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The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm

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American city girl marries Irish dairy farmer; cooking, growing, foraging, fishing, preserving, and baking ensue: 150 delightful classic Irish recipes updated for the modern home cook. The Farmette Cookbook documents Imen McDonnell's extraordinary Irish country cooking journey, which began the moment she fell in love with an Irish farmer and moved across the Atlantic to Co American city girl marries Irish dairy farmer; cooking, growing, foraging, fishing, preserving, and baking ensue: 150 delightful classic Irish recipes updated for the modern home cook. The Farmette Cookbook documents Imen McDonnell's extraordinary Irish country cooking journey, which began the moment she fell in love with an Irish farmer and moved across the Atlantic to County Limerick. This book's collection of 150 recipes and colorful stories chronicles nearly a decade-long adventure of learning to feed a family (and several hungry farmers) while adjusting to her new home (and nursing a bit of homesickness). Along the way she teaches us foundational kitchen skills and time-honored Irish traditions, sharing wisdom from her mother-in-law and other doyennes of Irish cooking. We learn the ritual of Sunday lunch, pudding, and tea. We go along with her on wild crafting walks--the country version of foraging for wild edibles. We visit her local fishmonger to see what we can create with his daily catch from the sea. Along the way we see how she's deviated from classic Irish recipes to add contemporary or American twists. The Farmette Cookbook is a compilation of tried-and-true recipes with an emphasis on local, fresh ingredients and traditional Irish kitchen skills, which for Imen have healed homesickness and forged new friendships.


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American city girl marries Irish dairy farmer; cooking, growing, foraging, fishing, preserving, and baking ensue: 150 delightful classic Irish recipes updated for the modern home cook. The Farmette Cookbook documents Imen McDonnell's extraordinary Irish country cooking journey, which began the moment she fell in love with an Irish farmer and moved across the Atlantic to Co American city girl marries Irish dairy farmer; cooking, growing, foraging, fishing, preserving, and baking ensue: 150 delightful classic Irish recipes updated for the modern home cook. The Farmette Cookbook documents Imen McDonnell's extraordinary Irish country cooking journey, which began the moment she fell in love with an Irish farmer and moved across the Atlantic to County Limerick. This book's collection of 150 recipes and colorful stories chronicles nearly a decade-long adventure of learning to feed a family (and several hungry farmers) while adjusting to her new home (and nursing a bit of homesickness). Along the way she teaches us foundational kitchen skills and time-honored Irish traditions, sharing wisdom from her mother-in-law and other doyennes of Irish cooking. We learn the ritual of Sunday lunch, pudding, and tea. We go along with her on wild crafting walks--the country version of foraging for wild edibles. We visit her local fishmonger to see what we can create with his daily catch from the sea. Along the way we see how she's deviated from classic Irish recipes to add contemporary or American twists. The Farmette Cookbook is a compilation of tried-and-true recipes with an emphasis on local, fresh ingredients and traditional Irish kitchen skills, which for Imen have healed homesickness and forged new friendships.

