This past weekend was the premiere of Howards End and Sanditon on PBS Masterpiece! You know me well enough by now to guess that this entailed a dessert, a tablescape, and some other celebratory measures. :)
Eton Mess is a quintessential British dessert. I found this particular recipe in a special British issue of Victoria Magazine, and it seemed delightfully simple. Much like a trifle, without the bother of layering. I can't seem to find the Victoria recipe online, but all you need is shortbread biscuits, whipped cream and sugared berries. And a sprig or two mint if you have it. My mint plant has started to wane due to the lack of sunlight, but luckily, there were just enough leaves for a small garnish. Might I add, it is so nice to be eating berries in the middle of winter.
I went for a wintry, Victorian look for this table setting. A little bit like the Victoria Palooza from last year, but with some relaxed and elegant greenery. I say this almost every time, but I think it's my favorite tablescape yet.
The kerosene lamp makes it extra special and is a welcome change from my signature "wall of flame" candles. :)
After watching the premiere episodes, I honestly admit that I like Howards End better than Sanditon. In fact, my preference was so strong that I renamed this blog post... It was going to be Sanditon Soirée. But as the Dowager Countess on Downton would say, "I'm a woman. I can be as contrary as I choose." Ha!
Anyhow, here's why I like Howards End better. The cinematography is drop-dead gorgeous, with pops of red everywhere. Red hats, red shawls, red umbrellas! It makes the Victorian setting look fresh and new, rather than stodgy. (A similar coloring effect was used in Mrs. Wilson; that show had a very blue scheme.) I always appreciate seeing some familiar faces in a new production, and Howards End has plenty. Julia Ormond of Sabrina plays Mrs. Wilcox. Matthew Macfadyen, Mr. Darcy in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, is Mr. Wilcox. Jonah Hauer-King, who played Laurie in PBS' Little Women, stars in this show as Paul Wilcox. The story is moving along at a lightning-fast clip, so I may have to reference E.M. Forster's novel to keep up. All in all, this show holds great promise. I look forward to seeing where it goes.
Now, about Sanditon. This drama is based on an unfinished 11-chapter novel by Jane Austen. I get the sense that this adaptation is much to scandalous for an Austen work, and think they might be taking some liberties with the writing. I'll give it another week or so to decide, but Howards End is the winner so far.
Thank you for stopping by,