Aug 312012

My Foodie Penpals parcel for August 2012
This is my second Foodie Penpals parcel. This month I was matched with Alena from London who, as you can see, really did me proud.

What Alena sent me was as wonderful as it was unexpected. She sent me all I would need to make wonderful sushi and a fab miso soup. Even down to thinking to include a shushi rolling mat. How clever & thoughtful is that?

Alena sent me a beautiful sunflower card. In it she said:

This summer we are really enjoying Japanese food & I have decided to send you some ingredients for sushi & my favourite miso soup with enoki mushrooms.

As an ex-London resident, I really appreciate the marvels and choice you have there so you can  get ingredients from just about any part of the world. North Wales isn’t quite like that.

We’ve had the soup, which was delicious. As Debs has been working hard on a load of shifts, I’ve held off making the sushi – now she’s on holiday we can indulge at leisure. I’m really looking forward to the chance to practise a new technique.

What’s not shown is the cake Alena sent me. I’ll let Alena describe:

I have also baked an apple pie – this is our family recipe.

It was gorgeous. And the reason there’s no picture is because we consumed the cake (generous portions of the same) before I got the chance to take any pictures. My 17-year-old son declared it “Amazing!” and I agree heartily.

What’s more, Alena kept me fully up to date with progress of the parcel. She packed it beautifully and safely.

All-in-all, I was delighted with the parcel. Another victory for Foodie Penpals. Thanks so much Alena x

I recommend the scheme if you love food and would like to try new things. If you do, click the badge below to find out more…

 Posted by at 18:31
Aug 312012

My Seedy Packet from Lucy

Seedy Penpals is go

Our inaugural Seedy Penpals exchange appears to have been a great success. We had over 40 people join in and I’ve seen some truly great Seedy Packets. What’s more new friendships have been forged and a new online community is born. Very many thanks to all of you who contributed, helped and joined in.

There have been a few glitches and Mel & I are learning from the things that didn’t go quite right. I think the most difficulties arose from Penpals not communicating with each other, or from misinterpretations of communications. From my point of view, the best exchanges occured where Penpals emailed/tweeted well & often to keep each other up to date and clarify things. Hardly surprising from a ‘Penpals’ scheme you’d think…

So well done everybody, we’ll link to your blogs below and then link up monthly progress reports with forthcoming Seedy Cuttings.

My Seedy Packet

At the top of this post is a picture of my brilliant and thoughtful Seedy Packet from Lucy at Offally Good (worth a visit).

Lucy’s choice was prescient for a number of reasons.

Bee things

Lucy sent me some Bee things: some seeds for a bee friendly garden, a booklet from Neal’s Yard about the Save the Bee campaign and a test pot of gorgeous Neal’s Yard honey hand cream. Now this is prescient because we’re developing a 250 square metre part of our land to host some bees in Top Bar Hives. I’ll blog more about this in the coming weeks. What’s more, we’d made some of our own Calendula Salve. The little honey hand cream has inspired us to have a go at making our own and some honey lip balm too. More of this later…

Healing Marigolds

It’ll be (no puns here – Ed) obvious then, that the marigold seeds from Lucy’s own garden would be very welcome. We’ll grow these next year and make some more balm from them: OffallyGood Balm anyone?

Mum’s seeds to cherish

We certainly think that the seeds saved from penpals gardens are the most touching to receive. It’s like getting a piece of someone’s life that they cherish & want others to share. So it was really touching for Lucy to have included some seeds from Lucy’s Mum’s garden in Lincolnshire. There are seeds for melon, squash & runner beans. We will look after them like our own and hopefully have seeds to pass on to others next year.


Lucy said that she’d not had a lot of luck growing kohlrabi even though she really likes it. Well we love it too: raw, cooked or fermented. And we’ve had success with purple varieties in the past, so some white kohlrabi will go down very well here.


Another great choice. We love them for their colour, the way they attract bees & other pollinating insects and because they are super edible. The flowers, leaves & seeds are all lovely & peppery. I’ve just made some nasturtium ‘capers’ too. So these new ones to us will give us some welcome variety and colour.

All-in-all it’s obvious we’re delighted with our Seedy Packet. Our heartfelt thanks to Lucy. I’ll keep you up to date with progress through Seedy Cuttings.

You can add a link to your Seedy Penpals blog posts using the form below. The form will be live from the 31st August 2012.

 Posted by at 08:44
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