Tis true. I am writing a book! Umm. Rewind and playback: “Imen, you are writing a book.” Sorry, but I have to do that at least once a day for it to really sink in. At least that was formerly true until my lovely and amazing editor, Rochelle Bourgault, assigned my first deadline last week.


I guess we are all aware that I have been on one helluva(n?) epic journey, both culturally and gastronomically since moving to Ireland. However, I have only been able to reveal small snippets via this blog, insta-love, FB, and the twittaverse.

Now, I get to share, no-holds-barred, all the nitty-gritty, slurrifically soaked bits about life on this Irish farm and the pantry of pretty remarkable food that goes along with it. Perhaps my beginner’s step-by-step guide to milking your first cow? How-to pluck-n-process a chook? Dressing tripe 101? Or, new recipes like Farm Fresh Buttermilk Beignets, Lobsta Blaas and Peggy’s Potato Stuffing? There is so much to share, and I am thrilled and honoured to do so.

With the generous assistance of my patience-of-a-saint literary agent, Sharon Bowers, my book will be published in the USA and Ireland/UK by ROOST in autumn 2015, is provisionally titled FARMETTE: Adventures and Recipes From Life on an Irish Farm, and will be an illustrated cookbook/food memoir chock full of modern recipes, stories, and vibrant imagery from our kitchen and farm.


Since leaving urban America for my Irish farm(er), I have tackled the task of building a foundation of kitchen skills and time-honoured cookery traditions, gaining wisdom from my dear mother-in-law, and other amazing connoisseurs of cooking both in Ireland and abroad.  Building that base, has been for me, an absolute essential requirement of my lifestyle change. I have become a home cook and baker in my own right, first by necessity, and now as one of my life’s greatest (and most creative) passions.

If I do it right, Farmette will become an absolute devilishly delicious + stunning diary of my expat journey into Irish country cooking, following my five-year culinary home/farm schooling—or as I like to think of it, a charming confusion of cake and cream and all things in between.  

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to visit here and hold my hand on this journey. I only began blogging to record the crazy happenings of my new life to share with friends and family overseas. Over time, this journal has healed homesickness and forged some fantastic new friendships. And now, it will create a book. (rewind and playback) I am astonished and so very grateful.

But hey, it’s not all about me! I don’t know about you, but I was taught that it is not courteous to applaud when others are celebrating your achievements. So, in keeping with that mantra, I would like to share a extraordinary new book authored by a very dear friend. The Irish Beef Book by 5th generation master butcher, Pat Whelan (with Katy McGuinness) is the consummate guide to Irish beef (and beef in general!) As the doyenne of Irish cookery, Darina Allen says, “This book is filled with recipes that use every scrap of meat from nose to tail, and provide a noble end for the animals Pat rears and butchers.” I am giving away one copy to one lucky reader. If you want to be in with the draw, please leave a reply below telling me your favourite cut of beef. Will announce/ship on my next post!


Now, a toast to new books, good friends, and plenty of plum pudding…..cheers!


Wild Sloe Gin Rickey

Since moving to the farm, we have made a ritual of searching for sloes in our hedgerows each autumn. They are usually put to use in a gin or vodka infusion. But, I have also made sloe jelly, which is a lovely compliment to game dishes as well. The Gin Rickey is a classic American cocktail, and since citrus pairs so well with the sweet, tangy sloe, why not call it a Sloe Gin Rickey? Slurrrp. 

Makes One Serving.

1.5 oz Wild Sloe Gin (here is link to my somewhat science experimental-esque step-by-step recipe for lavender + sloe gin)

1 squeeze of  1/2 lime

carbonated water (or tonic), depending on strength/taste preferred


Pour juice of lime and gin into a highball glass over ice cubes. Fill with carbonated water and stir. Add the wedge of lime and serve. You can also shake gin and lime juice and pour over cubes in a highball or lowball glass.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos & Styling by Imen McDonnell 2013. 

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137 Responses to “Holy Sloes. I am Writing a Book.”

  1. Paula Lydon says:

    Really looking forward to your book Imen. Have been following your farm adventures from the beginning in your blog and in the IFJ. Favourite beef cut is brisket. Hard to beat my mom’s boiled brisket -lovely for dinner but even nicer cold with mustard & soda bread. I loved Sauerbraten when I lived in Germany. Great for the more inexpensive cuts of meat. My not so favourite dish from Germany was Tripe Soup!! Looking forward to reading Pat’s book -it’s on my Christmas request List..but would be great to win it so I could add something else on instead. You can never have enough food literature on the shelves !!

  2. I am so excited for you, it will be amazing I have no doubt. I want to read it now!

  3. Brenda says:

    I love a perfectly prepared Filet Mignon…

  4. Tesei says:

    Great news!!! Congratsulations! It’s going to be a great success, no doubt. Keep us updated, please, can’t wait to see the book!

  5. Christy Kendall says:

    A million congratulations. I can’t wait to read it. I’m sure your words will warm my heart, as well as my stomach.

