From gothic horror and ghost stories to tales of elegance and extravagance in high society. From investigating a shooting in the city’s seedy underbelly or the poisoning of the Lady of the Manor, at her country estate. The Victorian Era has something for everyone. Is it any wonder that it’s a popular theme for a Murder Mystery game?
From three course dinners to a simple afternoon tea. If you want to host a Victorian Murder Mystery, you may want to think about some, traditional dishes you can serve up to your guests. We’ve compiled a list of some traditional recipe’s you can prepare in your own home, that will really give your guests a truly Victorian experience.
A Steam pudding that was popular in the Victorian Era. It’s made from suet and dried fruits (usually raisins or currents) and served with warm custard. So named “spotted dick” because of the currents in the suet.
Suet? What’s that? Well, in the traditional sense it is made from animal or vegetable fats, extracted and then boiled during the cooking process of main meals, (but that’s a lot of work for the modern cook) nowadays it can be bought pre-packaged in a shop or substituted with vegetable shortening or butter. Simple to make, short prep time and very little that needs to be done while it’s cooking.
You can see how to make Spotted Dick here
Brown Windsor Soup
Is similar to a beef stew, it was a popular dish at Queen Victoria’s table in Windsor castle (hence the name) but it was enjoyed equally by rich and poor. Although the ingredients may differ depending on the household.
If you could afford it then thick pieces beef might be chopped up and added, if the budget didn’t stretch to a meaty joint then cheaper meat scraps would be used instead. An assortment of vegetables and herbs were added to create a meaty broth.
You can see how to make Brown Windsor Soup here
Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie
Yes, they are different, although the way they’re cooked is much the same, it just depends which meat you use. The exact origins of this classic dish are unknown, it could date back as early as the 1500s, when Sir Walter Raleigh brought potatoes to Ireland. Potatoes were affordable to buy, had multiple uses and could be grown at home. The Shepheard’s Pie was a great way for many low-income families to use up leftovers from their Sunday roast.
Made from potatoes, vegetables and lamb (shepherd’s pie) or beef (cottage pie) by the 1800s this simple dish became a common sight in most households both rich and poor.
You can see how to make Shepherd’s Pie here
The first reference to a crumpet-like dish dates back as far as the 1300s, with the earliest recipes not emerging until the 1700s, however it wasn’t until the Victorian Era that they became known for the specific, shape, size and texture we see today.
So what is a crumpet?
It’s a spongy bread that has a cratered texture and is cooked on a griddle, made from flour, milk and eggs, eaten hot and covered in butter. Originally flat, like a pancake, the Victorian’s added yeast and baking powder to the recipe, giving it, the traditional look we know today. Crumpets can be bought from a shop and all you need to do is grill them and cover them in butter, but with a little patience, you can make them yourself.
You can see how to make crumpets here
Ah, the Victoria sponge, a quintessential dish for any Victorian table. As with many dishes, the origins of this sponge cake, date back much further but it wasn’t until the Victorian Era that it became quite common for tea and cakes to be served of an afternoon.
During the 1800s, your evening meal, wasn’t served until around 8 or 9pm and with breakfast being several hours earlier, as with most people today, by the afternoon, Victorian’s were feeling slightly ‘peckish’. Thus, an afternoon tea was created.
Enter Queen Victoria, who was known to be quite partial to a sponge cake being served with her afternoon tea, in honour of Her Majesty the traditional sponge cake was renamed the Victoria sponge and became what it is today. Two sponges, filled with jam and cream and placed together to form what is also knows as a sandwich cake, sprinkle it with sugar and there we have it, Queen Victoria’s favourite cake.
You can see how to make a Victoria sponge here
The Tart is a baked dish made from pastry with an assortment of fillings. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savoury, often fruit based, but sometimes you might see a tart made from chocolate, custard or treacle. There are so many variations of this dish. We picked a few examples of what you might find on a Victorian tea table.
Treacle Tart: A crumbly pastry, with a thick golden syrup filling often served hot with cream or custard. This traditional British recipe first appeared in the late 1800s, when golden syrup was invented and quickly became a popular dessert.
Bakewell Tart: The first known example was discovered by a Mrs Graves, the landlady of the White Horse inn, Derbyshire, England, named Bakewell Pudding in 1845. By 1900 it was renamed Bakewell Tart and was a popular pudding on Victorian tables.
Jam Tarts: “The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, all on a summers day…” but were they jam tarts? No one knows, this anonymous poem was first published in 1782, but it wasn’t until 1865, when it was adopted by Alice in Wonderland writer Lewis Carrol that it became synonymous with the jam tart and the Victorian Era.
As with many other Victorian recipes a fruit tart and other similar dishes can be traced back centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that a recipe for the ‘jam tart’ appeared in the cook books and it became part of the Victorian traditions. It’s descried as a small, sweet, short crust pastry filled with fruit and jam and then baked.
So there we have it, some examples of Traditional Victorian dishes to serve at your very own Victorian Murder Mystery party.
If you fancy having a go at hosting your own Victorian Murder Mystery but are unsure where to start you can find options of boxed games here. Everything you need to host your very own Victorian Murder Mystery.