The Farmette Cookbook [Review]

I fell in love with Imen McDonnell’s blog Farmette long before she released her cookbook early 2016. Originally working in broadcast production, Imen met and married an Irish farmer and essentially uprooted her life to move to Ireland. Looking at the gorgeous photos that she posts on her blog of her life in the Irish countryside – who wouldn’t?

When I heard about The Farmette Cookbook, I knew that I wanted to get my hands on it. In the age of the internet and Pinterest with its slew of yummy recipes, for me to actually want to own physical cookbook is proof as to how magical her writing is. I added the book to my Christmas list and was thrilled when it appeared under my Christmas tree. Traveling home with my boyfriend from my mom’s house, I couldn’t help but to share my excitement with him as I flipped through the pages.

“Oh my god babe! There is a chapter on making items from dairy.”

A few minutes later.

“Oh my god babe! There is an ENTIRE chapter on just potatoes!”

I’m sure it was a long ride back home for him.

P1050124

Even months later as I flipped through it yet again, I found myself still completely in love with every page. This cookbook can easily be considered one of my favorite cookbooks. The recipes tend to be more on the simple side (i.e. rustic) but produce fantastic results (such as the dairy section which shows you how to make items such as cream cheese or sour cream). The ingredients either already exist in my pantry or could be picked up at my local grocery store.

Some of my personal picks from this cookbook are:

  • Buttered Eggs (page 10) – A seemingly simple recipe that produces a rich, buttery flavor in eggs. This is a great recipe to use the fresh eggs from our girls.
  • Best Brown Bread (page 41) – Long before Imen’s cookbook was published, I found her blog by doing a search for an Irish brown bread recipe. I came across this easy recipe and fell in love with her blog.
  • Sweet Farmer Cheese Danish with Elderflower Glaze (page 135) – A danish is the perfect addition to a weekend breakfast and the idea of making it from scratch tickles me. Plus, you get to use the Basic Farmer Cheese recipe from page 12 as well! The use of Elderflower in recipes is still a bit of a novelty stateside I think.
  • Pasty Pies (page 185) – I love anything wrapped in pie dough and this recipe will lead to a delicious end product without a lot of work.
  • Buttermilk Fried Chicken (page 237) – Now this might get my Southern card revoked, but I have never made fried chicken. It just seems so labor intensive to me (even though I know it’s not). Imen’s recipe looks so nice and crispy that I think I’ll give it a shot one day.

I can’t say this enough – go and buy this book. You won’t regret it.

Sucre King Cake [Review]

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Let the good times roll! We are celebrating Mardi Gras on the blog this week. What better way to start off the celebration than with a king cake?

Sales for king cakes typically start on January 6th – Epiphany or Three King’s Day (the 12th day after Christmas) and runs through the duration of the Mardi Gras/Carnival season (ending on the day before Ash Wednesday). It is my understanding that the day celebrates the visit of the Magi to baby Jesus. Typically a small baby is hidden in the cake to symbolize baby Jesus. It is a sign of good fortune (and that you’ll supply the next king cake) if you find the baby.

I ordered my king cake from Sucré. Located in New Orleans, Sucré was established in 2007 and features macarons, chocolates, cakes and so much more delicious goodies. Their king cake is a danish pastry is sweetened by cinnamon and cane sugar, baked with a light layer of creole cream cheese.

The king cake was delivered on Friday and it didn’t take long for my boyfriend and I to dig in. Per Sucré’s instructions, we microwaved each slice for 10 seconds, which really gave it that delicious fresh-out-of-the-oven taste. Sucré’s king cake is delicious. The cinnamon and cream cheese isn’t overwhelming, instead it is a delicate whisper of flavor. It worked well as an after dinner treat or even first thing in the morning for breakfast. The king cake is beautifully decorated. Sucré even includes a plastic baby for you to place inside.

While my boyfriend technically found the baby (he sliced a piece and noticed it sticking out, so he brought that piece of me), I may be feeling generous next year and order another king cake out of my own pocket.

Check out The Southern Belle Blogs tomorrow for a review of “The Casquette Girls” by Alys Arden or back here on Wednesday for my delicious shrimp poboy recipe!

Sucré
3930 Euphrosine St.,
New Orleans, LA 70125
504.708.4366

The Fitzroy [Charlottesville]

[Note 12/5/2016: I had some website issues this morning that involved me just getting irritated, deleting the hosting system and starting from scratch. I only lost one post – this one – so I am attempting to recreate that lost post now. I did have a few drafts saved but since I had wanted to cross post them to The Southern Belle Blogs, I had copies there. Lesson learned: I need to back up my files more often. This post also doesn’t have any pretty pictures.]

Exhausted after a fun day at the Heritage Harvest Festival, mom and I went back to the campground, though we weren’t exactly excited about the notion of hot dogs cooked over the fire for dinner. Yes, they would have been delicious (and basically free) but we just were not feeling it that evening. Instead, we hopped into the truck and headed downtown to explore and hopefully find something good to eat.

The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville seems to be the happening place in town. It is a bit trippy for newcomers as sometimes the road runs right next to people dining outside, but there are lots of cute little shops and restaurants to check out. Almost too many options we quickly discovered.

Initially I wanted to eat at Citizen Burger. Citizen Burger had been on my to-do list for months but after having a burger for lunch that day, we decided to go for something else. My mom and I wandered the streets for a while, growing hungrier and hungrier, as I browsed through menus on my phone. While I wanted something tasty to eat, all mom wanted was a cold Bud Light and nothing “funky” to eat. I finally came across the menu for The Fitzroy, a relatively new establishment, but one that met both of our requirements.