  6. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you. To think you used to grace my color suite. And thanks for the Ricky recipe. Perfect!

  7. Eva says:

    Awesome! I can’t wait to read it. What is a chook? {{hugs}}

  8. Emily Grace says:

    Excellent! I can’t wait to read and see all your photos! Much congrats!

  9. Kimberley says:

    Huzzah! I love those ladies at Roost. I hope your book-making journey is a rewarding one, unforeseen challenges notwithstanding. 🙂

  10. Alicia says:

    Congratulations and what fun at the same time. I look forward to your book being published. As for my favourite cut? Well, that would the slow roast cuts for stews and something as delicious as Beef bourguignon

  11. Lorna says:

    Looking forward to it and I hope you enjoy every minute of the process 🙂

  12. Félicitations Imen! I am looking forward to seeing the cookbook when it is released in 2015, I have no doubt it will be a beautiful success!

  13. Kat Laing says:

    Fantastic news Imen. Can’t wait to see the finished book. My favourite cut is bavette. Have a lovely weekend.

  14. Carolanne says:

    Woohoo!! So over the moon for you Imen! Have loved your blog since I started following and I just know your book is going to be stunning!!

    My favourite cut(s) of meat would have to be rib eye, the perfect indulgence but really it’s Brisket for the win!!

    • imen says:

      Thank you! Will be in touch if you are going to be around in May/June 2014. I love a rib eye as well. x

  15. Ailbhe says:

    Congratulations, had to happen! Looking forward to reading it.
    : )

    Beef rib trims, love ’em.

  16. Caitriona says:

    Delighted for you Imen. Congratulations. I can’t wait to read it!

  17. Joan says:

    I love the tough cuts of meat that can be stewed for hours and become part of a wonderful hearty meal. I imagine there is much to learn from The Irish Beef Book and even more from your upcoming work. I look forward to it.

  18. This is exciting news, Imen! Every woman in the world dreams of being swept away to a land of enchantment. In lieu of our own adventure, we’ll just have to steep ourselves in yours. My favorite piece of beef is a tender filet mignon. And there are many more than I enjoy eating, so I look forward to trying your recipes for beef! Blessings on your writing~

  19. Krissi Franson says:

    Congrats m’dear!
    I’m excited for your adventure into the world of publishing!
    How neat to have your adventure in country life chronicled into a hard cover book for all to see and enjoy!
    I love books! The binding, paper and cover. Just being able to look at my ikea bookshelves filled with treasured authors thrills me! I can’t wait to purchase your book to peruse your thoughts and ideas about food and life. I already love your farmette reports!
    Hmmn, my favorite cut, I have to say Prime Rib! When I was pregnant with my daughter Elena my only true craving was for beef, I would say ‘I’m building a human, I NEED protein !
    Anyhoo, take care.

    p.s. I’ll have to let aunt Helen know about your upcoming book!

    • imen says:

      Hi Krissi, thank you so much. I love the idea of “farmette reports” brilliant! I adore good ole American style prime rib with au jus and loads of horseradish. xx

  20. Angela says:

    Looks like a wonderful book! I can’t wait to read it – your brown bread recipe is deadly (better than my mum used to make!). My favorite cut of beef is beef tenderloin.

  21. Lizzy says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to the book, I know it will be a thing of real beauty.
    As for the important business of beef, my favourite cut is porterhouse. It is always a special treat to share a perfectly cooked porterhouse with all the trimmings with a loved one. Ideal on a wintery Sunday evening.
    Best of luck with your first deadline.
    Go léir is fearr.

  22. heidi leon says:

    Congrats Imen, I am so happy for you. I know Farmette, the book will be not just a beautiful one but a culinary jewel sprinkled with your fantastic writing and life style. I will patiently wait for that book to be published so I can get my hands on it, in the meantime let´s (virtually) toast with those swanky cocktails you made for us.

  23. Diane says:

    congrats Imen, so excited for you…films, books what’s next….

  24. Vicky says:

    Congrats Imen, I can’t wait for your new book. If it’s anything as beautiful and wonderful as your blog, it will be an instant bestseller. Good look with the book writing journey.

    • imen says:

      Awww Vicky, thank you SO much! I must check into your blog and see how you are getting on stateside! Have you had Rachel’s Ginger Beer in Seattle? I looks so wonderful! Hope all is well. xx

  25. Carolyn says:

    Congrats Imen! So exciting!! Best of luck with your new project 🙂

  26. Congratulations – I can’t wait to read it! Please put Chicago on your book tour!

  27. Brendan says:


    A book that I truly am excited to read when published, congratulations, as for my fav cut of bovine.. tongue. My grandmother had a wonderful tongue press that fascinated me as a kid, and I think the whole theatrics of cooking the tongue made the contents of the press appeal even more to me. I recon i was pre school when I tried it first, and it is one of my most treasure food memories, and remains a favourite cut of mine to this day.

