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Well, Hello! Plus Some Pictures from Mardi Gras in Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Well, hello there! Apologies for the radio silence, I’ve had a pretty intense week. I started with a quick trip to Universal Orlando in my new guise as food writer for iVillage, to cover Mardi Gras and to cook Gumbo (fun & yum). I then bounced back to London, landed with a thud, and with very little sleep launched myself into the final phases of intense recipe testing, required to conclude my book. I can’t quite believe that I submit it in two weeks. It’s all hugely exciting and it is very, very busy.

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Florida was great fun. I had no idea that I was quite the adrenaline junkie that I turned out to be. Not expecting to enjoy the rides at Universal at all, I found myself obsessed with them. Especially Harry Potter, which was a ball of nerve wracking, tumbling fun and the best stress release that I have ever experienced.

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

I tried butterbeer, very sweet butterscotch rich soda, kids will love it. I ate lots of beignets (above, light fluffy icing sugar covered doughnuts), funnel cake (pic below), po boys (short for poor boy, usually battered shrimp or oysters in New Orleans style French bread). I have made them at home before and I love them, I will definitely share the recipe soon. I had biscuits for breakfast, Southern fluffy scones with gravy, which is a bechamel of sorts with chopped sausage in, and gumbo for dinner.

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Lots of fluffy buttermilk pancakes featured. Why we can’t we get buttermilk here as easily as in Ireland or the US, I just don’t know. Those tiny overpriced pots of industrial cultured buttermilk drive me nuts. Buffalo wings with blue cheese dip were everywhere, so I did indulge. Spicy and rich with a soothing pot of blue cheese dip, they demand to be recreated here too.

I had to try Pat O’Brien’s, an Irish pub from New Orleans that started out as a prohibition era speakeasy, famous for their hurricane parties and hurricane drinks. Typically Irish to poke fun at fate in such a manner. It is more commercial now with four locations, and shamrock heavy as most US Irish bars are, but it was fun. We had a few hurricane drinks and rolled home smiling.

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Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

For now some pics of the food and of Mardi Gras – it really was so much fun. The chef at Universal has kindly shared his authentic gumbo recipe with me, and has allowed me to reproduce it here too. I will be back with that tomorrow.

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal, Orlando

Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando runs until April 23rd with parades and live music at weekends.

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

11 Comments

  1. What calendar are they following to have Mardi Gras so early?
    Lovely pics anyway!

    Reply

    • :) They have a season of Mardi Gras, it’s running for weeks. Great fun even if the timing is off. Great bands playing too! The Beach Boys are playing soon.

      Reply

    • Hello there! You can get it at farmers markets etc. In Ireland you get it everywhere at a similar price to normal milk. I guess it just isn’t part of the cooking culture here.

      Reply

  2. ooh look I have a cooking tip to share! You can easily make a buttermilk substitute! Just add some vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk. Learned that when making cornbread a few weeks ago!

    Reply

  3. Congratulations on the gig at iVillage- they must be thrilled to have you on board. Looks like a fabulous trip- the beignets in particular. Gracious me. What fun.

    Reply

    • Awh, shucks! I must say that I am delighted at any rate :) It was a great trip. I would go back in a heartbeat!

      Reply

  4. Pingback: Just What the Doctor Ordered! A Recipe for Gumbo for Mardi Gras « eat like a girl

  5. Thank you for the Gumbo recipe. I’m absolutely loving Okra since I tried it a couple of weeks ago for my new ingredient challenge and have a hankering for some Gumbo!

    Great Mardi Gras pics too!

    Reply

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