The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook

         Didn’t receive an invitation to dinner at Lady Granville’s nor to Lady Danbury’s party? They must be lost in the mail. And no, you didn’t enjoy the bonbons at the Grand Buffet. That’s because no one asked you to attend. How infuriating not to be able to taste all those luscious foods while mixing with dukes and lords at fancy parties like on Bridgerton, the award winning costume series on Netflix series.

         Unfortunately I have some bad news for you. Odds are almost 100% you’ll never get an invitation to any of the grand homes in Grosvenor Square like those you see on Bridgerton. Without an invitation, there goes you chance of snagging a duke or a duchess, but as for the food, well you can still dine like the characters on the show.

         That’s because Lex Taylor has written The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook: From The Viscount’s Mushroom Miniatures and The Royal Wedding Oysters to Debutante Punch and The Duke’s Favorite … 100 Dazzling Recipes Inspired by Bridgerton (Adams Media; $21.99). It’s a very pretty book with lots of photos and drawings, all to make you want to put on your best tiara and low cut ballroom gown (or if you’re a man, your cutaway tuxedo and top hat) and dine on Taylor’s recipes for Spice Trade Biscuits and Lady Varley’s Special Chicken. Unfortunately though you’ll have to cook the dishes yourself as well and clean up afterwards. How unfair not to have a butler.

         The cookbook’s release is perfectly timed as the show’s second season is starting and trailers for the series already show this year’s brooding handsome hero and the lovely young ladies whose mothers have told them to make sure they snag a lord or higher. That’s because Bridgerton is set in 1813 during England’s Regency period when marrying up was the equivalent of a woman earning a college degree today.

         Taylor created and adapted recipes that could have graced the tables of the Bridgertons and other families in the series. And that’s surprising given Taylor is the type of guy who’s spent a lot of time fishing and hunting with the Inuit of Baffin Island, foraging for food in the Hudson Valley, immersing himself in cultures that rely on ancestral knowledge for survival, and hanging out in the Sahara and the Atacama deserts and the jungles of Central America and West Africa. His previous book, Grill Fire: 100+ Recipes & Techniques for Mastering the Flame shows, among other things, how to turn your backyard grill into a Brazilian churrascaria and the way to make your own chicken wing racks. He is, he says, “a wilderness- survival-outdoor-chef and barbecue guy.”

         “I never expected that the editors would choose my proposal,” Taylor told me on the phone as I assume, he was on his way to fish with the Inuit, not to a high tea.

         “I was a hundred percent certain that there were a large number of Bridgerton fans who had already published several books with Simon and Schuster and one of them would write the book,” he continues.

         But obviously it worked out differently. Was that a mistake on Simon & Schuster’s part?

         Not at all. Choosing Taylor actually makes a lot of sense. How he lives, is in ways, reflective of life during the Regency. He’s been asked to join the Explorer’s Club because of his extensive travels with their focus on the indigenous people and he loves delving into exploration and research. Indeed, inspired by trips to New Orleans, he won Esquire magazine competition’s “The Next Great Burger” for his meat patty creation using such ingredients as caramelized pears, a saffron aioli, and deep fried beignet bun. He also appeared on “Chopped” and the Food Network and was a judge on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

         2022 may sounds like a different world than London during the Regency which was from 1811 to 1820. But Taylor sees the similarities.

         “The Regency was a time when many of the ships that traveled for English companies were bringing back exotic ingredients and people were completely fascinated by the foods and spices they brought back with them,” he says, noting that he likes to cook wild and crazy stuff as well and stages large dinners in the Hudson Valley region after successful foraging trips. “It’s so me. The food of that time is like what I do—curing and pickling, collaborating with people who fish and hunt and cook with fire and who try new things.”

         Taylor didn’t want his cookbook to be a half-hearted spin-off. That was one of several goals he had when writing—to riff off the foods eaten on the show, ensure the ingredients were readily available and the recipes easy to make. He also wanted to approach the project with a sense of humor. Take his inclusion of lavender as an ingredient.

