So, sadly for fans of Downton Abbey, the series finale is tonight. As avid fans of the show, my husband and I decided on a theme dinner to say our farewell.
The theme is “English Countryside Hunting Luncheon”
We based the idea off of the concept of “Ploughman’s Lunch” — which was actually a cheese marketing campaign in the 1960s and 70s to get post-war diets back to including lots of cheese. A pub food concept for places serving beer, but having no need for elaborate kitchens or skilled chefs.
But I digress.
People of the Downton Abbey lifestyle would go on hunting expeditions dressed in elaborately detailed clothing, and of course, their dining habits came with them out to the countryside. Our menu doesn’t reflect the most common of items on their menus, meat pies (easy to carry in your pocket), but rather the collection of small bite, simple things one would pack in a picnic basket. Fruit, cheese, bread, sausage, vegetables and lots of pickled things. Think of anything you can carry without refrigeration or cooking on the spot.
Our menu isn’t totally authentic to the detail, as we just decided on the theme today after considering Cornish Game Hens, Salmon Mousse and lots of other things that take more effort and planning.
Our menu follows:
- Sliced apples
- Red grapes
- Seed bread
- Seed lavasch crackers
- Major Grey’s chutney
- Pickled onions
- Pickled beets
- Dill Pickles
- Chicken apple sausage
- Blue Cheese (we couldn’t find Stilton, so we went with Danish)
- Cheddar Cheese (multiple types)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Basil mustard
- Red onion marmalade (homemade)
- Fresh chives and parsley
- Crispin’s hard apple cider
- Boddington’s Ale
My table setting is simple. White cloth on the coffee table in our living room (we’re eating while we watch the finale). Trays, cutting boards and various serving dishes in my eclectic collection (some of my fancy stuff but also pretty simple design-wise…I don’t have authentic decor lying around). I gathered herbs and flowers from my garden and yard for a small arrangement that won’t eclipse the view of the tv.
Here are photos of what we did for this dinner. Enjoy!
First things first…the feast all put together:
And now onto the finer points of what we served and enjoyed:
This concept is really flexible and makes an awesome no-cook dinner or lunch for a busy (or lazy) weekend. You can use what you have. Veggies, cheese, olives, cold cuts, bread, crackers, fruit and so on.