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Manor House
"They are constantly saying upstairs that they understand how downstairs feel
but they haven't really got a clue"
THE PROJECT|THE HOUSE|THE PEOPLE|EDWARDIAN LIFE|YOU IN 1905|TREATS|SNOB QUIZ

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
Pikelets
Honey, Raisin and Lemon Drop Scones
Beeswax Furniture Polish
Lavender Hand Cream
Richard Blades' Kedgeree
Edwardian Household Hints
General Shaving Tips
Upstairs
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
more...
Downstairs
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
more...
"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: Entertaining

The Edwardian upper classes were the ultimate big spenders, forever in pursuit of ostentation and style. And when it came to celebrating, the champagne flowed like water.

In this program Hugh sets himself the challenge of hosting a dinner Edwardian style, without busting a gut or breaking the bank. The food includes a soup with oyster croutons, a mutton dish and ice creams made in 100 year old moulds owned by food historian, Ivan Day. Hugh visits wine merchants Berry Bros and Rudd to rediscover the popular Edwardian tipple of Madeira. From the depths of their wine cellar, Simon Berry uncovers a bottle of Edwardian Madeira to crack open for a taste test. Ice sculptors Jamie and Duncan Hamilton give Hugh a quick lesson in ice sculpting. Wielding a chainsaw, Hugh succeeds in making a surprisingly delicate sculpture. Simon Lycett, celebrity floral decorator, visits the house to pass on some ingenious ideas to transform Hugh's dining room into the perfect setting for lavish Edwardian entertaining.

Potato Soup with Oyster Crouton

Escoffier's Puree de pommes Parmentier is really the forerunner of Vichysoise: a simple enough leek and potato soup, but velvety smooth and enriched with cream. The oyster crouton is from Mrs Marshall.

Serves 6

For the soup:

  • 1 kilo floury potatoes
  • 4 large leeks (white part only)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • pinch curry powder
  • salt
  • 150 ml double cream
  • a little milk

For the oyster crouton

  • 6 large live oysters, in their shells, scrubbed clean
  • 6 slices white bread
  • 2 glasses white wine
  • 1 glass water
  • 1 tablespoon of cream
  • a sprig of chervil, finely chopped.

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Rinse well. Clean and slice the leeks. Melt the butter in a pan, add the leeks, and sweat until soft. Add the potatoes and the stock, bring to the boil, and simmer until the potatoes are completely tender. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and rub through a sieve (better than blending them, which can make the soup gluey). Puree the leeks in a blender with a little of the stock, and a pinch of curry powder.

Return the sieved potatoes to a clean pan, add the pureed leeks and the rest of the stock, and the cream. Mix well with a whisk so the soup is well-blended and velvety smooth. If it seems a little thick, thin with some milk. Reheat the soup thoroughly, without quite boiling, before serving.

For the crouton:

Use crimped pastry cutters to stamp out six pretty oyster-sized ovals from the white bread slices. Fry in clarified butter or oil until golden brown.

Bring the wine and water to the boil and add the oysters. Replace the lid and leave for just two minutes. Take off the heat and remove the oysters. The shells should have opened a fraction. Open them up and remove the poached oyster whole, pouring any juices back into the pan. Strain these winey juices into a clean pan through a cloth, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a couple of tablespoonfuls and add the cream. Reduce till thick and glossy, take off the heat, and stir in the chervil.

To serve up:

Ladle the hot soup into warmed plates. Place the fried bread crouton in the centre. Place the warm poached oyster on the crouton. Spoon over a little of the creamy sauce and garnish the bowl with a few sprigs of chervil. Serve at once.

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Rolled Mutton Joint

Mutton is much under-rated. It comes from well-fattened sheep in the prime of life (2-4 years old) and can still be served juicy and pink. The Edwardians liked to serve it with piquant sauces and stuffing, as its rich robust flavour stands up to them. The anchovy and caper combination is a period classic.

A good butchers will find mutton for you if you ask, but you can also buy it mail order from Somerset Farm Direct (01398 371387)

Serves 6

  • 1 boned joint of mutton (loin or shoulder), 1.5-2kg
  • 6 anchovy fillets (in oil, not vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • small bunch parsley, destalked
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (from the anchovies if you like)
  • black pepper
  • 1 glass water
  • 1 glass white wine

With your biggest knife, or a mezzaluna, chop the anchovies, capers, garlic and parsley together on large board, till all are well mixed and fairly fine. transfer to a small bowl and mix in the mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with pepper.

Lay your joint skin side down and spread the mixture generously all over the inside of the meat.

