Large houses like Downton relied upon their kitchen gardens to supply most of their fruit and vegetable requirements. With enough money, almost anything could be produced, and in the Victorian era, the rich prided themselves on eating out-of-season produce, forced or retarded through skillful garden management. By the twentieth century, as land rents fell and many aristocrats struggled to maintain their estates, the acres of greenhouses were increasingly left to rot, and the boilers that had once heated the hothouses were abandoned. Some were turned into commercial market gardens, while others simply became less ambitious. But as any gardener knows, vegetable gardens left to their own devices produce a glut of produce, and skilled cooks need recipes to deal with that. The original recipe for this soup appeared in Eliza Acton's Modern Cookery for Private Families, one of the best-sellers of the nineteenth century and remaining in print for over sixty years. Cooks who, like Mrs. Patmore, learned their art in the Victorian period would have known it well.
Combine the cucumbers, shallot, stock, salt and cayenne in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover partially, and cook until the cucumbers are tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cook slightly. Working in batches, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and heat over medium-low heat. In a small bowl, stir the rice flour into the cream to dissolve it, and then stir the cream mixture into the soup. Keeping the soup at a gentle simmer, stir it continuously until it thickens, which will take about 10 minutes.
Just before serving, mince the parsley and stir it into the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot.
Cucumbers are rarely served hot today but were popular as a cooked ingredient in the past. They were stuffed, stewed, and, as here, made into soups. The same is true of lettuce. Modern Cucumber soups are generally served cold, and this one works as a cold soup as well. This quantity of cayenne makes a fairly mild soup, so taste the soup and add a little more if you like your food a bit spicy.
Cucumber Soup Recipe https://whatscookingamerica.net/elleneaston/downton-abbey-cookbook-preview.htm