    • imen says:

      Thank you Brendan! Wow, a tongue press. I must see one of these…I am intrigued! Have put your name in the draw!

  28. I’m SO looking forward to reading all about the “slurrifically soaked bits” – brilliant news, Imen. I’m thrilled for you. And us readers. x

    • imen says:

      Thanks Caroline, sometimes you just need to add new words to the lexicon! Appreciate your support xx

  29. Caroline@Bibliocook says:

    Looking forward SO much to reading all about the “slurrifically soaked bits” – congratulations Imen! x

  30. Helen Meade says:

    As an avid fan of your blog and Country Living column I’m delighted to hear you are writing a book Imen- congratulations! The only thing is that it’s a looong wait till autumn 2015…
    In the meantime I have been coveting the wonderful James Whelan’s beef book from afar, I would seriously love to win it. My favourite cut of beef is rib roast from one of my dad’s bullocks cooked for Sunday dinner by my mother- heaven!

  31. Congratulations Imen! Really looking forward to reading your stories and seeing your beautiful photos in print.
    As for my favourite cut of beef! I love slow braises like shin and oxtail, but my fav has to be a juicy rib steak on the bone!

  32. Anne Mc Donagh says:

    Many congrats on the book contract. I’m already looking forward to reading it!
    As for cuts of meat, a tender filet mignon with lashings of Foie Gras is always welcome (big glass of Cahors Black to keep it company), however my Dad’s recipe for Spare Ribs (on the grill or broiled) is lickity delicious and even knocks out the fancy tournedos. Homemade, lip-smacking good barbeque sauce. Food tastes better when you eat it with your hands. I wonder why?

  33. Adrienne says:

    Huge congratulations Imen! Wishing you success for your book! x

  34. Lendie says:

    I’ve only recently discovered your marvelous blog. Always beautifully written with photos that are oh-so-lovely. Reading that you are writing a book that chronicles your adventures both culturally and gastronomically brings as much excitement to me as reading Ruth Reichl’s, Tender at the Bone or David Lebovitz’s, The Sweet Life In Paris. Two books I could read over and over again. I’ve no doubt that yours will be joining the likes of them as one of my all time favorite reads. All the best to you in your newest endeavor.
    Warmest regards,

  35. Gitte says:

    I’m totally and utterly thrilled for you and can’t wait to buy and read a copy of your book. Best of bestest of luck with it – you go girl 😉 XXX

    • imen says:

      Gitte, you are so kind to take the time to leave a comment here my dear! Thank you! See you soon. xx

  36. Oh goodness, cannot wait for this book! Congrats lady! xo

  37. Joy says:

    Well, it’s about time! I cannot wait to read your creation. I’ve no doubt it will be fabulous. Xoxoxo

    • imen says:

      Ahhh Joy, thank you! We need to celebrate with one of those fancy cocktails when I am back in the Minny next! x

  38. Conor Bofin says:

    Hi Imen,
    You can put me down for a copy. Great stuff indeed.

  39. Cara O'Sullivan says:

    I am delighted to hear this! I’m married to an IRishman, and we live in Utah. I think he’ll enjoy having meals made from your book. I enjoy reading about Irish life as well.

  40. Mona Wise says:

    Can’t wait to read it Imen … and I am sure, true to your style and flair, it will be a thing of beauty. Well done. Hard work pays off everytime xx

  41. Mark Grehan says:

    This is brilliant news , and with such an inspirational
    Blog and journey into your kitchen farm life I can’t wait for
    The book congrats xx

  42. Terri says:

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to get a copy of your book! I am so enjoying your blog and facebook postings. Thank you! Terri

  43. s says:

    Dear Imen, I am so, so happy for you. This will be an utterly beautiful book. x s

  44. Evin says:


  45. Julia Dunin says:

    Great news Imen, and good luck! I am looking forward to put my hands on in!

  46. Tim says:

    Alright!! I”m there… I’ll be getting my copy! Good for you! Actually, good for us, cuz it’ll be fabu!!!

  47. Niamh says:

    Such wonderful news – congrats. Looking forward to seeing Pat’s book soon. I love sloes and slow gin. Unfortunately I had no time to gather some on recent trips home. Next year!

  48. GastroGays says:

    Already know this is going to be a fantastic and beautiful read! A long time coming and very deserved 🙂

  49. molly yeh says:

    omgomgomg i am doing a happy dance!!! this is so so sooo great. congratulations, missy!!! can i pre-order it yet 😛 ?

  50. Imen!
    Congratulations. I’m a huge Rochelle and Roost fan. I hope this means you’ll have lovely trips to Boston – it’s cold, but we have fun. 🙂
    Congrats again!

    • imen says:

      Ooooh, I love that Maggie!!!! Rochelle is incredible…so kindred! I hope I have some trips to Boston too! Would love to meet you, especially now that we have 2 mutual acquaintances! Thanks a mill! xx

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