White Grape Punch 21 Jun 2015, 2:46 pm
My great niece is co-hosting a Ladies’ Shower for a bride-to-be. She asked me to suggest a punch recipe. My go-to non-alcoholic punch is very classy and just as easy as it is classy. It can be served from an elegant punch bowl or from a fun summer pitcher — it is always a hit!
White Grape Punch
1 container Welsh White Grape Juice
1 large bottle Canada Dry Ginger Ale
Pour each container over crushed ice — I love to use the Sonic ice (yes, you can buy it by the bag — just go through the drive-thru and order a large bag of ice). My first choice is to garnish with fresh mint sprigs, but there are so many options: frozen grapes, lime spirals, fresh strawberry slices, kiwi slices (peeled). I promise this will be perfect for a Ladies’ Shower.
Bloomsbury Egg Nests 10 May 2015, 9:46 am
Mother’s Day Perfection
Bloomsbury Egg Nests
A few days ago, I was researching new breakfast ideas to be used at Bloomsbury Inn, Camden SC. I especially wanted something beautiful for Mother’s Day 2015. I decided on a menu of:
Fresh Fruit Cup, dressed in local honey and fresh lime
Biscuits right out of Grandmother’s iron skillet
and, Garden Fresh Tomato, seasoned and dressed
I decided on this menu, because I liked the elegance of the Egg Nest. I knew that our farm fresh eggs from Wil-Moore Farms, Lugoff SC, would be perfect. Then my friend from the Taraworth House, Fairfax VA, send me a recipe for Egg Nests with Gruyere. Fresh eggs and Gruyere solidified the decision.
Bloomsbury Egg Nests
(Truth be told, I was so busy building a beautiful plate for guests that I failed to make entrée photos. As a result, you are seeing the plate I made for my wonderful hubby.)
Ingredients: (serving for 1 so you can adjust the recipe to serve 2 or 3 or 4..I made 6 and would not make more than 6 at one time as the egg whites had to be whipped and whipped)
1 farm fresh egg
a pinch of salt
1/8 cup grated Gruyer cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 with a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Select a glass bowl (not plastic) for the egg whites. Be positive the glass bowl and the beater whisks are dishwasher clean)
Separate the egg yolks and whites. Place the whites into the squeaking clean glass bowl; and, place the yolks (one per cup) in small dishes or cups. Make sure you have no yolk in the whites or they will not fluff up correctly. And, you must have a squeaky clean bowl for the same reason. If you allow your eggs whites to rest for a few minutes at room temperature, they will have more volume when whipped.
To the whites, add the salt. It is best to begin beating the eggs slowly; you can use your stand mixer or a hand mixer. As the eggs begin to turn cloudy increase the mixer speed to high. Whip on high until stiff peaks form.
Very gently fold in the Gruyere cheese. Repeat “gently” so as not to deflate the egg whites. All that egg white volume is based upon whipping in tiny air bubbles and they are rather fragile.
Create an egg white mound on the baking sheet; form the white to resemble a nest with a definite indention in the center.
Return the baking sheet to the oven for 3 – 4 minutes depending on the desired brownness. The egg yolk will not be firm when served.
The Egg Nest needs to bake in a very high oven so the whites do not turn into a Meringue cookie. To some this may sound time consuming or slightly difficult. Trust me – it is neither. This was the perfect Mother’s Day entrée at Bloomsbury. Enjoy and happy cooking.
Bloomsbury Offers Unprecedented Mother’s Day Special 28 Apr 2015, 2:33 pm
The Gift of Travel
There are probably lots of things that Mom does not want for Mother’s Day, and there is certainly one that she would love to have! First, what she would love to have:
A visit to Bloomsbury Inn, historic Camden, SC. She would love to arrive after 3:30 pm, get settled in and enjoy the gardens. A very nice bottle of red wine tied with a beautiful bow would be waiting on the bed. At 5:30 she will stroll to the front veranda for social hour and rocking chairs. Guest services will be happy to suggest dining options for dinner. Breakfast the next morning is designed just for Mom…Chocolate? Strawberries? Homemade jams? Praline-peppered bacon?
Camden is a great place to visit and to allow Mom to unwind. Checkout all there is to do: Visit Camden SC.