30 review for The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm

  1. 4 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    I get a ton of cookbooks from the library. Sometimes I don't recall ordering them, but I peruse every single one (though many I don't review). I did not recall ordering this one but flipped through it quickly and then went back and actually read it. Imen's story is fascinating and she can write. For every recipe there is some little story and they were enjoyable to read. I enjoyed these parts the most. The book is huge and there are a ton of recipes. Not your traditional 'Irish' recipes. Yes, you I get a ton of cookbooks from the library. Sometimes I don't recall ordering them, but I peruse every single one (though many I don't review). I did not recall ordering this one but flipped through it quickly and then went back and actually read it. Imen's story is fascinating and she can write. For every recipe there is some little story and they were enjoyable to read. I enjoyed these parts the most. The book is huge and there are a ton of recipes. Not your traditional 'Irish' recipes. Yes, you have boxty, colcannon, fish and peas, but it has so much more. But for me, a vegan, many things did not appeal to me. Creating various cheeses from raw cows milk, or butter. I can see how this book came about, the author lives on her dairy farm, the closest grocery is over an hour away, sometimes she did not have a car, but needed basic cooking/baking staples such as milk, bread, cheese, sour cream, etc. I can see how this can appeal to many people. I do have an issue also with the photos. In a cookbook, give me pictures of the food, and lots. Yes, there are pictures of food, but there are so many more of the farm. I'd rather see a pic of some lavishly baked bread than a haybail. But that's just me. Overall, I'm glad I picked this one up but I don't see myself using this going forward.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I love beautiful cookbooks, especially if they have recipes I want to try. The photos in this book are lovely and and the recipes varied, from cream scones to frangipane to bangers and mash. It's hearty and warming food, with easy ingredient lists. Of course, the best part of The Farmette Cookbook is taking a trip through Ireland with its charming author. I love beautiful cookbooks, especially if they have recipes I want to try. The photos in this book are lovely and and the recipes varied, from cream scones to frangipane to bangers and mash. It's hearty and warming food, with easy ingredient lists. Of course, the best part of The Farmette Cookbook is taking a trip through Ireland with its charming author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    M.K. McClintock

    A READER'S (and cook's) OPINION I don't follow a lot of blogs, but Imen has a way of bringing a reader back for more with her charming farm adventures in Ireland. When I have a few minutes to spare, I head on over for a little wanderlust escape into her world, and I'm never disappointed. It doesn't hurt that I'm also a foodie which makes her blog doubly enjoyable. "The Farmette Cookbook" features a fabulous array of recipes, most of which I plan to try at some point. The photography is beautiful A READER'S (and cook's) OPINION I don't follow a lot of blogs, but Imen has a way of bringing a reader back for more with her charming farm adventures in Ireland. When I have a few minutes to spare, I head on over for a little wanderlust escape into her world, and I'm never disappointed. It doesn't hurt that I'm also a foodie which makes her blog doubly enjoyable. "The Farmette Cookbook" features a fabulous array of recipes, most of which I plan to try at some point. The photography is beautiful with a muted appearance that makes one imagine the bygone times as they blend with Ireland's countryside and the McDonnell farm. Not all of the ingredients may be readily available to people, but some items can be substituted, so if you live in a place where you can't get "raw milk," try organic skim milk or organic heavy whipping cream. I've used both in lieu of the raw milk and they work perfectly. Many ingredients you can get at specialty grocers or local farmers/farmers markets for less than you might realize. If Imen doesn't inspire you to grow your own windowsill herbs or vegetable garden, I'm not sure what will! As a bonus, Imen includes snippets of her story at the front of the book as well as some how-tos on basics and filling the larder. The cookbook is nice and thick with a beautiful design, inside and out. "The Farmette Cookbook" and Imen McDonnell get 5 fabulous stars! Format: Hardcover Book Source: Reviewer's Library **Reviewed for Books & Benches**

  4. 4 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    Whoa Nelly! This is a cookbook to be reckoned with. I am a lover of Irish food culture, but there aren't very many Irish cookbooks that appeal to my *ahem* modern aesthetic sensibilities (most of them were published in the '80s or '90s and look it). This book is scrumptiously lush with those all-important matte photographs, and McDonnell's writing is charming and relatable; not mention she knows her stuff. The recipes themselves strike a wonderful balance between the traditional (homemade dairy Whoa Nelly! This is a cookbook to be reckoned with. I am a lover of Irish food culture, but there aren't very many Irish cookbooks that appeal to my *ahem* modern aesthetic sensibilities (most of them were published in the '80s or '90s and look it). This book is scrumptiously lush with those all-important matte photographs, and McDonnell's writing is charming and relatable; not mention she knows her stuff. The recipes themselves strike a wonderful balance between the traditional (homemade dairy products, barmbrack, pasties) and the modern (lobster mac and cheese pies, bacon and cabbage pot stickers), and run the gamut from quite simple to very involved. Although it's probably too specialized to warrant my buying a copy, I do plan on spending quite a bit more time with this cookbook, and would recommend it to any passionate home chef for inspiration.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paddy Hirsch

