Oct 022012

The Foodie Penpals parcel Kim sent to me

This is my third Foodie Penpals parcel. This month I was matched with Kim (or Mub) who an ex-pat American from the Netherlands. In Kim’s note she said loved Mexican food. Like me here in North Wales, Kim finds getting all the ingredients she needs challenging sometimes. So she stashes Mexican stuff in her suitcase when she returns from the US. I was lucky that she has shared some of her precious stash with me.

She sent me a very helpful handwritten note with recipes and tips how to use the goodies she sent me.

Kim sent me two types of cornmeal to make tortillas: some white cornmeal and some blue. After some quick Google research, I established the blue cornmeal is from Blue Corn (aka Hopi Maize) and should have a sweeter & nuttier taste than the white. It’s also a more complete protein. I think some comparative trials are in order here.

Also included by Kim were some dried jalapeno peppers “to give things a bit of a kick” and some of Kim’s own mix of taco seasoning. A meal is forming itself in my mind to use these ingredients. The aroma of both is very good indeed.

Kim included a diddy tin of lovely green chillies which she recommends for chicken enchiladas.

Lastly, Kim included a really neat touch of Dutch: some spice mix for making celebration Dutch biscuits called ‘Speculaas’ (I had to look that up too). The seasoning is a mixture of cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, clove, ginger, cardamom & orange peel: some of my most favourite warm flavours & aromas. Kim suggested it maybe fun if I incorporated the spice in some of my bread making adventures. Good call.

Kim said she had to think out of the box on this. Well she succeeded and I have interesting things to play with, so I’m a very happy boy. Thanks so much Kim.

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 16:57
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
Jul 312012

My Foodie Parcel from Anna

This is my first Foodie Penpal reveal. I joined the scheme after some of my twitter followers had started. It’s a lovely idea to allow people to spread foodie delights around to new friends and contacts.

This month, Anna from Nottinghamshire sent me a parcel and I sent one to Caitlin in Cornwall.

Anna was a good find for me as she is also a forager who makes the best of the free ingredients around her. In her note to me she said:

We love foraging and, with my assistants’ help, I make a lot of jams & preserves.

So the two jars you can see are of dandelion marmalade and blackberry & apple jelly. I am delighted with both and especially the dandelion marmalade. I had seen a number of people on Twitter had made it this year and never got round to make it myself. It’s a rich, fruity conserve, with marmalade bite and smooth sweetness. It went really well on some fresh wholemeal & spelt bread I made.

Wholemeal & wholemeal spelt yeasted loaves

The blackberry & apple has a lovely hedgerow flavour and colour with a delightful soft set. We’ve yet to try the Stilton cheese. I’ve just made some digestive biscuits which will go really well with it. We’re looking forward to that very much.

We were also fortunate that Anna loves smoked fish & charcuterie. Anna also has a smokehouse local to her. So we received some gorgeous locally made preserved goods.

The fennel sausage smells as good as it looks and was to die for in flavour. A treat indeed.

Also, Anna sent us some gorgeous smoked salmon pâté. I’m afraid it didn’t last for my collected picture of the parcel goodies, as we ate it. It was only once we were tucking in that I remembered to photograph it. So apologies for the dodgy iPhone picture of my plate.

Anna's smoked salmon pate on sourdough

All-in-all, I’m very glad I signed up for Foodie Penpals. I had a lot of fun putting together the parcel for my penpal. The goodies I received from Anna were a delight and gave me some tastes that I would not have otherwise had.

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 08:44
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