weights) up to 3 days.

(Adapted from Gourmet, July 2007)

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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