    Not bad. Some of the recipes are very good: coffee walnut cake; banoffee pie; chocolate cake. But some don’t work at all. The soda barm brack recipe is way too wet - it’s as though half the flour has been left out. And some of the recipes are just weird. Harissa latkes? Irish dulse miso soup? But overall it’s a fun book. Good photos. It’s just clear that these recipes (as with so many cookbooks) either haven’t been tested properly, or are riddled with typos.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    McDonnell immigrated to Ireland when she married a farmer. This cookbook reflects the cooking she developed on that Irish farm. The emphasis seems to be on fresh, local but not necessarily traditional (salmon tacos or seaweed soup, for example). She starts with a pantry list that includes some hard to get ingredients, like golden syrup, dillisk, and rennet. She also emphasizes the use of raw milk or at least organic milk. Not only is raw milk difficult to get in the US, both raw and organic milk McDonnell immigrated to Ireland when she married a farmer. This cookbook reflects the cooking she developed on that Irish farm. The emphasis seems to be on fresh, local but not necessarily traditional (salmon tacos or seaweed soup, for example). She starts with a pantry list that includes some hard to get ingredients, like golden syrup, dillisk, and rennet. She also emphasizes the use of raw milk or at least organic milk. Not only is raw milk difficult to get in the US, both raw and organic milk can be quite expensive. I would have liked to know more about how the recipes might suffer (if at all) from just using regular milk. She also includes directions on preparing spice mixes. Some recipes lack clarity. She, for example, gives a recipe for homemade buttermilk, but it’s not really buttermilk but vinegar souring milk. And, in her buttered eggs recipe, it’s not clear how one rubs the butter on the eggs. . . Or if she wants you to rub them on the shell how that would affect the actual egg? What kind of pears for the pear cheesecake? Many of the beginning recipes seem most useful if you don’t have access to a good grocery store, but it does not seem efficient to make your own creme Fraiche or cream cheese when you can buy good quality at the store. Pictures tend to the composed food still life’s and family shots with some farm scenes. Recipes are heavy on white: potatoes, milk, flour, pears, gooseberries, cabbage and low on spice, though occasionally McDonnell throws in a surprising spice like the harissa latkes or the potato soup with adobo. The title of the book includes the phrase “adventures”, but the book doesn’t really share much about the author’s life except details like “we sit around the table and guttle fritters” or a tale of hunting for wild garlic. This is a cookbook and not a memoir with recipes. Some unusual recipes might not be found elsewhere like the lavender sloe gin jellies. I just wish I knew where to get “sloes”. And the mad May eve tea cakes that combine marshmallow and chocolate. Most recipes are simple. While McDonnell doesn’t talk much about the cultural background of the food, pursuing the recipes does provide an overview of contemporary Irish food on a farm that seems to combine an emphasis on traditional tastes, local produce and occasional unusual ingredients. The book exudes a sense of comfort and relaxed eating. This is not fancy food!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janka H.

