This month I was lucky enough to receive my Foodie Penpals parcel from Denise who lives up in Bakewell. Her description of her foodie lifestyle sounded pretty idyllic to me – shopping in farm shops, growing her own fruit and veg and making her own chutneys and jams. She was incredibly prompt in sending her parcel of goodies to me, which means I have had a few weeks to enjoy her treats!
- A package of homemade shortbread
- 2 courgette cakes
- Black pepper crackers from Chatsworth farm shop
- Monks Folly cheese
- Homemade spicy tomato chutney
- Homemade strawberry jam
- Some champagne truffels which are made locally to Denise and sold by Fortnum & Mason and Harrods!
What a lovely parcel, and what a treat to receive some homemade goodies as well. It’s a first for me, and definitely something I will try to do myself for others, as it’s lovely to receive something homemade.
I have to confess that I got stuck in to the shortbread and courgette cakes immediately. The shortbread was delicious and crumbly, and the courgette cakes were gorgeous and moist, with a really warming hit of mixed spice.
We had guests for afternoon tea a couple of weeks ago, and so I saved the cheese, crackers and chutney for that – and used the homemade jam to fill my mini Victoria sponges.
Well, we had a real treat – I had never tried the cheese before but it had a lovely mild flavour and a very buttery soft texture. That worked very well with the crisp savoury crackers (Andrew is a black pepper addict so he was quite in love with them) and Denise’s homemade chutney, which had just the right amount of spice for my palate.
The homemade jam was really delicious with a strong flavour of strawberries – Denise had kept the strawberries whole and when I checked with her afterwards, it turned out that she had grown them herself! Even more generous of her to share the jam then – I normally only manage to grow around 15 strawberries each year, and they don’t even make it as far as the kitchen before they fall – ahem – into my mouth.
Unfortunately Denise doesn’t have a blog which I can share a link to – she definitely should set one up to share her fabulous recipes. She did kindly share with me her recipe for courgette cakes, which I have replicated with her permission below. They are so easy to make and even easier to eat!
2 eggs, 100ml sunflower oil, 225g caster sugar, 150g grated courgettes, 75g wholemeal self raising flour, 75g self raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground mixed spice, a sprinkling of demerara sugar or flaked almonds
Whisk the eggs, oil, sugar and courgette together and then add the remaining ingredients to make a thick batter. Divide into 12 muffin cases and top with sugar or almonds. Bake at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack if you can avoid the temptation of eating them straight from the oven.
The person who I was to buy for this month was Helen from Shrewsbury, who also doesn’t have a blog I can share a link to. She was happy to have anything as long as it didn’t taste of banana or baked beans! As I had recently developed an obsession with the Asian supermarkets of Chinatown, I decided to buy her a selection of treats from there. I bought her:
- Jasmine tea
- Singapore mix cocktail
- Udon noodles
- Star anise
- Hoisin sauce
- Peanut brittle
- Hello panda chocolate biscuits
- One of my favourite chocolates (from Paris, not the Asian supermarket!) – a Suchard Rocher praline chocolate – yum!
I hope she enjoys it all!
You can find out more about the wonderful Foodie Penpals by visiting This is Rock Salt. Thanks to Carol Anne once again for organising!