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Start your day the Lady Mary way

Posted by Mark Godsell-Fletcher on

Sunday nights are not the same as many of us are suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawal.  The etiquette of period drama is always fascinating, in a way it's almost alien.  The queen of etiquette has to be Dowager Countess, her one liners could stop anyone in their tracks and put them in their place.  Classics such as "No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house." and my wife's favourite, "He's a man. Men don't have rights." have won our hearts.  From the start of the day to the end, how someone acts and speaks, and their smallest of actions can determine their class and status in society.  Let's start with breakfast at Downton, breakfast is served in a buffet style format which is laid out on the sideboard behind the table.  But etiquette dictated that married ladies, such as Lady Mary could choose to have breakfast on a tray in bed. Why? Because married ladies don't have to socialise as they already have a husband. I am sure my wife would love the prospect of a tray arriving by her bedside every morning, beautifully arranged and cooked to perfection.  OK, I confess I too could get used to being served breakfast in bed, but if you want the true Downton experience how should you eat?  Like Lady Colin Campbell has shown us in 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here', you don't eat bugs with your fingers, in all circumstances you should always use a knife and fork. 11228914_921532581238609_160278982366882768_o Our British stable, a good old fashioned brew also has specific rules.  So how do you make a cup of tea that Dowager Countess would be proud of.  Firstly only the best china cup and saucer will do, but make sure your tea spoon is placed behind the cup on the saucer.  The tea must always be poured in before the milk and stir with a back and forth motion.  Lift your cup by pinching your thumb and index finger through the loop, your middle finger should support the base of the handle.  I am certain, drinking tea this way in my workshop would attract a certain amount of banter from the team. If you're eating with other people our workshop chatter would certainly be off limits as you shouldn't discuss politics, religion, work or money and strangely you should never pass a comment on the food.  I simply don't know about this one, it seems rather rude not to compliment the chef on their delicious creations, even if it is only breakfast.  But if you were going to choose your dream breakfast in bed, what would it be? On these cold winter mornings would you favour a bowl of steaming hot porridge, drizzled with honey and topped with fresh strawberries?  Or is your choice more of the traditional kind with a full English Breakfast?  Tesco have Edwardian inspired dishes, including this eggs benedict and bacon recipe which I am sure would be on many breakfast trays. Ingredients 8 medium eggs 2tbsp white wine vinegar 4 milk brioche rolls, halved 8 Tesco smoked Healthy Eating bacon rashers 1tbsp chives, finely chopped 500ml whipping cream salt pepper 165424-HERO-e5e96e00-090d-47bd-b0ea-ef00a2d349b0-0-472x310 Whip the cream in a mixing bowl to soft peaks. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and chill until needed. Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer, then add the white wine vinegar. Heat the grill to hot and grill the bacon rashers for 2-3 minutes on both sides, then wrap in aluminium foil to keep warm. Toast the brioche halves on a clean baking tray under the grill until golden brown. Poach the eggs for 3 minutes then assemble the dish. Place 2 brioche halves on each plate and top each with a rasher of the bacon. Carefully lay a poached egg on top of each rasher and season a little. Pipe the cream into a small serving bowl in a swirl pattern and sprinkle the chives on top. There is no perfect accompaniment to breakfast in bed than one of our stylish and comfortable beds.  Our pieces may be new today, but they are timeless pieces of the future that are cherished in each home they reside.  Why not treat yourself next weekend and start the day the Lady Mary way and indulge in a touch of breakfast in bed, and keep the spirit of Downton Abbey alive.

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