    This is one lovely cookbook, infused with the love for all things Ireland and with the gracious personality of Ms McDonnell. If I say, that this book is written by a true lady, I don´t mean to implicate anything dusted with age, but all things covered with true care, appreciation for the beauty of things both small and big, class and warmness. What a treat! And now I need to buy my plane tickets to Ireland! The lovely (and often hearty, which I crave now in the winter, but not unhealthy) food sho This is one lovely cookbook, infused with the love for all things Ireland and with the gracious personality of Ms McDonnell. If I say, that this book is written by a true lady, I don´t mean to implicate anything dusted with age, but all things covered with true care, appreciation for the beauty of things both small and big, class and warmness. What a treat! And now I need to buy my plane tickets to Ireland! The lovely (and often hearty, which I crave now in the winter, but not unhealthy) food should by accompanied with the charming country, as Ireland is (I have visited there and must return!). As for the cookbook itself - this is for the seasoned cook, I would not recommend this for the beginner. I would also appreciated the images/photos of every dish, and in some I would love the step by step photos - but the recipes are well explained, so this is only my personal pet peeve. Otherwise - charming book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    A charming combination of enticing recipes and stories of life on an Irish farm, this cookbook makes for an entertaining read. I can attest to the deliciousness of the "Claire's Frangipane" recipe. While some of the recipes are perhaps impractical for many, such as making your own buttermilk, or require specialty ingredients like apple blossoms, the majority are very accessible to the average cook. The book incorporates lovely photography, Irish folklore, and personal stories into a very appeali A charming combination of enticing recipes and stories of life on an Irish farm, this cookbook makes for an entertaining read. I can attest to the deliciousness of the "Claire's Frangipane" recipe. While some of the recipes are perhaps impractical for many, such as making your own buttermilk, or require specialty ingredients like apple blossoms, the majority are very accessible to the average cook. The book incorporates lovely photography, Irish folklore, and personal stories into a very appealing collection of updated and traditional Irish recipes that cover the spectrum from dairy basics, such as the afore-mentioned buttermilk, to bread, seafood and meats, and on to the sweet side. A good book to add to anyone's collection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    I love cookbooks that come with a story. I love farms and cooking with food produced at home. I love simple and delicious home cooking. I also love the uk. This book covered all of these loves. I borrowed it from the library but it is definitely one to add to the cookbook collection. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the recipes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    One of the most wonderful cookbooks I have ever read. Having spent a month in Ireland, this reminds me of so much of what I love about the country. I am eager to work through these recipes and would highly recommend! I also particularly appreciated the story and pictures woven in with the recipes. Absolutely wonderful!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Rogers

    I did a quick read through of this and found myself wishing that I lived on a dairy farm so I could try all the cheeses and cream-based recipes she included. Many interesting takes on recipes here and answered some questions I've had about Irish cuisine. I did a quick read through of this and found myself wishing that I lived on a dairy farm so I could try all the cheeses and cream-based recipes she included. Many interesting takes on recipes here and answered some questions I've had about Irish cuisine.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joy Espinosa

    Loved learning about Imen's life in Ireland. Heavy on the dairy recipes because it is a dairy farm- loved learning how to make things like your own sweetened condensed milk. who knew? wonderful pictures as well as the recipes. Loved learning about Imen's life in Ireland. Heavy on the dairy recipes because it is a dairy farm- loved learning how to make things like your own sweetened condensed milk. who knew? wonderful pictures as well as the recipes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    S

    This is a book to read as much for the story of the author moving to Ireland and adjusting to her new life as it is for the recipes (which are pretty good, but not great). An interesting read even if you don't cook. This is a book to read as much for the story of the author moving to Ireland and adjusting to her new life as it is for the recipes (which are pretty good, but not great). An interesting read even if you don't cook.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Juliet

    When they finally invent the machine that transports you straight into a book, you can look for me here.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kati Polodna

    Gorgeous photography, lovely writing and a lot of recipes that made me say nom nom nom. Makes me want an Irish husband and a farm! I can't wait till read her blog, too. Gorgeous photography, lovely writing and a lot of recipes that made me say nom nom nom. Makes me want an Irish husband and a farm! I can't wait till read her blog, too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    Some Irish-like recipes with some long pointless text in between.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

    Gorgeous! The photography alone makes me want to travel to Ireland or at least make some yummy Irish Stew.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Charming, beautiful, and full of helpful recipes. For instance, I have a refrigerator bin full of organic turnips and carrots; Carrot, Turnip and Cumin Puree will be tried very soon.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Some great classics also love the photos and descriptions

