In 2015 the room was re-opened to the public after an extensive refurbishment that had used photographs of how it looked when Victoria was still alive. As guests step through the door, they will see the Durbar Room as she would have seen it - a banqueting hall. Visitors can walk on ornate carpets around a huge dining table set with fine cutlery and crockery to give an idea of the opulent meals held there by Queen Victoria. Moreover they can marvel at the restored plasterwork orginally decorated by Lockwood Kipling, father of author Rudyard Kipling, and Bhai Ram Singh.
For our part, it was a challenge to keep up with the demand for mince pies. Using only a small portable oven, we were limited to cooking trays of 24 mini mince pies at a time. Once cooled, however, it was amazing to watch two dozen pies being devoured in as many seconds by visitors. Their popularity must have been due to Mrs Beeton's Mincemeat recipe:
Self-raising flour was invented by English baker Henry Jones about 1844, in the first quarter of Victoria's reign. A year later, Jones applied for and received a British patent on his flour manufacturing process. He hoped to sell his invention to the Royal Navy to replace the sailors' tradition hard tack with a more appealing freshly baked “soft tack”. Sadly, bureaucratic inertia foiled his efforts and it took a further ten-years before Jones' self-raising flour was sailing the length and breadth of the British Empire.
here. We decided to produce a non-alcoholic version so all, young or old, could sample the flavours of Christmas. For those wishing for a more merry version (perhaps), the recipe can be upgraded by replacing apple juice with scrumpy or something similar:
With that in mind, we hope the recipes above can add an appealing twist to your Christmas festivities this year. So, from all at Tastes Of History, have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful New Year. Wassail!