November is the last foodie penpals before 2015, as we all take a break in December to focus on Christmas instead, so I was looking forward to my last parcel of the year, especially when I realised that my penpal – Anna – was from the Netherlands. It was her first time participating in foodie penpals, but she was very enthusiastic.
When Anna got in touch with me to ask me about my food preferences, I could not resist asking her for a package of Dutch apple pie I’d received from a previous foodie penpal. I have never tasted such a delicious apple pie crust (and as you’ll know from my previous post, I do like pies!), so I was desperate to have some more.
Anna not only sent me the delicious pie mix (and stroopwaffels which I strongly hinted about as well) but a wonderful selection of specialities from both the Netherlands and Dutch interpretations of food from Indonesia, a former colony of the Netherlands. Anna also added a note to every item of food so I’d know what it was, why she chose it, and how to prepare it.
I am always so pleasantly surprised about how thoughtful my penpals are, and Anna was no exception. As well as the apple pie mix and stroopwaffels, she also sent me:
- Some Indonesian “boemboes” pastes: one to make beef rendang, and one to make a bean curry.
- “Rysttafel” which means rice table: a kind of cassava cracker to serve with the curries. Anna recommends serving the curries with rice and the crackers for a real Dutch / Indonesian feast.
- A pork sausage to be boiled and served with kale mash (which Anna also kindly gave me a recipe for) – I can’t wait to try it as a delicious winter warmer.
- A “chocoladeletter” which means a chocolate letter: Anna explained that this is to celebrate Sinterklaas, which is celebrated on 5 December. It’s traditional to hide small treats in children’s shoes in the run up to 5 December and so I now have my own Christmas letter as a treat! And it’s a letter ‘T’, although I can’t share a photo until the 5th as I want to keep to the rules. It’s a big, thick, heavy, chocolate-y T too, so I am going to enjoy it!
- Sprinkles! I have loved the idea of sprinkles since they were joked about on an Austin Powers movie, and now I get to try them. In Dutch they are called “hagelslag” and Anna picked three flavours for me: pure chocolate (her favourite), milk chocolate and fruit ones – in both sprinkle and flake form. Anna gave me the important tip to remember to butter my bread before using them – otherwise I will have a messy breakfast. They will be a Christmas treat!
How fabulous is that? I am so delighted with my parcel, and even better it arrived the morning I came back from Mexico, feeling jetlagged and cold, so it really brightened up my day!
I was also paired with Kerry from Buckinghamshire, who very kindly agreed to wait until I returned from Mexico to receive her parcel, as I’d wanted to send her some treats from Mexico. I bought her:
- A selection of Mexican hot sauce made with Habanero chillis (the second hottest you can have!) for when she’s feeling brave (she did say she liked trying new ingredients!).
- Chichen-Itza pyramid shaped chocolates filled with tequila (not convinced how tasty these would be, but it had to be done!).
- Mayan honey, which the region is famed for.
- M&Ms and Pringles – as I explained to Kerry, the above items were all very expensive and took me over budget, so I bulked out the parcel with items from my (free) hotel minibar. They have Spanish writing on them, but sadly are not more exotic than that!
Kerry said she loved the parcel and had eaten the chocolates immediately, put honey on her toast that morning, and would soon be trying the selection of hot sauces.
If you’d like to take part in foodie penpals in 2015, take a look over at This is Rock Salt for more information.