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary Kay

    Delightful book with wonderful recipes

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was an adorable book!!!! An American who falls in love with an Irish dairy farmer. What is not to like about that situation? Everything in this book is true Irish eating. Going to Ireland my favorite thing to eat was the brown bread. I could eat loaves of that. There is an awesome recipe in this book for brown bread. Among other things this . This was great I would love to own for myself.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't even finished with the introduction and I decided that I'm definitely moving to an Irish dairy farm. It sounded like a modern-day little house in the big woods. I loved it. I liked the flowery stories behind each of the recipes and the fish-out-of-water vibe. McDonnell did a great job with her descriptions and making the farm sound quaint and cozy. The actual recipes are easy to understand but I can I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't even finished with the introduction and I decided that I'm definitely moving to an Irish dairy farm. It sounded like a modern-day little house in the big woods. I loved it. I liked the flowery stories behind each of the recipes and the fish-out-of-water vibe. McDonnell did a great job with her descriptions and making the farm sound quaint and cozy. The actual recipes are easy to understand but I can see where it would be easier (not to mention cheaper!) to do them on a dairy farm with lots of milk at your disposal. I'd love to try the clotted cream recipe eventually and I wish I had access to a farm so I could get the cream fresh! I did try the diviner's tea brack and it was awesome (although my fruit bits sank; I'm blaming the drafty house). I'm also looking forward to making the fish pie. The pictures are gorgeous and I'm feeling the traveling itch just looking at the beautiful countryside. I wasn't really into the "fusion" recipes, like the cabbage and bacon pot stickers. I'd much rather see more authentic cuisine but I understand that she's putting herself in the recipes. Also, while I did like the little anecdotes throughout the book, some of the stories got a little redundant and made the author come off as a bit ditzy. Gee golly willikers, they have different traditions over here? Whaaa? Gosh! Fruit cake on top of a wedding cake?!? Huh? (It isn't that bad, and maybe it's because I moved around a lot overseas in my youth, but her reactions seemed really silly at times). Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and I look forward to making a few more of these recipes (especially the breads, noms!) It's pretty enough to look at even if you aren't necessarily a champ in the kitchen.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kait

    there are a lot of things to love about this cookbook. the photography is amazing, the recipes are fairly simple and involve simple ingredients, and mcdonnell spends a fair amount of time explaining the terminology, tools, resources, etc. i enjoyed how the book is separated—dairy, bread, potatoes, orchard, seafood, foraging, pies and tarts, meal planning country suppers & Sunday lunch, new takes on traditional food, sweets, and food for kids. but probably the best thing about the book, though, i there are a lot of things to love about this cookbook. the photography is amazing, the recipes are fairly simple and involve simple ingredients, and mcdonnell spends a fair amount of time explaining the terminology, tools, resources, etc. i enjoyed how the book is separated—dairy, bread, potatoes, orchard, seafood, foraging, pies and tarts, meal planning country suppers & Sunday lunch, new takes on traditional food, sweets, and food for kids. but probably the best thing about the book, though, is mcdonnell’s story, included in the beginning in the introduction. she writes a blog, called farmette, where she has chronicled her journey from big-city American broadcast production assistant to Irish farm housewife. i don’t think i’m the only one who has a bit of an obsession with back to the land stories, and mcdonnell’s personal life was the reason why i picked up this cookbook in the first place. for me, though, it does kind of fall a bit flat as an actual cookbook. there’s not very much food photography (though there are beautiful pictures of the farm). and the recipes are a bit too complex for my daily life and aren’t well-rounded enough for my diet (where are all the non-starchy vegetables?!). i guess at the end of the day it’s a bit impractical, but still worth a look if you’re confident in your cooking skills and are looking for some traditional-style UK food.