This all inclusive special includes a beautifully decorated room, a bottle of red wine, afternoon social, full gourmet breakfast, top amenities and all taxes — priced perfectly for a special Mother’s Day surprise: $225.00. A two-night package can be booked for only $399.00. www.bloomsburyinn.com or call 803.432.5858
Now that you know what Mom would love to have, let us give you some hints of what she does not want. Of course she will smile and be so appreciative, but she really does not want:
- Solar Candles
- Pots and Pans
- Lunch at a kid-friendly restaurant
- Another mug
- BBq tools
- A lighted globe
- Small kitchen appliances of any sort
- A heart shaped anything that does not contain a gift certificate to Bloomsbury
- Measuring spoons
- Or, an oil change and wash
Yes, you can book for Mother’s Day weekend or you can get a gift certificate to celebrate her special day. We look forward to hearing from you soon. 803.432.5858
One of my “go to” hors d’oeuvres! 23 Apr 2015, 12:00 pm
We do afternoon social everyday at Bloomsbury, and we often host fun events. Bruce and I hosted one of our Scavenger Hunts this week.
Join the fun!
Everyone loves these! We begin with a non-alcoholic punch on the verandah as guests arrive. When everyone is assembled, the drivers are assigned and the other guests pick a number to determine which driver they will accompany. Each car receives the same directions — off they go!
Upon return, we offer a wine and hors d’oeuvres social for all to enjoy. One of my “go to” hors d’oeuvres:
Bloomsbury Potato Rounds.
Wash and clean potatoes (I use new potatoes, one per guest)
Parboil the potatoes (not too soft)
Slice them thinly (4-5 rounds per potato, save the ends for soup)
Sprinkle a nice herb sea salt (or a smoked salt) over the sliced potatoes
Dollop each slice with a 1/4 teaspoon of real sour cream
Place a 1/6 teaspoon of good caviar on top of sour cream
Serve at room temperature…
These can easily be one of your most requested recipes…easy, delicious, and not seen at every event.
P.S. Of course, we have Bloomsbury Scavenger Hunt prizes: Bloomsbury Christmas Ornaments. Bloomsbury Deneene Mugs. Bloomsbury Homemade Jams/Jellies.
Electric Cars Welcome at Bloomsbury! 22 Apr 2015, 5:54 am
Bloomsbury Inn added two electric car charging stations!! We are constantly looking for amenities that increase the convenience and value of a stay at Bloomsbury Inn in historic Camden, South Carolina. Now, you and all other travelers have the opportunity to stop over in Camden, enjoy our town, relax at Bloomsbury, and recharge your electric vehicle while sleeping in the best bed and breakfast in the area.
Bloomsbury was recently ranked #12 of an estimated 17,000 bed and breakfasts/inns in the United States by TripAdvisor. This ranking is based upon your experiences at Bloomsbury. Thus, adding the electric car chargers is just one more way for us to improve your visit and to provide what savvy travelers desire.
The first station is equipped to handle Tesla vehicles and to provide a recharge in three to five hours. The Tesla Model S offers 265 miles of range on a single charge so the High Power Wall Connector can easily top off the Tesla during an overnight stay at Bloomsbury. You will love this new travel option as you explore South Carolina.
The second station handles almost all electric and hybrid vehicles. This includes the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, BMW i8, Chevy Volt, Ford Focus electric, Ford Fusion Energi, Ford C-Max, Fiat 500e, and Volkswagen E-Golf, etc. Any electric vehicle that uses the J-1772 plug will be compatible with this re-charging station. In fact, all Tesla cars are compatible with the J-1772 receptacle when using the Tesla adaptor. Each Tesla is equipped with the adaptor, or you can use the one owned by the inn.
Bloomsbury Inn joins a rapidly growing network in Tesla’s Destination Charging Program. Tesla is partnering with luxury hotels, resorts, inns, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants around the world to ensure electric charging stations are readily available. As a member of Select Registry, Bloomsbury is on the leading edge of what today’s travelers seek. These high power connectors are an amenity and inducement for you to visit, stay and patronize our small town. These electric car charges are not found in many small towns in South Carolina. We are excited to bring them to Camden SC. This is a win-win for tourism marketing.
