Tonawanda News

February 4, 2013

Get Edwardian with these Downton-inspired recipes

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The actress in me was glued to the “telly” for season three of “Downton Abbey” last month.

This British period drama television series, co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece, is truly an addictive blend of suds and social commentary bringing a microcosm of Edward-ian society together under one roof.

Fleeting memories of my days in theater rise frequently, especially when I starred as Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the epic “The Barretts of Wimpole Street,” the frivolous “Never Too Late,””The Fifth Season” and the Valentine-themed productions of “The Colossus” and Abraham Lincoln’s poignant letter to Mrs. Bixby about her loss of five sons “who have died gloriously on the field of battle.”

The scrapbooks are overflowing with the memoirs of those days, so I am just a number in the 7.9 million people who watched the lords and ladies on Jan. 6 deal with their money woes in this British drama all about weddings, crimes and such. So there will definitely be a fourth season and probably a fifth, but milking a show for all it’s worth is not the intention, we are told. 

Questions have been asked whether the food served in the dinner scenes is authentic to the period. There is a special cook there to say, possibly, that salmon mousse is being served. It won’t actually be salmon, but probably picnic food or favorite fare.

Here is my take on some recipes that would probably fit right in with “Downton Abbey’s” upstairs-downstairs lifestyle, in its no-fuss, stiff-upper-lip way in the lily-white, class-bound England imagined by the author, Julian Fellowes, with nods to my favorite actors, Maggie Smith and Shirley MacLaine.

Saucy apple pork roast

Chunky apple wedges sweetened with brown sugar and apple juice roast alongside a lean and luscious herb-crusted pork loin. For best results, choose firm cooking apples such as winesap.

1 31/2- to 4-pound boneless pork loin roast

3 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

3 medium apples, cored and cut into wedges

1/4 cup apple juice (I used apple cider)

2 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 tablespoon lemon juice (use fresh; abandon that bottle of concentrate lurking in your fridge!)

2 teaspoon dry mustard (use 1 tablespoon yellow mustard if you don’t have dried)

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Trim fat from meat.

Cut small slits in meat; insert a slice of garlic into each slit.

In a small bowl, combine salt, rosemary and pepper.

Sprinkle mixture evenly over meat and rub in with your fingers.

Place meat on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees when inserted into the center of the meat, for about 13/4 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine apples, apple juice, brown sugar, lemon juice and dry mustard. Add apple mixture to roasting pan during the last 30 minutes of roasting.

Transfer meat to a serving platter. Cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 minutes before cutting into slices.

Remove rack from roasting pan. Stir apple wedges into pan juices.

Serve meat slices with apple mixture.

Makes about 12 servings. 

Marija’s easy pound cake 

The pound cake is a British creation that dates back to the early 1700s, and the name came from the fact that the original pound cakes contained one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Nothing else other than the air whipped into the batter. In the days when many people could not read, this simple conversion made it simple to remember the recipe.

23/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

13/4 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon real vanilla

3/4 cup milk

4 eggs

Combine all the ingredients and add four eggs. Bake in a greased and floured bundt or tube pan at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.

English drop scones

We have several donated recipes for a proper English breakfast, such as baked eggs with tomato and spinach, compotes and my favorite drop scones. The scones recipe serves 12 and is the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day.

2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut up

1/2 cup dried cranberries (chopped)

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg

1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet. (I use parchment paper)

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cut in butter until fine crumbs. Food processor is best.

Place in large bowl, and add cranberries and raisins.

Beat egg and milk with a fork.

Add milk and egg mixture to flour mixture, and stir with a fork.

Drop 12 heaping spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

Cool on rack.

Marija DiLiberto Vukcevich is a freelance writer from Lewiston.

Marija Vukcevich is a freelance writer from Lewiston. Contact her at