31 January 2014

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines

  • Publisher: Adams Media (September 18, 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440538919
  • Hardcover: 256 pages

At A Gimpse:

Bring Upstairs and Downstairs Fare to Your Table.
Nibble on Sybil's Ginger Nut Biscuits during tea. Treat yourself to Ethel's Beloved Crepes Suzette. Feast on Mr. Bates' Chicken and Mushroom Pie with a room full of guests. With this collection of delicacies inspired by Emmy Award-winning series Downton Abbey, you'll feel as sophisticated and poised as the men and women of Downton when you prepare these upstairs and downstairs favorites. Each dish finds its roots within the kitchen of the grand estate, including:
  • Mrs. Isobel Crawley's Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches
  • Filet Mignon with Foie Gras and Truffle Sauce
  • Walnut and Celery Salad with Pecorino
  • Decadent Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Icing
  • Very Vanilla Rice Pudding
You will love indulging in the splendors of another era with the snacks, entrees, and desserts from this masterpiece of a cookbook.

(Photo source www.dailymail.co.uk)

Here are my thoughts:

As I browsed through other Amazon reviews of THE UNOFFICIAL DOWNTON ABBEY COOKBOOK I noticed two headlines: 
- The Feel of Downton Abbey (I guess it sums it up well!)
- Do not attempt these recipes at home...(intriguing!)

I admit I was more curious about the second review than the first...I have (yet) to see anything of this series and it is dubious I will if ever...Fans have swarmed our library for this loan and I am not sure I care to wait my turn (# 1089, really????) even if I am a fan of Dame Maggie Smith.

An attempt to procure the DVD first season resulted in a raccoon family raiding the ferry dock (where the parcel which included also a box of chocolates was held overnight...)
No chocolates were found and neither was the DVD...It would appear there are more than one type of fan out there...I could just imagine a whole bunch of raccoons enjoying the snappy reparties of the Countess of Grantham and Matthew Crowley under a midnight sky on the beach...

Back to this review: "Notwithstanding the cutesy chirps introducing the recipes, e.g., Lady Mary would "... enjoy this soup while in the midst of a fiery debate with Matthew," (yeah, right), anyone who cooks beyond the microwave will find at least four inexcusable errors in the first 60 pages. This does not inspire confidence in the remaining 182". 

Since I believe it is well worth a peek follow the link (HERE) for the 'rest of the story'...

In all fairness to the author, this book was meant to give the rest of us an idea of what entails in the preparation of a ten to fifteen courses meal! 

Also whilst I must agree with the above reviewer in most instances, I found some of the recipes reminiscent to those I recall my paternal grandmother requesting for her table (she did not have the staff available to the Countess but she none the less felt privileged to have one upstairs maid, two downstairs and a elderly gardener...the latter was suspected by many of us to be kept on the staff by my grandfather in need perhaps of male companionship - his household was filled with women including his own four daughters!)

Alas, time have changed...Such a setting is no longer (at least for some of us!) and women are more likely to wish to be served such appetizing courses - given the opportunity - than preparing such elaborate dishes themselves.

The Upstairs Anchovy Onion Tarts,  Mushrooms Vol au Vent, Classic Beef Wellington as well as the Sweet Lemon Curd recipes were familiar and the standard US/Metric measurements conversions  listed at the end of the cookbook would have been welcomed when I first became a bride!

For a peek at another way of life be sure to check it out!

4 Stars!

About Emily Ansara Baines:

(Photo source Independent.co.uk)

From Amazon:

Emily Ansara Baines's short stories have appeared in Narrative literary magazine and AngeLingo. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California where she studied creative writing under Aimee Bender and T.C. Boyle. One day Emily will live in Paris and speak French while wearing a beret, but these days she makes do with navigating the streets of Los Angeles. Her favorite word is murmur.

Here is a link to one of a handful of blogs written by Emily (HERE)

Note to Readers: This was a library loan and reflects ONLY my opinion!


  1. This is the sort of cookbook I like Noelle!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Madelief x

  2. I would check it out at the local library first Madelief but it is different that's for certain! I like cookbooks with a bit of history behind the scenes as well but without broadcast telly, I have little to compare this one to but for fans, it is a fun peek!
    A new snapshot with glasses I am sure you showed on your blog sometime last year? Nice!
    Enjoy a peaceful time as well Friend!
    Tot siens,

  3. Noelle,
    Would you believe that I've never seen Downton Abbey? I think I'm the last who hasn't watched the movie. I heard it was very good. This sounds like a delightful cookbook, and I love this kitchen! Wouldn't it be nice to cook and bake in a kitchen like that - so much space!

    I hope you have a lovely weekend, Noelle.


    1. And I thought I was the only person who hadn't and yes, the cookbook is well worth checking out (I love the kitchen too!)

  4. I love Downton Abbey!! Have a lovely weekend. Hugs from Holland! XX Esther

    1. Hugs to Pippa, Esther and enjoy the weekend (we are getting record lows...guess it is our turn!)

  5. My first comment went into space I think! there has to be a two legged raccoon enjoying Downton Abbey. I've watched all the earlier seasons and just waiting for the current one.

    1. We are of the same opinion Mystica (another Christmas present went that way as well...but I like to envision the raccoon family instead!)
      All the best Friend,


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