Bloomsbury Inn

1707 Lyttleton Street, Camden, South Carolina 29020
Innkeeper(s): Bruce and Katherine Brown

Common Earth Farm: Stuffed Dates 1 Sep 2015, 12:42 pm

You cannot even begin to imagine how wonderful this simple stuffed date is.  I promise that they will disappear off the serving dish before all else.  When my friend from Common Earth Farms first introduced me to these, I was totally hooked.  So, of course, I stole the recipe and now claim it as my own:   aka  Bloomsbury Inn Stuffed Dates.

Ingredients:

Fresh Dates (you can find them at the better grocery stores); buy at least 2 per person and you won’t go wrong with 3 per person.

2 Fresh Limes (zest only)

Feta Crumbles (plain goat cheese feta is best)

Quality Almonds, 1 per each date

Sea Salt

Olive Oil (or as Rachel coined EVO)

Since I am one who likes to have all in order before I begin, I zest the limes before I begin.  It keeps very well in a covered dish so the task can be done earlier in the day.  I use a non-stick skillet.

Carefully pit the dates; be certain to extract the pit without cutting the fruit in half.

Place one whole almond in each date.

 And, then stuff the date with the feta.  Fill the pitted area full and press the date back together.  Fill it full, but be careful not to overfill.

Heat the skillet over low heat.  When warm, place the dates in the pan.  Drizzle olive oil over the dates…not too much, but enough to sauté the fruit.  Turn the heat up and sauté the dates; they will turn a little brown.  Be careful to turn them continually so as not to burn a spot.

Remove the dates to a pretty serving dish – a Mediterranean plate is perfect.  Sprinkle sea salt to taste and all of the lime zest over the dates.  Serve hot!

I started out by saying “simple” stuffed dates, and they are easy to make and delicious to eat.  They are well complimented by white wines…my friend, Gail,  would serve a chardonnay, but sauvignon blanc also pairs well.

Bloomsbury Jam-Off 2015 18 Aug 2015, 3:11 pm

The third Bloomsbury Jam-Off  is scheduled for Sunday, 27 September 2015!  Yes, Jam-Off (amateur jam-off).  A panel of jam-loving judges will be selecting the top three entries in the entire universe.  Well, the top three of those j-petitors(contestants) who make a submission to be judged.  The top three entries will be awarded a Jam-Off Certificate and Prize.

Be sure to follow the rules for the Jam-Off:

* All submissions must reach Bloomsbury not later than 15 September 2015:    Bloomsbury Inn, 1707 Lyttleton Street, Camden SC 29020
* Each submission must be made in a pint jar or smaller, home canned (NO commercially produced items please)
* Unfortunately we cannot accept refrigerator jams
* Acceptable submissions include jam, jelly, preserves, fruit sauces and fruit spreads
* Each submission must be accompanied by a card containing:
    J-petitors Name, Address, Telephone Number and Email Address (email addresses will not be shared/sold)
           Title of Submission
          Category of Submission (jam, jelly, preserve, sauce, spread)
         Recipe (this recipe will be shared upon request…so please do not send Auntie Margaret’s Secret Recipe)
* Be sure to tell your friends they should also make a submission (ok — they don’t have to be friends)
* Everyone who submits a jam for competition is invited to the Jam-off event on 27 September

Homemade jams are on the breakfast table every time breakfast is served at Bloomsbury Inn in Camden, South Carolina.  Peach Margarita with hot biscuits from Grandmother Sally Rose’s iron skillet…Strawberry Fig with chocolate croissants…Pineapple Spice with hot crescents…

Inn guests are always asking for recipes, regional secrets and tips.  In fact, many want to learn how to can jam and jellies.  So, in 2013 the competition was opened for j-petitors to submit their best jar of jam and recipe to compete in the first Jam-Off.  Today, you can submit yours.

So, j-petitors start canning now and be sure to have your j-tastic submission in by 15 September 2014.

Deep Cleaning 17 Jul 2015, 1:23 pm

To really clean a room, be prepared to work!  Every room of your property should be deep cleaned each year.  Grandmother Sally Rose referred to this process as “spring cleaning”.  Surprise!  It does not have to be done in the spring.  But, she did it in the spring because at that time she swapped from the winter window coverings and rugs to the summer ones.

Overwhelmed, yet?  The process to really cleaning a room is very simple — we do every room in Bloomsbury Inn every year:

Requirements:

  1. A ladder that will allow you to reach the top of the shelves and windows

  2. A vacuum cleaner

  3. A wet mop if your floors are not carpeted

  4. A long-handled duster

  5. A pail

  6. Clean cleaning rags

  7. One magic eraser bar for any really tough spots

  8. Carpet/spot remover

  9. Vinegar, 1 part, and water, 3 parts

  10. Water for you to drink; it is important to remain well-hydrated when working hard

Process:

      

  1. Remove everything from the room. Today is also the perfect day to repaint the room or to touch-up as required on the current paint finish.