         “Not only is lavender a beautiful plant that was used for table decorations, but it was also used during the Regency as a perfume and a medicine because it was thought to help with romance and love,” he writes about the lavender drink he created. “Both men and women used considerable amounts of perfume, as bathing was not a major part of their hygienic practice.”

Rumor-Stirring Blueberry Lavender Fizz


  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1 tablespoon blueberry jam
  • 1⁄2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce lime juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 large egg white, pasteurized
  • 8–12 ounces cooled sparkling water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Muddle lavender in a cocktail shaker.

Add remaining ingredients except sparkling water and lemon zest. Shake vigorously until texture changes to a foam, about 10 seconds.

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds or until cocktail is well chilled.

Strain into a Collins glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with lemon zest.

Lady Featherington’s Society Sponge Cake

For the macerated berries:

  • 1 pound fresh berries, sliced, (dry after rinsing)
  • 1/4 cup Moscato or other sweet wine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or amber honey

For the sponge cake:

  • 8 cold large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • 1/3 cup pulp-free orange juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh berries
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Place all the ingredients for the macerated berries in a large bowl and stir gently, cover and refrigerate 24 hours or until the berries are softened. Next line to make sponge cake Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs and large bowl until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low and slowly add oil and juice.

On lowest speed, mix in flour and baking powder until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer immediately to a wire cooling rack, releasing from pan to cool upside down for about one hour.

Flip over so the rounded part is on top and cut into two equal rounds. Spoon macerated berries evenly over one cake round and top with the second cake round. Top with fresh berries and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

         The above recipes are from The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook by Lex Taylor. Copyright © 2021 by Alexei Taylor. Photographs by Harper Point Photography. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. What Is Coronation Chicken? | FN Dish – Behind-the-Scenes, Food Trends, and Best Recipes : Food Network What Is Coronation Chicken? | FN Dish – Behind-the-Scenes, Food Trends, and Best Recipes : Food Network.

Cooking in a different time: ‘Downton Abbey’ inspires a delicious look at Edwardian recipes

I was really sick with the flu last month and didn’t have much energy at all. When I finally could make it to the couch, I decided to finally figure out how to download Amazon Prime videos to my Kindle so I would have something to do.

It took like two seconds because all you have to do is click on the “watch” button but how was I to know it was that easy?

Anyway, I had always wanted to see the PBS series Downton Abbey because I love those Masterpiece Theatre English costume dramas. I’m still on the first season and wondering if Lady Mary is ever going to get around to saying yes to Matthew, the entitled heir to Downtown Abbey but I also love the busy kitchen and elegant dining room scenes—did you know that women were not allowed to serve food to the aristocrats, it was definitely a man’s job but we were allowed to cook it.

Now that I’m better, I’m interested in trying some of the recipes from “Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey’s Elegant Meals” by Larry Edwards (Arcade Publishing $19.95) with its anecdotes about the foods served at that time and recipes updated for our modern kitchens.

Those Edwardians knew how to eat and the book contains recipes for Edwardian Leg of Lamb, Lobster Pudding, Oyster Roll, Leek Pie, Downton Pheasant Casserole, Lemon Creme Soufflé, Raspberries in Sherry Sabayon Sauce, Stilton Chowder, Queen Victoria Rice Pudding and Downton Abbey Honey Cake. There was one for asparagus in a cider sauce that sounded very Southwest Michigan to me so I thought I would include it as well as another that seems so very British and of that time.

Asparagus in Cider Sauce

1 pound asparagus, trimmed if necessary

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

In a large saute pan, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook 10 minutes or until tender, depending on the size. Drain the asparagus and set it aside. Discard the cooking liquid.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, salt, black pepper and nutmeg until well combined. This is what is referred to as a seasoned roux (thickener).

Whisk the cider vinegar and whipping cream into the saucepan and whisk until the sauce begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook 5 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice. Place the asparagus on a serving platter. Drape the sauce over the asparagus and serve.