I went with the Fried Chicken [boneless, buttermilk battered, a little honey, hot sauce] with a side of Broiled Mac & Cheese. Mom chose the Shrimp Po’Boy [fried shrimp, remoulade, tomato, crisp lettuce]. While my fried chicken was delicious and cooked exactly how I like it, I did have a rare bout of food envy once I tried mom’s dish. It was really good (though the remoulade could have used a bit more kick – mom makes a version that is perfect to me). I wasn’t crazy over the mac & cheese and wish that I hadn’t ordered it (it was good but we had so much left over).

Looking back, I wish I had tried one of their signature cocktails. The Majestic [St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Drambuie, Bubbles] sounded amazing but I simply stuck with water.  After being in the sun all day, that was probably not a bad choice though.

All in all, this place was a definite win. The service was good, the prices were reasonable, and the ambiance was great. The Fitzroy looked like it would be the place to come after work and hang out with friends or even a great spot to bring a date.


The Fitzroy

120 East Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Tuesday-Thursday 11:30 am – 12 am
Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 2 am

Charlottesville KOA [Charlottesville]

If you are in Charlottesville and looking for a budget-friendly place to rest your head, I suggest checking out the Charlottesville KOA. Located about 10 miles from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, the Charlottesville KOA is the place to go to experience peace and quiet in the mountains. This campground is a small one but don’t let that stop you. The staff was fabulous when we checked in (very helpful – even providing us with a great map of the area) and the facilities are very clean.

1-3-768x576

Even though the pool normally closes on Labor Day, it was still open because of the heat. The water was certainly nice and refreshing! The pool was surrounded by trees and since we were the only ones in there, it felt like our own private oasis. There is a laundry/game room which we checked out (but never utilized – even though we had talked about playing a game of pool or air hockey), as well as a playground.

There’s also a fishing pond/nature trail you can check out on the property. I really liked walking the nature trail and the fishing pond was nice to gaze upon. Now keep in mind that there is a poison ivy out there. I did find several good sources of jewelweed however, which is known to help soothe poison ivy (as an herbalist, it tickled me to find so much jewelweed).

2-768x576

 

4-4-768x576

There are three different types of cabins you can book: a one room cabin, a two room cabin, or a cottage. For our one room cabin (which sleeps up to 4 people – and provided us with plenty of room), it cost only $65 a night when we booked. We did have to bring our own linens, but the cabin provided us with a cable tv, AC/heat, electricity, and a ceiling fan. The larger cottages have their own bathrooms attached but since all of the cabins were located right near the restroom (and like I said, this is a smaller campground), that wasn’t an issue.

3-768x576

One of the nicer perks was free wireless internet on the campground as well as free cable tv. All in all, this was a great campground and provided us with a nice and relaxing place to stay.

Charlottesville KOA
2016 Season: Open March 11th – Close November 13th
3825 Red Hill Rd.,
Charlottesville, VA 22903
434-296-9881

Duck Donuts [Outer Banks]

Every year around the 4th of July, my family go down to the Outer Banks to stay in a timeshare. From middle school thru college (and a few years after), I was able to go every year. Then life got in the way. 2016 marked the first time I had been able to attend since 2012 and I certainly have missed going.

Now, to be honest, my favorite time to visit the beach is in October – the off-season. The weather is still decent, there isn’t much traffic, and most of the businesses are still open. There is something so magical about being able to sit on the beach and watch the waves without the excessive heat and noise of Summer surrounding you.

Taken in March 2016

Duck Donuts is a must each and every time I go to the beach – no matter what time of the year it is. I first discovered Duck Donuts not long after its opening in Kitty Hawk back in 2007. Funny story – the original Duck Donuts is actually the Kitty Hawk location, not the Duck location! The one located in Kill Devil Hills is my favorite one though and just a brief bike ride away from our beach condo.

Duck Donuts are the best donuts I have ever eaten – and this is coming from a girl who was born and raised on Kripsy Kreme. Duck Donuts are made to order, so when you get one, it is crispy, crunchy, and blistering hot. The inside is more cake-like than yeast and it tastes like something decadent and buttery. The really neat thing about Duck Donuts is that you get to customize your own donut with any variety of coating/topping/drizzle. I usually go for just the chocolate glazed (or chocolate glazed with peanuts if I’m feeling adventurous) but they are all delicious (cinnamon sugar is my second favorite). The maple glazed with bacon is pretty popular, so I’ve heard.

Chocolate glazed with peanuts… mmm.

Be warned – during the Summer, there will be a line at Duck Donuts. I went on a Saturday morning at 8 and waited 20 minutes, then returned the next day at 7 and still had to wait 20 minutes! Even though the line was out the door, don’t get intimidated and leave. The line will move quickly and the donuts are worth the wait.

All hands are on deck to get your donuts out in a timely manner.

You can even have the donuts shipped to your home, but nothing beats a fresh one.

Keep an eye out on their website – new locations are popping up everywhere and one may be popping up near you!

Kill Devil Hills, NC
710 S Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948, United States
Mon – Tues: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM*
Wed: 6:30 AM – 3:00 PM*
Thurs – Sun: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM** I suggest visiting their website or their Facebook page to make sure the hours are still valid if you are going in the off-season.