The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook presents over 100 recipes that showcase the cookery of the Crawley household – from upstairs dinner party centrepieces to downstairs puddings and pies – and bring an authentic slice of Downton Abbey to modern kitchens and Downton fans.

Toad in the Hole

The servants’ hall table at Downton is usually laden with batter puddings, potatoes, stews, and vegetables that are cheap and filling. Toad-in-the-hole was typical of servants’ fare in the early twentieth century, as it was cheap, easy, and versatile. The name dates back to the eighteenth century, though it’s unclear why the meat was called a toad – possibly because it peeps from the batter like a toad from its burrow.

You will need

  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (115 g) flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Butter, lard, or pan drippings, for preparing the pie dish
  • 1 lb (450 g) bulk sausage meat or chopped raw sausages
  • Onion or meat gravy, for serving


To make the batter, whisk together the milk, fl our, salt, and eggs in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Set aside for 15 – 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-inch (23-cm) pie dish. Scatter the sausage over the bottom of the prepared dish.

Put the dish into the oven for 10 minutes to render some of the fat and brown the sausage lightly.

Remove from the oven, pour the batter over the sausage, and return to the oven. Bake until the sausage is cooked through and the batter has puffed up and browned, about 45 minutes.

Serve hot with gravy.

Champagne Jelly

No Downton dinner would be complete without some form of moulded jelly or cream, and the one featured here is one of the simplest and yet most effective. It was served at Edward VII’s coronation banquet in 1902, and makes any dinner into a celebration. Champagne itself appears regularly at Downton, most obviously on occasions such as New Year’s and at the numerous weddings, but it is also the drink of choice at a number of parties and at London nightclubs.

You will need

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Champagne or other sparkling wine
  • 2 envelopes (about 5 teaspoons) powdered gelatin or 8 gelatin sheets
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (115 g) sugar
  • Berries and/or edible flowers (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves, for garnish


Put the Champagne bottle in the freezer 30 minutes before you start the recipe. This step ensures the bubbles will stay in the final jelly. In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with the water and let stand until softened, about 2 minutes. (If using gelatin sheets, put the sheets in a bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak until floppy, 5– 10 minutes.)

Open the Champagne and pour 1/2 cup (120 ml) into a small saucepan. Return the Champagne to the freezer if you can stand the bottle upright. If not, put the bottle in the fridge. Add the sugar to the saucepan, place over medium heat, and heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Liquefy the powdered gelatin by setting the small bowl of gelatin in a larger bowl of hot water (or microwaving the gelatin on high for 5 seconds). Stir the softened gelatin into the Champagne mixture and stir until dissolved. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or pitcher and let cool to room temperature.

Add 2 cups (480 ml) of the chilled Champagne to the cooled gelatin mixture and stir well. If adding embellishments to the gelatin, pour half of the gelatin mixture into a 21/2-cup (600-ml) mould and refrigerate until almost set, 30– 45 minutes; arrange the embellishments on top, then add the remaining gelatin mixture.

If serving the jelly without embellishments, pour all of the gelatin mixture into the mould. Cover the filled mold and refrigerate until fully set, at least 8 hours or up to 1 day. (If the time of day is right, you can sip the remaining Champagne.)

To serve, fill a bowl with hot water. Dip the bottom of the mould into the hot water for a few seconds to loosen the jelly from the mold, then unmold the jelly onto a serving plate. Garnish with the mint.

The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook by Annie Gray, £25, White Lion Publishing.

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