  2. Always work from the top down. Using your long-handled duster, dust around the top of your room to include crown molding, tops of window sills and doorways.

  3. Dust and wash all overhead light fixtures and fans. It is a great time to ensure all the those little light bulbs are shining.

  4. Dust/wash all window shutters/blinds.

  5. Clean all windows.  Spray windows with vinegar and water solution, clean the glass surface and the window frames.

  6. If the window coverings do not need to be dry cleaned, vacuum them using the long arm attachments to your vacuum.

  7. With everything removed, clean all built-ins and all wall hangings.

  8. Use the feather duster to finish dusting all walls, chair rails and base boards.

  9. Using the vinegar and water solution, wash all vent covers, chair rails, base boards, fireplaces door frames and doors, etc.

  10. Vacuum the entire room north to south; vacuum the entire room east to west.

  11. If your floor surface is solid, mop with the vinegar/water solution.

  12. Using the carpet/spot remover to clean any small spots on the carpet/rugs. If needed, completely shampoo the carpet/rugs.  Account for this step in your timeline as you cannot put any furniture back in the room until carpet/rugs are completely dry.

  13. Vacuum all fabric furnishings (this would include mattresses/bedsprings, etc.)…yes, under the cushions and the bottoms of the furniture. Now is a good time to rotate cushions and pillows.  Spot clean fabric as need be.  Wash all non-fabric portions of the furniture with the vinegar/water solution.  If the carpet/rugs are completely dry, return the fabric furnishings to the room.  This is a great time to rearrange your furnishings!

  14. Wash all remaining furnishings with the vinegar/water solution. By now you should be on your 2d or 3d pail of solution.  Return all furnishings to the room.  Be sure that you have all rugs and furnishings sitting as you desire.

  15. It is now time to return everything that belongs back in that room, be sure you dust or preferably wash with the vinegar/water solution every item that your return to the shelves, table tops, etc. Vacuum the lamp shades before you wash the lamps.  When you have returned what belongs in the room, dispose of or properly store all the leftover items.  

  16. Are you tired, yet? You are not finished.  If I missed any surface, clean it, too.  Sit in every location to be sure the room is arranged for the intended purpose.

  17. Now it is your time to clean-up and put away all your supplies. Finally, you can clean yourself, fix a fresh drink and enjoy your perfectly cleaned room.

That is the proper way to deep clean a room.  The most  difficult part is removing larger furnishings, so I always like to have a helper.  Plus, working with someone is far more fun than doing the job alone.

Happy cleaning!

Bloomsbury Quiche 11 Jul 2015, 7:23 am

Perfect Butter Pie Crust

1 ¼ cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter

¼ cup ice cold water

Spray oil

 In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Chop your butter into small chunks, cut the butter in the mixture until it forms small coarse crumbs.  Add the ice cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a nice smooth ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hour or up to 32 hours.  Place your ramekins onto a baking tray.  Spray your ramekins with baking oil spray.  Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch.  Cut the dough into circles to fit your ramekins.  Press the dough into the bottom of the dish and up the sides, at the top you can leave a country feel or decorate it with a fork or spoon marking.  Note:  This crust will fill 4-6 ramekins depending on the diameter and depth of your dish.  You can also use this to fill one 9-inch pie pan.  At Bloomsbury, ramekins are always used because they present on a breakfast plate so nicely.

 Quiche Filling 

6 farm fresh eggs (allow to rest at room temp for at least 30 mins), beaten

¾ cup heavy cream (I use Half and Half)

1 cup baby spinach

½ pound cooked/crumbled bacon

¼ cup sweet onion

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Nutmeg

Salt/pepper

Divide spinach, bacon, onion and cheese evenly between your ramekins.  Sprinkle a very light puff of nutmeg into each dish.  Beat your eggs into a large bowl, salt and pepper to taste.  Divide egg mix evenly between your ramekins.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 mins, until they are puffed and the center is set.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy this beautiful Bloomsbury Quiche — make it just for you or for your family and friends.  It will be the hit of breakfast.  Better yet, visit Camden, South Carolina where you can be treated to one of the best breakfasts in the South.

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

Crushed Ice

Garnish

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

Egg Nests

Pepper-praline Bacon

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

Preparation:

  • 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.

  • Place the baking sheet in the center of the 450 degree oven for 3 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and add the egg yolk to the center of the white. 

  • 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.

  • Serve immediately.

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:

  and she does not want…

  1. Solar Candles
  2. Pots and Pans
  3. Lunch at a kid-friendly restaurant
  4. Another mug
  5. BBq tools
  6. A lighted globe
  7. Small kitchen appliances of any sort
  8. A heart shaped anything that does not contain a gift certificate to Bloomsbury
  9. Measuring spoons
  10. 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.

Scavenger Hunt Table

 

 

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.

     Cripple Creek  Recharge Station
Tesla Recharge Station

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. 

 Cooking

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!