Electric car owners now have a host of options when planning a visit to South Carolina. For more locations to charge your electric vehicle go to www.plugshare.com or www.carstations.com or www.afdc.energy.gov. See you at Bloomsbury!
Bloomsbury Venison Tenderloin 15 Mar 2015, 6:09 am
Venison is a wonderful red meat. Recently our niece shared a venison back-strap…that is deer code for venison tenderloin. It was from a hunt enjoyed by our great nephew. As I was not cooking it on the grill, wrapped in bacon of course, I thought our “1/4 marinade” was a great option.
Bloomsbury ¼ Marinade
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup brandy (or your favorite spirit or red wine)
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon crushed garlic
¼ pound thick cut bacon
wooden toothpicks soaked in marinade
Mix the first 5 ingredients well. Place the tenderloin in a glass baking dish and cover with marinade; depending upon your dish you may need to turn your meat while it is resting in the marinade. It is best to marinade at least 3 hours on the counter or cover for overnight in the refrigerator. If you place it in the refrigerator, be sure to remove it at least 1 hour before you are ready to cook. This venison marinade bath not only enhances the flavor, it tenderizes. Remove the tenderloin from the bath and dry it with paper towel/clean dry cloth. Tightly wrap the tenderloin in bacon, secure with tooth picks that you soak in the marinade.
In a lightly oiled, heavy, oven proof skillet (I use one of grandmother’s cast iron skillets), brown the meat on all sides. When browned (not cooked/just seared), place in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes for medium, 6 minutes for med-rare. Remove from the oven. Tent the tenderloin with foil for 10 mins. This step allows the meat to retain its juices. If you slice it without it resting, the juices will escape. At this point our family enjoys the venison tenderloin as the feature of a great meal. But, you can also make a fruit sauce or brown gravy if you desire.
Thank you great nephew and niece for sharing…it was delicious!
Dillinger’s Machine Gun 6 Mar 2015, 6:30 am
The best gun collection in the southeast is located in Camden, South Carolina. The Ross E. Beard Gun Collection has over 1,000 items; currently the Camden Archives and Museum displays about 400 of the collection. One of the most popular to see is a John Dillinger machine gun. Mr. Beard was given this gun by his Godfather, Mr. Melvin Purvis. Many of the other items on display are attributed to Melvin Horace Purvis, Jr. (October 24, 1903 – February 29, 1960), an American law enforcement official and FBI agent. He was given the nickname “Little Mel” because of his short stature. He is noted for leading the manhunts that tracked such outlaws as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger.
John Dillinger (1903 – 1934) was a gangster, bank robber, and murderer. He robbed twenty-four banks and even four police stations. He killed police officers in East Chicago, Indiana during a notorious shootout. Even in the day of Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd, he stood out. After receiving a tip as to his whereabouts in Chicago from Ana Cumpanas, a brothel madam, police attempted to arrest him outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. In the pursuing shootout, Melvin Purvis along with other FBI agents, killed Dillinger.
One of Dillinger’s famed machine guns is displayed at the Camden SC Archives and Museum. Evidently, Dillinger had several machine guns. In an earlier raid, he robbed a police station and requisitioned him several. Thus, Mr. Purvis recovered one as a memento.
Our guests at Bloomsbury Inn, Camden SC, are always excited to visit this exhibit. Many of them visit Camden specifically to see the Archives and Museum which is located in the Carnegie Library . The gun collection is a permanent display and the other exhibits are rotating to exemplify the history of Camden. With the Library celebrating its centennial, guests are treated to a special display covering 100 years, including original building correspondence. This is a must visit while staying at the award-winning (ranked # 12 of an estimated 17,000 by TripAdvisor) Bloomsbury.