Roll up the joint and tie it securely with butcher's string. Place in a roasting tray and put in the centre of a hot oven 220 C. After half an hour, when the joint should be nicely browned pour over the wine and water (this will give you a delicious gravy). Turn the oven down to 180 C and cook for a further 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of the joint and how pink you like your meat.

Serve with piped "walnut whips" of mashed potatoes, browned in the oven, and quenelles of pureed carrots wrapped in blanched spinach leaves, and gravy made from the juices.

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Alexandretta Bombe

Serves 8-10

This beautiful ice would have been made in a bombe mould, but you can also use a plastic pudding basin. To serve, cut the bombe into slices, like a cake, showing off the layers of white ice and coconut with pink crystallised rose petals.

Orange flower ice:

  • 570ml single cream
  • 3 tablespoons orange flower water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kirsch or Maraschino

Bombe:

  • The orange flower ice (see ingredients above)
  • Approx 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • Approx 4 teaspoons crystallised roses

First prepare an orange flower water ice-cream. To do this, mix all the orange flower ice ingredients together, chill and freeze in an ice-cream machine, according to manufacturer's instructions, until semi hard.

Use the orangewater ice to line a bombe mould, or a plastic pudding bowl, so it is about 2.5cm thick. Sprinkle the layer of orange flower ice all over, sparsely, with dried sweet coconut and crystallised roses. Cover this over with more ice-cream, sprinkle again with the coconut and rose leaves, and continue this process till the mould is full, then cover it with a lid or cling film and put it in the freezer for 2 1/2-3 hours.

When sufficiently frozen, dip the mould briefly into cold water. Pass a clean cloth over the bottom to absorb any moisture and turn out the ice onto a plate. If you want to give it an authentic Edwardian appearance, put a doiley on the plate and garnish the bombe with small assorted shapes of apple ice (see below) and stick a few small sprigs of maidenhair ferns on top of the ice (these are not for eating).

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Apple Sorbet

This was traditionally used to make small garnishing ices, coloured and set in small moulds to resemble asparagus stalks, crowns, baskets of strawberries etc. You could also simply freeze it in dariole moulds and place the un-moulded ices around the bombe. However, you use it, this ice-cream is also delicious in its own right.

  • 450g cooking apples
  • 1 un-waxed lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 100g caster sugar
  • a few drops of green food colouring (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Maraschino or Kirsch

Peel, core and slice the cooking apples and put in a pan. Carefully peel the lemon, avoiding getting any of the bitter white pith, and cut the peel into 4cm lengths. Put in the pan with the apple, a bay leaf, 1/2 a split vanilla bean and the caster sugar.

Add 1 pint water, and cook over a medium heat until the lemon peel is tender (about an hour). Remove the vanilla pod. Add a few drops of green food colouring, if you want an apple colour, and the juice of the lemon. Rub through a sieve. When cool flavour with 2 tablespoons Marashino or Kirsch. Chill.

Freeze in an ice-cream machine, according to manufacturer's instructions.

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Pineapple Ice

In the program, these two ices were put in a mould to make an orange pineapple with green leaves. The mould we used is an antique, but these ices are still delicious made and eaten on their own, un-moulded.

Serves 8-10

  • 1 pineapple
  • 870ml water
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 300ml rose water (the best quality brands are worth seeking out in Lebanese/Indian/Greek shops)
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange food colouring (optional)
  • 300ml double cream

Peel the pineapple, removing all the spikes in the flesh. Cut the pineapple into quarters and take the core out of each quarter. Chop the rest of the flesh into roughly 3cm cubes. Put the pineapple flesh into a pan with the water with the sugar. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and cook, over a medium heat, for 30 minutes.

Add the rosewater to the pan. Remove fruit from syrup and liquidise. Put the pulp into a bowl and mix it with the lemon and orange juice. Add the food colouring, if you want a brighter colour. Add the syrup in which the fruit was boiled. Put the whole mixture through a sieve, making sure all the fruit is rubbed through. Cool for 10 minutes.

Add the double cream and chill. Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream maker, according to manufacturers instructions.

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Pistachio Ice

  • 100g pistachio kernels
  • 570ml single cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoon orange flower water
  • 12 drops vanilla essence
  • a few drops of green colouring (optional)

Blanche and peel the pistachio kernels by pouring boiling water over the nuts and leaving them to soak for 5 minutes. Then remove them from the water and, taking a handful at a time, rub them in your hands to loosen the skins, then pick the rest of the skins off the kernels.

Put the nuts in a liquidiser, in batches if necessary, with the cream, sugar, orange flower water and vanilla essence. Sieve. Add green food colouring, if desired. Chill the mixture and then freeze it in an ice-cream maker, according to instructions.

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