Downton Abbey Honey Cake

2 eggs, separated

½ cup sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup honey

1-1/2 tablespoons very strong black coffee (espresso is fine)

2 cups flour

1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup minced dried apricots

¼ cup minced walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line bottom of 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar until light and pale and then beat in the oil, honey and strong black coffee.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and all spices.

With the mixer on a low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients just until a batter forms.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites until peaks form. Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter and then fold the remaining whites into the batter along with the orange zest, raisins, dried apricots and walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and even out.

Place the cake into the oven and bake 75 minutes or until the sides break away from the pan.

Remove cake from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes.

Remove the cake from the pan and cool on a rack until ready to slice and serve.

Churchill’s Cookbook

It’s not pleasant to imagine what the world might have been like if Winston Churchill hadn’t been able to persuade his chef, Georgina Landemare to leave the kitchen where she was making a pudding and head down to the basement bomb shelter with him. The date was October 14, 1940 and the Germans were doing one of their nightly blitzes over London. This time a lucky strike by Luftwaffe bomb destroyed the kitchen—and most of the building–where they had been standing just moments before. Fortunately, both Churchill and Landemare survived.

Always a fan of Churchill and always interested in the history of food, I am delighted to have a copy of Churchill’s Cookbook, a release of Landemare’s 1958 cookbook originally published as “Recipes from No. 10.”  Churchill, famed not only for leading Britain to victory during World War II but also for his love of a good cigar, fine spirits and great food, once said “It is well to remember that the stomach governs the world.”

Besides Landemare’s recipes–short, easy to make, mostly French but with little in the way of detailed instructions—her book also has vintage photographs from the 15 years she cooked for the Churchills. An introduction by Phi Reed, director of the Churchill War Rooms which I visited on my one and only and very short trip to London, also gives historical perspective. The War Rooms are an underground warren of rooms that tunnel under the city of London where Churchill and his cabinet would meet and some of the work of the war would be done. “This is the room from which I will direct the war” Churchill announced after being elected Prime Minister in 1940 and visiting his underground office.

Photos courtesy of the Daily Mail.

The rooms are now a museum and houses some of the recipes from this book. Landemare, who started life in the “service” at age 14 as a scullery maid, was the widow of Paul Landemare, a distinguished French chef at the famed Ritz Hotel and most likely learned to cook from him. She made Churchill breakfast in the morning and stayed in his service until he finished his last whiskey of the night (and one can assume there were plenty of whiskeys in between). She was such a necessity that, as Reed writes in his introduction, “Georgina Landemare’s importance to Churchill was nicely and neatly illustrated on VE Day, when after giving his rousing speech to the massed crowds in Whitehall, he made a point of turning to his faithful chef and thanking her ‘most cordially’, saying he could not have managed all the way through the war without her.”

As an aside, here is a fun anecdote showcasing Churchill’s sense of humor and his love of food.

Georgina Landemare
Photo courtesy of

Invited to a buffet luncheon while visiting the United States, Winston Churchill asked for a second helping of fried chicken by saying “May I have some breast” to which the hostess reportedly replied “Mr. Churchill, in this country we ask for white meat or dark meat.” The Prime Minister abjectly apologized and sent the hostess a beautiful orchid the next morning along with a note reading “I would be most obliged if you would pin this on your white meat.”

Winston Churchill’s Favorite Fruit Cake

10 ounces plain flour

8 ounces butter

6 ounces sugar

5 eggs

10 ounces mixed dried fruit

4 ounces glacé cherries (cut in half)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour to prevent the mixture curdling.

Sift the remainder of the flour with the baking powder and salt and add this to the creamed mixture. Add the dried fruit and beat the mixture well.

Spoon into a greased and lined round cake tin.

Bake for 2 hours in a moderate oven.

Boodles Orange Fool

6 sponge cakes

4 oranges

2 lemons

¾ pint cream

Sugar to taste

Cut up sponge cake lengthwise in slices and place in glass dish.

Put in a basin the grated rind of a lemon and 2 oranges and the juice of all the fruit. Mix well with the cream and sugar to taste.

Pour all over the sponge cakes and allow to stand for six hours before serving.

The above recipes are from “Churchill’s Cookbook.”