Duel of Honor! Colonel Henry Nixon and Major Thomas Hopkins 10 Feb 2015, 1:19 pm
It was a manner of honor. Colonel Henry G. Nixon (1800-1829) was a darling of the Camden community. Well-liked, polished, and generous, Col. Nixon was a local attorney and politician. With differences to settle, on January 15, 1829, he and Thomas A. Hopkins (1803-1831) met to dual at the Sand Bar Ferry near Augusta, Georgia where state jurisdiction was questionable . The genesis of the dispute started in 1824 when the Hopkins family sued the Nixon family. William Nixon, Henry Nixon’s father, was accused of fraud in a land deal. The Hopkins family won the dispute in court. Both men were in the militia with Henry Nixon a Colonel and Thomas Hopkins was a Major. Folklore has it that the duel was because of a critical remark by Nixon regarding the maneuvers of Hopkins’ regiment. The duel was held at one o’clock. Col. Nixon is described as wearing a fancy coat with a white handkerchief showing from his breast pocket. Legend says that Hopkins remarked that “the man has marked his heart for me to hit.” Hopkins had practiced his marksmanship in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden firing at the grave stone of Neil Smith. You can still see the pit marks of bullets on the back of the stone. Hopkins, a superb marksman, marched his paces, turned and was the first to fire hitting Nixon in the right breast. Nixon fell instantly dead with his pistol going off harmlessly. Hopkins regretted the necessity of the duel and felt it has been forced on him by Nixon’s comments. It is said that Hopkins died from a broken heart for killing Nixon. Thomas Hopkins soon followed, dying just two years later. In 1832 Nixon’s father enclosed the grave of his son behind a wall of granite with iron railing. Henry G. Nixon is the only one buried in this plot at the Quaker Cemetery in Camden. Thomas Hopkins is buried at the old Swift Creek Church Cemetery. The history to be learned in the Quaker Cemetery is amazing, and it is just over two miles from Bloomsbury.
Bloomsbury Meatloaf!!! 30 Jan 2015, 6:28 am
When we were growing up, meatloaf was one of the regular meals…regular as in the Tuesday night meal. The recipe was simple. A big clump of ground meat, one chopped onion: mix well and place in baking pan. Top with catsup. Bake 425 degrees for 2.5 hours. OK…it wasn’t that bad, but it was bad enough to make me strive for a better meatloaf!
- 1.5 pounds ground meat (love to us ground lamb, venison, a mix of beef and pork…turkey and chicken are not the best choices; but, lamb is our favorite)
- ½ cups old fashion oats
- ½ sweet onion, chopped
- ½ cup favorite BBq sauce (I don’t really measure, somewhere between a third and half cup)
- Salt/pepper (not too much salt)
- Cheese (whatever you like to stuff inside the meatloaf; we like gruyere or cream cheese)
- Veges (peppers, celery, peas, asparagus, whatever you like to stuff inside the meatloaf)
- Meat (ham, cooked bacon, whatever cooked meat you like to stuff inside the meatloaf)
- Leftovers (make the best things to stuff inside the meatloaf)
- Herbs/spices to your liking (fresh minced garlic, jalapeños, chives, cumin…)
- 2 small cans tomato paste
Pat it out into a rectangular shape…works well to place on a piece of foil. Place cheese down the middle of the rectangular. Place other assorted items (veges, meats, etc) on top of the cheese, add whatever else you like. Roll the meat up around the center ingredients and seal it by pressing together at all points. Place a greased baking dish over (upside down) the meatloaf. Using the foil to help hold the meatloaf in place, flip the dish right side up. Spread the tomato paste over the meatloaf (one can may be enough if you like a thin topping…we like it thick). Bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until completely cooked. But it will not take 2.5 hours at 425! Enjoy a moist, delicious meatloaf on Tuesday night or any other night.
The leftovers make great sandwiches. One of the great aspects of this meatloaf is that you can design it to your likings.
Bloomsbury Beef Wellington 9 Jan 2015, 8:27 am
Bloomsbury Beef Wellington
First comes the shopping! For a good beef wellington you must purchase quality items. We buy trimmed beef tenderloin, 1 ½ inch thick. The pate is always a duck/goose liver pate…no chicken and no additives such as port wine or peppercorns. Mushrooms, parsley and scallions: mixed mushrooms, only fresh, are a good choice. And, quality frozen puff pastry is a must. Everything else in this recipe is standard kitchen staples…but, check the list to ensure you have everything. This entree is perfect for “farm to table” fare.
Puff Pastry. Be sure to remove your dough from the freezer to the countertop to defrost. You do not want to let it get warm, but you want it to defrost to the point you can unfold, cut the pastry into a small square that will encase the tenderloins. You can always place the pastry in the refrig vs freezer for 3 days before use…we just use freezer to countertop.
