Foodie penpals – August 2013

20130829-205348.jpgThis 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!

I received:

  • 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!

20130829-144816.jpgWhat 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.

20130829-202339.jpgWell, 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!

20130829-200558.jpgDenise’s courgette buns – makes 12

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.

20130829-202354.jpgThe 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!

7 Replies to “Foodie penpals – August 2013”

  1. Just out of complete curiosity, how did Denise pack the cheese? I have been wondering how you send stuff like that for a while. Great write up Tracey!

    1. Hey Steph – in fact, Denise just wrapped the cheese in bubble wrap but I think nothing special was required because the cheese was not a completely soft cheese. I imagine brie or camembert could turn to liquid in a warm post office, but this cheese retained it’s shape very well. I was always nervous of sending a cheese in case it spoiled in the post, but I remember you posted your lovely parcel to me on a 24 hour delivery so I am sure that would be fine for the recipient. I’ll visit your blog to read about your latest parcel as well. Take care!

      1. Thank you for letting me know. I’ll maybe venture into the world of slightly more unusual things on my next FPP (October now, I think).

  2. What a fun idea and a great treat to receive in the post!

    1. It’s brilliant – if you go to This is Rock Salt you can also join up – I thoroughly recommend it. My August parcel was my first cheese package, which was a great idea. I am sure you would like that 🙂

  3. Oh yum to everything!!! xx

    1. I know – lucky me 🙂

I love getting comments so please leave yours here