  24. 4 out of 5

    K

    ARC provided in exchange for honest review I love this cookbook! As I browsed the pictures I had trouble deciding what to make first. I'll have to work my way up to trying the cheeses, but oh my the bread! It has recipes for all your favorite Irish breads. I loved the cream scones. Imen also has created recipes with an Irish twist like a Tres Leches cake and beignets. She also has a whole chapter where she has but together different recipes so there is an entire meal. I think I will have to try t ARC provided in exchange for honest review I love this cookbook! As I browsed the pictures I had trouble deciding what to make first. I'll have to work my way up to trying the cheeses, but oh my the bread! It has recipes for all your favorite Irish breads. I loved the cream scones. Imen also has created recipes with an Irish twist like a Tres Leches cake and beignets. She also has a whole chapter where she has but together different recipes so there is an entire meal. I think I will have to try the "ode to 'Merica meal" for the 4th of July. There are so many recipes I can't wait to try out. This is a must have cookbook.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This was such an appealing, easy book to get into. It has tons of unusual recipes from the Irish, Scottish, Brittish area of the world, but they all have easy to follow measuring instructions, easy directions, mostly common-place ingredients, and full color pictures for each. What a joy! This book totally makes me want to stay home and cook! There are a couple of scary sections focusing on how to make your own dairy products, but it's a small section. Overall, this is such a useful and inviting This was such an appealing, easy book to get into. It has tons of unusual recipes from the Irish, Scottish, Brittish area of the world, but they all have easy to follow measuring instructions, easy directions, mostly common-place ingredients, and full color pictures for each. What a joy! This book totally makes me want to stay home and cook! There are a couple of scary sections focusing on how to make your own dairy products, but it's a small section. Overall, this is such a useful and inviting book that I would buy my own copy if I didn't already have too many cookbooks at home.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Brown

    The Farmette Cookbook is a gorgeous introduction to farm-fresh Irish food. Also welcome are the American twists on Irish foods and vice versa. I spent hours perusing these delicious recipes, deciding which ones to try first. From classic colcannon and soda bread to Irish cheese tamales, Imen McDonnell offers up unforgettable foods that I can't wait to share with my children and friends. The Farmette Cookbook is a gorgeous introduction to farm-fresh Irish food. Also welcome are the American twists on Irish foods and vice versa. I spent hours perusing these delicious recipes, deciding which ones to try first. From classic colcannon and soda bread to Irish cheese tamales, Imen McDonnell offers up unforgettable foods that I can't wait to share with my children and friends.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    I love the photography and am excited about trying some of the recipes. Claire's Frangipane, Smoky {sic} and Salty Buttermilk Vanilla Fudge, Irish Pancakes, Cider Gravy, Bread, Cheese and Chive Pudding, Bramble Pie, Wild Hazelnut and Vanilla Slice, and more. Was surprised and pleased that it was more than Denis Leary described; mostly potato based and can be slurped through a straw! Must read! I love the photography and am excited about trying some of the recipes. Claire's Frangipane, Smoky {sic} and Salty Buttermilk Vanilla Fudge, Irish Pancakes, Cider Gravy, Bread, Cheese and Chive Pudding, Bramble Pie, Wild Hazelnut and Vanilla Slice, and more. Was surprised and pleased that it was more than Denis Leary described; mostly potato based and can be slurped through a straw! Must read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    I love Imen's writing, the photos are gorgeous, the recipes are delicious, and overall, she makes me wish I lived on a dairy farm in Ireland. Having read the Farmette blog for years, I've been waiting a long time for this cookbook, and it didn't disappoint. I love Imen's writing, the photos are gorgeous, the recipes are delicious, and overall, she makes me wish I lived on a dairy farm in Ireland. Having read the Farmette blog for years, I've been waiting a long time for this cookbook, and it didn't disappoint.

  29. 5 out of 5

    KC

    A beautifully laid out cookbook and some yummy recipes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    great irish cookbook - really brings the farm to the kitchen

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