I was super excited to receive my penpals this month as I was paired with two foreigners! Firstly I found out I would be sending to Elise-Renee in Norway, and I would be receiving from Mariska who is based in the Netherlands.
We all got in touch pretty much straight away, and I made a brilliant first impression to Elise by telling her all about my boyfriend’s recent trip to Copenhagen and how much he loves the city. She replied back that she also loves Copenhagen as it’s not so far on the ferry from Norway. Right, so Copenhagen’s not in Norway then? Doh. I explained that I am a little geographically challenged and apparently it hadn’t occurred to her that I genuinely believed Copenhagen was in Norway – she just assumed (kindly) that I had been complimenting the Nordics in general. No Elise, until relatively recently I thought the only beaches in the UK were on the south coast as they were the only ones I had seen (someone had to explain to me that as Britain is an island, the beaches go all the way around). Yes, I really am that stupid.
I double checked with Andrew that Amsterdam is indeed in the Netherlands before asking Mariska for a recipe for dutch apple pie if she had one, as that was one of my favourite things to eat in Amsterdam (with ‘slag’, which amusingly means cream, snigger). I said I’d basically eat anything except mushrooms and marzipan so I don’t think I gave Mariska too difficult a job to shop for me.
But what an amazing box I received from Mariska! Not only did I get a huge box of treats, but everything was numbered with a charming explanation about each goodie. So here is what I received:
- Dutch apple tart mix – YUMMY!!!! My hints worked.
- Kruidnoten spicy cookies
- Stroopwaffels cookies (well, half a pack, as Mariska confessed she couldn’t help eating some of them before she packed them, and I don’t blame her as they are gorgeous)
- Woorstenbroodjes sausage in bread from her region
- Erwtensoep which is a hearty split pea soup
- Dropjes liquorice sweets
- Orange teabags
Mariska also gave me a recipe for the Dutch apple pie which I have replicated below as it is absolutely identical to the one I ate in Amsterdam and is delicious!
The parcel actually arrived the day after I returned home from 3 days in Paris (for work, nothing exciting) and I had door lock problems which ended up with me having to climb through our lounge window (not pretty) to get into the house, and then wait a very long time for the locksmith to come and let me back out. Luckily that other half pack of stroopwafels was calling me from my box of treats and I inhaled them in about 3 seconds – Mariska, I will never be able to thank you enough for saving my blood sugar levels when I was locked in my house!
I haven’t had the opportunity to sample all the other Dutch goodies yet, despite Andrew BEGGING me to bake the sausages in bread, but I’ll be working my way through them with pleasure, especially as the weather has taken a turn for the worse and I need hearty soups and hot tea. The salty liquorice is tasty even if a bit strange, and the kruidnoten are being saved until 5 December as Mariska explained that this is the traditional time that they are eaten in the Netherlands … hope I can resist them for that long …
One pack of mix voor appeltart, 150g butter, 1 egg, 5-6 apples, 75g raisins, 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, soak the raisins in hot water and grease a springform tin. Make the pastry by mixing the packet mixture with the butter and 2/3 of the beaten egg until it forms a soft dough. Use 2/3 of the dough to line the base and sides of the tin and fill with the apple mixture (chop and core the apples, mix with the drained raisins and cinnamon). Then use the rest of the dough to make long strips to cover the tart in a criss-cross pattern. Brush the top of the pie with the last of the beaten egg and bake for 45-60 minutes. Serve with ice cream or slag (ha!).
Check out Mariska’s blog here.
Elise from Norway (not Denmark) told me that she wanted sweet treats and would enjoy homemade goodies as well, so I put together a parcel for her which would make her dentist weep. It included:
- Tunnocks teacakes
- Jaffa cakes
- Cadbury’s animals
- Cadbury’s fingers
- Green & Blacks milk chocolate
- Bognor rock
- Bognor nougat
- Jammy dodgers
- Shortbread from Sussex
- Homemade welsh cakes
I hope she loves it all and isn’t planning a diet anytime soon! Here’s Elise’s blog.
You can find out more about the fabulous Foodie Penpals here.