Welcome to the third stop of the Bluestocking Belles’ Holiday Wassailing Tour.
The Bluestocking Belles trust you are enjoying the tour so far. On this third stop, the Earl and Countess of Arlington of All She Wants for Christmas, by Amy Rose Bennett, welcome you to Arlington Abbey. Jasper Hargreaves and his lovely wife Tessa are newly wedded and such is their conjugal bliss, they are more than happy to share their Christmas cheer with guests.
To win a Kindle (digital Amazon) copy of Amy Rose Bennett’s Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal, comment below with:
a) what your favourite Christmas dish is, and
b) the answer to the following question… What dish was served during the ‘fish course’ at the Duke of Buckingham’s Christmas dinner in 1808? (Hint: you can find the answer at the previous stop on the tour, Nicole Zoltack’s blog).
The randomly chosen winner will be announced at the end of the wassailing tour! All the stops are below.
To help you, our most esteemed guests, feel welcome at Arlington Abbey, please do take a seat in the Great Hall before the Yule log fire and enjoy a glass of ratafia or holiday wassail as carollers regale you with Deck the Halls. The third course, a stuffed roast turkey, will be served presently…
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 1 large can pineapple juice (unsweetened)
- 3/4 cup tea (can use herb tea)
- Place in a cheesecloth sack:
- 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
- 2 sticks cinnamon
This is great cooked in a crock pot. Let it simmer very slowly for 4 to 6 hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much. Your home will smell wonderful! Serve warm, garnish with orange slices. Serves 20.
With thanks to the Jane Austen Society (Please see link for an in-depth discussion of the recipe).
When confirmed bluestocking, Tessa Penrose, is thoroughly compromised at a Yuletide ball by Jasper, the Earl of Arlington, she is none too pleased to have to marry him. But not only her reputation is at stake. Can Tessa trust this disreputable rogue with a secret she will do anything to hide?
One thing is certain: she dare not trust her husband with her heart.
Excerpt from All She Wants For Christmas
The door opened then closed, and Tessa sagged into the cushions at her back. Thank God that was over. Lord Arlington—Jasper—would leave and then she would lock the door.
And tomorrow she would tell Christopher exactly what she thought of his so-called friend. Rakehell was too polite a term to describe a thorough reprobate like him. Aunt Beatrice had been right. He was a devil.
A soft snore penetrated the silence.
Oh no. Tessa ground her teeth together in frustration. It seemed Lord Arlington wouldn’t be leaving her studio after all.
Well, she certainly wasn’t going to stay.
She quietly and carefully rose to her feet then cursed under her breath when she realized she wore only stockings on her feet; she’d left her matching cerise slippers on the Aubusson hearthrug by the very settee where Lord Arlington rested. He and Lady Montagu must have been so caught up in—well, whatever they’d been doing—they hadn’t noticed them.
You don’t need them, Tessa. Just sneak away.
But what if someone did catch sight of her traipsing about Penrose House sans shoes? She had to make her way back to the main staircase to reach the stairs leading to the third floor. And the servants’ stairs were at the other end of the hallway. Either way, she had to traverse the main landing in full view of the hall leading through to the ballroom, and there would be guests about, of that there was no doubt. She glanced down and scowled at her feet. Given the hem of her new silk gown barely skimmed below her ankles, her fashion faux pas would be clear to see. And she refused to cause a stir. She could never do that to Emma on her special night.
There was nothing for it. She was going to have to retrieve her slippers.
Taking a deep breath, Tessa slipped between the curtains and tiptoed toward the hearthrug. Lord Arlington had stopped snoring, but when Tessa chanced a glance at his face—no she wouldn’t look more closely to see if he was as handsome as she suspected—it was clear he was still asleep. Permitting herself a faint sigh of relief, she rounded the settee. Her slippers lay exactly where she had discarded them… right beside Lord Arlington’s very long and very muscular, outstretched legs.
Desperately trying to ignore the fact his black silk evening breeches and white silk stockings seemed to be molded quite indecently to every hard curve of his thighs and calves, she bent down toward her slippers.
“I wondered who those belonged to.”
Tessa squealed and jumped backwards as Lord Arlington sat up straight and yawned. He ran a hand down his much too handsome face, and despite the fact he still looked half asleep, his perfectly sculpted mouth tipped into a wolfish smile. “Good evening, m’dear,” he drawled. “How do you do?”
Tessa, Lady Arlington, on the arm of her very handsome and very attentive husband, approaches the assembled guests as they sip their glasses of warmed wassail. “I hope you are hungry, my dear friends,” she says with a smile as bright as the ruby and diamond necklace she wears at her throat, “as I believe the main fare for this evening is ready. Mrs Newbury, our cook, declares it is the finest turkey she’s ever served. There is also ratafia for those of you who would prefer something a little lighter to drink with their meal.”
Lord Arlington nods; his own smile is wide as he catches everybodys’ eye. “Indeed. I think this year’s Christmas dinner at Arlington Abbey will be the best I’ve ever sat down to.” His hazel eyes, glowing with pride, return to his wife. “And with the loveliest company,” he says softly.
With his blushing countess on his arm, Lord Arlington leads the party into the dining room where the most glorious feast awaits!
A Stuffed Christmas Turkey
To Roast a Turky [sic]
The best Way to roast a Turky is to loosen the Skin on the Breast of the Turky, and fill it with Force-Meat made thus: Take a Quarter of a Pound of Beef Sewet, as many Crumbs of Bread, a little Lemon-peel, an Anchovy, some Nutmeg, Pepper, Parsley, and a little Thyme; chop and beat them all well together, mix them with the Yolk of an Egg, and stuff up the Breast; when you have no Sewet Butter will do: Or you may make your Force-Meat thus: Spread Bread and Butter thin, and grate some Nutmeg over it; when you have enough roll it up, and stuff the Breast of the Turky; then roast it of a fine Brown, but be sure to pin some white Paper on the Breast till it is near enough.
Recipe from: Robert’s Guide for Butlers & Other Household Staff, published in 1828.
Into one quart of brandy pour half a pint of cherry juice, as much currant juice, as much of raspberry juice, add a few cloves, and some white pepper in grains, two grains of green coriander, and a stick or two of cinnamon, then pound the stones of cherries, and put them in wood and all. Add about twenty five or thirty kernels of apricots. Stop your demijohn close and let it infuse for one month in the shade, shaking it five or six times in that time at the end of which strain it through a flannel bag, then through a filtering paper, and then bottle it and cork close for use; you can make any quantity you chose, only by adding or increasing more brandy or other ingredients.
With thanks to Laura Chinet (Please see link for more information about the recipe).
Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem: A Bluestocking Belles Collection
In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after.
***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***
Now that the dinner is done, make sure you link back to all of the Belles’ holiday wassailing stops, with a different Regency era Christmas carol, dinner selection, and beverage, and wassail recipes at every stop that you can make in the modern kitchen. The following links for the stops will be updated as they become available.
- 4 Dec: Jude Knight: The First Course, Regency White Soup
- 7 Dec: Nicole Zoltack: The Second Course, Lobster au Gratin
- 9 Dec: Amy Rose Bennett: The Third Course, A Stuffed Christmas Turkey
- 11 Dec: Susana Ellis: The Fourth Course, A Yorkshire Pie
- 14 Dec: Vanessa Riley: The Fifth Course, English Bread
- 16 Dec: Caroline Warfield: The Sixth Course, Jerusalem Artichoke a la Crème
- 18 Dec: Sherry Ewing: The Seventh Course, Mince Pies
- 21 Dec: Mariana Gabrielle: The Eighth Course, Christmas Pudding