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

Devilled Kidneys
Honey, Raisin and Lemon Drop Scones
Beeswax Furniture Polish
Lavender Hand Cream
Richard Blades' Kedgeree
Edwardian Household Hints
General Shaving Tips
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: Everyday Life

The Edwardian era was a boom time and the gentry set about indulging their senses in all areas of life, so that everything they did became an exercise in luxury.

Devilled Kidneys

If you think you don't like kidneys, or you're not quite sure, then this is the recipe that will convert you. It's also very straightforward - it all comes together in a single pan and is ready in just a few minutes. The quantities for the various ingredients for the sauce are approximate. You should be feeling your way towards the level of piquancy you want.

  • four lambs' kidneys, cut into quarters with the whitish core trimmed out
  • small glass sherry
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon redcurrant jelly
  • a few good shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • a good pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon double cream
  • salt, black pepper
  • a little chopped parsley

to accompany:

  • fried bread, or plain boiled rice
  • a crisp green salad
Heat a little oil in a small frying pan, add the kidneys and sizzle to brown them for just a minute, tossing them occasionally in the pan.

Then add a generous slosh of sherry, let it bubble for a moment, and follow up with a more modest splash of wine or cider vinegar. Add the redcurrant jelly and stir to dissolve. Then add the Worcester sauce, cayenne, English mustard, and plenty of black pepper. Season with a pinch of salt. Take the edge off the fire with an enriching spoon of double cream, bubble for another minute or two, shaking the pan occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and nice and glossy. Taste for piquancy, and add more cayenne and black pepper if you like.

Serve with fried bread to give a bit of crunch and mop up the sauce, or to make a more substantial supper dish, with plain boiled rice, and a crisp green salad. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

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Pikelets are similar in texture to crumpets, but made with a thinner batter and cooked without a ring. Unlike drop scones they keep well, and can be kept in a sealed plastic bag or Tupperware container for 2-3 days in the fridge. Reheat on a griddle or in a toaster before serving.

Makes about 28 pikelets

  • 230g white bread flour (ie strong)
  • 230g plain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 15g/ 1/2 oz fresh yeast (or easyblend yeast, quantity according to instructions on packet)
  • 500ml lukewarm water
  • a teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 280ml lukewarm milk

griddle or heavy bottomed frying pan

Sift the two flours and cream of tartar into a bowl. Put the fresh yeast into a small bowl and roughly mash it with a fork. Add a little of the lukewarm water and stir so the yeast is mixed in. (Or to make this simpler just add easy blend yeast according to the instructions on the packet)

Pour the yeast liquid and the rest of the lukewarm water into the flour to make a very thick, but smooth and glossy batter, beating it with a wooden spoon for a minute or two. Cover the bowl and leave it to stand in a warm spot for about 3/4 of an hour.

Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the lukewarm milk. Stir into the batter and add the salt.

Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan to very hot. Put 1 dessertspoon at a time of the batter in circles on the griddle/frying pan. Cook for about 3 minutes each side, turning when the bubbles on the surface start to dry out.

Eat hot, straight away with butter and honey, or warm up later.

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Honey, Raisin and Lemon Drop Scones

A delicious teatime treat that only takes a few minutes to make.

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • a beaten egg
  • 300 ml milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • rind of 3/4 unwaxed lemon
  • 4 tablespoons raisins
  • vegetable oil for greasing pan

Sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg. Stir it into the dry ingredients, drawing them in till you reach the edge of the bowl. Then trickle in the milk, continuing to beat the mixture. Continue adding milk till the batter has the consistency of thick paint, or pour-able double cream.

Warm up the honey in a pan so it is runny. Add the honey and lemon rind to the drop scone mixture and stir in. Add the raisins. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease a griddle or heavy bottomed frying pan with vegetable oil. Put the pan over a high flame. Put tablespoonfuls of the mixture on the hot griddle/ frying pan. When the scones start to get burst holes on top, and the underside is golden brown, they are ready to turn over.

Serve with butter, and more honey, if desired.

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Beeswax Furniture Polish

  • 225g grated beeswax
  • turpentine
  • Lavender oil (optional)

Put the beeswax into a double boiler. Pour turpentine so it covers the beeswax by ½ inch. Heat the ingredients slowly until all the beeswax has melted. Add a few drops of lavender oil if desired. Pour into jar and leave to set.

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Lavender Hand Cream

  • 18g beeswax
  • 30ml almond oil
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 5ml glycerine
  • 4ml lavender oil

Melt the beeswax and almond oil with the vegetable oil in a double boiler. When melted, remove from heat and add olive and glycerine, stirring well. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil (or your favourite scent) and continue stirring as the mixture cools. Heat well when the ointment begins to set and continue beating into a smooth consistency. Pour or spoon into a screw top jar to set.

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Richard Blades' Kedgeree

Serves ten

  • 1kg rice, cooked
  • 400g smoked haddock, poached for around 8 minutes, then skinned, drained and separated into flakes
  • eggs, hard-boiled and diced
  • 5 eggs, hard-boiled and halved
  • 10 sprigs chervil

Curry Sauce:

  • 30g dried onion
  • 45g red thai curry paste
  • 50g fresh root ginger (peeled and grated)
  • 50g fresh garlic (peeled and grated)
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass (bruised and chopped)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • leaves of 1 sprig of thyme
  • leaves of 1 sprig parsley
  • 1 peeled Braeburn apple, diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 500ml double cream
  • 2 red chillies (de-seeded and finely chopped)
  • 20ml olive oil

Incorporate all the sauce ingredients, except for the double cream, in a thick bottom pan. Sauté them all, without colouring, for 10-15 minutes on a low heat.

Slowly add the double cream after 10-15 minutes and allow to come to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer a further 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blitz the sauce in a liquidiser until all the ingredients are puréed.

Pass through a fine sieve and adjust the seasoning with white pepper and salt.

Add the cooked rice to the sauce and allow the rice to infuse for 10-15 minutes on a low heat. Add the cooked smoked haddock and diced hard-boiled eggs.

Serve in a warm soup plate and garnish with a sprig of chervil and half a hard-boiled egg.

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Edwardian Household Hints

  • For cleaning brass and copper: sprinkle SALT on a quarter of a LEMON and rub. Add a little VINEGAR for an all purpose cleaner.
  • To remove stains from wine glasses - mix SALT and VINEGAR into a paste and use with a hot cloth.
  • To remove stains on leather shoes, rub with half an ONION then polish.
  • For a sparkling mirror, rub with half a POTATO, rinse with water and polish with NEWSPAPER.
  • To remove spots on a silk tie, dab with GIN to bring up the shine.

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General Shaving Tips

  • Shower or bathe before shaving to warm the face and open pores.
  • A simple technique for opening pores is to soak a folded flannel or small towel in hot water, or put a damp flannel in the microwave for 30 seconds, and wrap it around the face for 30 seconds or more.
  • Use plenty of hot water and shave in a warm environment.
  • Protect the skin with moisturiser.
  • Use a quality badger brush with good shaving cream or soap. Avoid using aerosol shaving cream.
  • Brush in a circular motion for one minute to lift the beard and exfoliate the skin.
  • Shave with the beard, never against the grain.
  • Rinse the blade frequently in hot water.
  • Rinse face well with cool water and gently pat dry.
  • After shaving use a moisturiser.
  • Avoid applying alcohol-based products to the face after shaving.

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