Historical makes and bakes
Text: what's for dinner in a Victorian country house?

Lord and Lady Braybrooke are holding a grand dinner party at Audley End. They usually stayed there during the autumn and winter for the shooting season and they often had visitors. Sometimes there were as many as 15 to 20 guests. Dinners could be fancy affairs with several courses, each served with wine from the house cellar.

Image: Illustration of Mrs Crocombe in the kitchen with plates of food arranged on the table in front of her


Mrs Crocombe is busy in the kitchen preparing the dishes for the Braybrookes and their guests. Click below to download a colouring sheet, and use pencils, pens or paints to create your own version of the scene!

Download your colouring sheet

What's on the menu?

  • Rabbit Soup

    Soups were always served at the start of dinner in the 1880s. Rabbit soup was popular at Audley End, as they would have been available from the estate throughout the year.

  • Roast pheasant

    Silver and golden pheasants raised at Audley End were looked after by a team of gamekeepers. Lord Braybrooke held regular shooting parties, so pheasant was often served for dinner.

  • Gâteau de pommes

    Moulded fruit dishes were very popular. The apples were boiled up with sugar, water and lemon juice until they became a thick purée. This was then poured into moulds and left to set overnight.

  • Turbot and lobster sauce

    Turbot was an expensive fish and a traditional favourite for country house dinner parties. Diced lobster was boiled then puréed by being pushed through a sieve to make a smooth sauce.

  • Almond and potato pudding

    This mashed potato dish flavoured with almonds, lemon and nutmeg would have been served as a side dish. After baking for 40 minutes it was served on a plate, garnished with chopped almonds.

  • Cheese seftons

    These were a type of cheese straw, and would be served at the end of the meal. The recipe written in Mrs Crocombe’s cookbook combined puff pastry with a cheese and butter mix.

Image: round cookie style biscuits with currants

Victorian biscuit baking

Have your own taste of Victorian food with these delicious queen drop biscuits, flavoured with currants and almonds.  The instructions on how to make them are taken from a handwritten recipe in Mrs Crocombe’s original cook book.

Download the recipe below, and don't forget to ask an adult to help you.  Tea and biscuits, anyone?

Download the recipe

Over to you...

  • Cook like Mrs Crocombe

    Could you work for Mrs Crocombe? Find out what happened when two of our Young Members met her at Audley End to discover life in a Victorian kitchen. 

  • An apple a day

    There are 150 varieties of apple growing at Audley End! Join Edgar Ashman, the third gardener, as he harvests some for Mrs Crocombe.

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