Manor House
"They are constantly saying upstairs that they understand how downstairs feel
but they haven't really got a clue"

Dried rose-heads for making a fragrant pot-pourri or for scenting the linen cupboard
Dried rose-heads for making a fragrant pot-pourri or for scenting the linen cupboard

Champagne and Primrose Jelly
Mark Griffiths' Guide to Keeping an Orchid
Lavender Bath Soaks
Turkish Delight
Web Links
If by chance you meet a Lower Servant, you should walk past, leaving them un-noticed... you will spare them the shame of explaining their presence
Lower Servants: if you meet one of your betters in the house, endeavour to make yourself invisible – 'give room', turn your back, and avert your eyes
"I really don't have problem with having servants...if I'm not being served, they don't have a job. This is absolutely magnificent. I'm enjoying it."
Sir John Olliff-Cooper
Treats: Flowers

The Edwardians loved flowers and they took every opportunity to surround themselves with floral pleasures not only in the garden and the drawing room, but in every corner of the Edwardian house.

Champagne and Primrose Jelly

A stunning visual treat and indulgent eating too. If Primroses are not in season other edible seasonable flowers such as primulas, pansies, or nasturtiums can be used.

  • 1 litre water
  • gelatine (powdered or leaf - follow instructions for setting 1.5 litres)
  • 1 orange
  • 2 lemons
  • 250g sugar
  • 200ml sherry
  • 400 ml champagne
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 whites of eggs and their shells
  • c. 2 dozen primrose flowers, all stalk removed

Soak the gelatine in a glass of the water. Put the rest of the water, along with the juice and zest of the orange and lemons, and all the other ingredients (apart from egg whites and shells) in large pan over a low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the soaked gelatine and water and stir to dissolve that too. Lightly whisk the whites of eggs, crush the shell and add also. Stir occasionally until the liquid comes to the boil. Remove from the heat, and strain through a wetted cotton cloth or jelly bag. {The egg white and shell treatment is not essential, but it will make the jelly crystal clear.)

Pour about 1/4 of the jelly into a suitably dashing Edwardian jelly mould. Place in the fridge until lightly set. Arrange a ring of primrose flowers, open petals down, on the surface of the jelly, pressing lightly so they stick to the tacky surface. Carefully pour over the next 1/4 of the unset jelly, and put the mould back into the fridge.

Continue in this way, creating three or four rings of primroses set into the jelly.

To unmould the jelly, dip the mould for just a few seconds in hot water, place your chosen serving dish over the top, flip it over with a little shake, and lift off the mould.

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Keeping Orchids

First, the plant you buy or are given may lose some of its flowers and buds straightaway. Don't worry - this is a result of temperature fluctuations during transportation. Once the plant is in its new home, it should adjust and produce viable buds and long-lasting blooms. Moth orchids thrive in a temperature range of between 18 and 30 degrees centigrade - the cooler they are, the drier they need to be. They resent sudden changes in temperature and hate draughts and sources of direct heat.

  • Position them in good but indirect light.
  • Hailing from monsoon regions, they relish high humidity. In the home this is best achieved by standing the plant's pot on a tray or in a larger pot that is filled with wet gravel. However, the base of the plant pot itself should never stand in water.
  • Water them whenever the potting compost dries out, drenching the pot and allowing the excess water to drain away. In nature, these orchids' relations perch in the boughs of trees. A high proportion of their thick, silvery roots will want to clamber around free of their potting mixture: don't discourage them - rather spray them as often as you can as this will keep their tips green (or pink), growing and absorbent.
  • Douse them monthly with a dilute fertilizer suitable for orchids.
  • Although they may appear to be escaping from their containers, moth orchids rarely need repotting. When the time comes, use an open mix of coarse (not composted) bark, charcoal and perlite.
  • Finally, so long as they are green, the flower spikes of Phalaenopsis have the potential to continue blooming even when flowering appears to have finished. If you cut them at a node, the spikes will usually branch out, producing a new set of buds. Well looked-after, they should remain alive for years, and in flower for much of their lives.

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Lavender Bath Soaks

  • 1 kg coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons lavender flowers
  • 20 drops oil of lavender
  • Small dried rosebuds (optional)
  • Squares of muslin
  • Ribbon

Combine the salt, lavender flowers and oil of lavender. Stir well until the colour is evenly distributed. Put a couple of tablespoons into the muslin squares, sprinkle a few rosebuds in each and tie with ribbon. These can then be dropped into the bath or hung around the taps for the water to run through.

Alternatively, the bath salts can be stored in a glass jar, layering with scented salt then lavender flowers.

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Turkish Delight

This is not a truly authentic Turkish delight, which takes hours of laborious sugar-boiling and stirring, but it is a genuine Edwardian recipe which is quick and easy to make and a real treat to eat.

  • 2 tablespoons rose-water
  • 25g powdered gelatine
  • 270ml cold water
  • 450g granulated sugar
  • few drops pink food colouring
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 25g cornflour

Mix 1 tablespoon rose water with 3 tablespoons cold water. Sprinkle the gelatine evenly over the liquid, but don't stir. Leave for about 5 minutes so the gelatine absorbs the liquid and swells into a spongy mass.

Gently heat the sugar in 270ml water in a heavy-bottomed pan, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the gelatine to the pan, stirring constantly until it has melted, then bring to the boil. Boil over a low to medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring fairly often, then remove from the heat and add the remaining rose water and the colouring.

Pour the mixture into a wetted 15 x 15cm tin and chill for 24 hours until set.

Sieve the icing sugar and cornflour together and sprinkle evenly over a piece of greaseproof paper. Turn the Turkish delight out onto the powdered paper and cut it into 2.5cm squares with a sharp knife. Toss well in the sugar mixture.

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