Pate. The easy step, slice into ¼ inch slices. You will only need one slice per tenderloin. The pate needs to be a very rich (not $80.00 a pound rich) item.
Tenderloin. We purchase and prepare individual wellingtons (often times people make them with the whole tenderloin); but, individual wellingtons allow you to cook the tenderloin to the desired temperature for each guest. Our dinner guests range from rare to well-done (yikes) and it is our desire to please everyone. One and 1/2 inch tenderloins are a great size…we usually have part of the wellington for dinner and save the other half for lunch the next day…1 1/2 inch is a large portion of meat. Yes, you can purchase thinner, but you sacrifice the end product…just go 1 1/2 and save some for the next day!
Extra virgin olive oil
Very carefully dry the meat on/with non-linting paper towel. In a very heavy skillet (we use grandmother’s iron skillet), heat the olive oil. Sear the tenderloins, top/bottom/all sides, in the olive oil. This is the point at which you control the final meat temperature. For the rare lovers, just quickly sear…for those who prefer a little more done, sear a little longer. Salt/pepper. Set the meat aside to rest and to completely cool.
Mushroom duxelles. The mushrooms are chopped finely and then cooked until all of the juice is gone. “No juice” is critical to ensure the outer puff pastry is not soggy. Once you cook/remove your duxelles, if you find it is moist, rest it on paper towel to ensure it is not juicy.
1 pound mixed mushrooms, well chopped
1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBS fresh parsley (or, 3 TBS dried) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
Place all ingredients except the white wine in a large skillet and cook on low, stirring almost constantly. You do not want to allow your mushrooms/scallions to “fry”. It will take 20+ minutes to have them fully cooked to a rather pasty state. Add the white wine and continue to cook until all juice is gone. Set aside to cool.
Crepe or not. Many recipes call for inserting crepes when you assemble the wellington. We have done with and without. If the duxelles is prepared properly/dry, you will not need the crepe. I have not included the crepe in this recipe as we think it adds nothing but another dough layer. (So, make beautiful crepes and serve them with fresh fruit or chocolate for breakfast.) Likewise, some recipes call for thin slices of cured ham…have never used it.
Sauce or not. We make a basic red wine or port sauce, laced with scallions to serve over the entrée. Any basic recipe (that does not used packaged gravy mix) works well. We reduce the wine by ½, add the scallions and continue to cook for a few minutes…thicken with cornstarch slurry (one tablespoon in ¼ cup cold water). and serve.
Egg Wash. You will need an egg wash twice. One whole egg and one tablespoon of water, whisk together.
With everything cooled, it is time to assemble the wellington. Lay out your squares of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Add a very thin layer of duxelles all over the pastry…leaving about ½ inch of the pastry edge not covered. Lay the slice of pate in the center on top of the pate. Place the tenderloin on the pate. Paint the egg wash around the edge of the pate where you did not place duxelles. Pull the pastry up around the tenderloin and make sure it is fully covered; the egg wash will make it stick to itself. Be sure it is tight and formed into a compact bundle. In a nice sized square of plastic wrap, place the wellington at one edge and roll up very tightly, twist the ends and allow the wellington to rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. Prep in the morning after the crepe breakfast and cook in the evening. A nice glass of white wine makes the cooking step much more enjoyable.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap the wellington, score the top with a knife point or decorate with extra puff pastry leaves. We actually cut initials from the puff pastry and place on each individual tenderloin to ensure that each guest receives one prepared to their desired meet temperature. Paint the entire wellington with the egg wash; this will ensure a nice, crisp, well-browned exterior. Lower the oven temp to 375. Place the wellingtons on a heavy baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the interior temperature reaches 135 degrees.
Allow the wellington to rest for at least 10 minutes before you plate it. Fresh sautéed asparagus makes a perfect side to this very rich entrée. A nice, medium-bodied red Zinfandel matches perfectly—be careful to select a medium-bodied wine as a heavy wine overpowers all the flavor layers of this dish. Sounds complicated…it is not. This has become our “Happy New Year” dinner menu. Just do your prep early in the morning and bake when you are ready to serve. It is so delicious!!! Happy New Year. Gail Prince and katherine Brown