Foodie penpals – May 2014

Zoe's parcel for meWhoops –  I am late again with my Foodie Penpal post. Last month I blamed the kitchen refurbishment, this month I blame the bathroom refurbishment! Next month I promise I’ll be sharing my post in a timely fashion! It’s not that the bathroom refurbishment is as disruptive as the kitchen one: but it is dirtier. The old bathroom has been destroyed – pared back to a shell of its former self – and there is dust EVERYWHERE. Even poor Alfie the cat, who used to be white, is now a sort of dirty grey. So consequently we are trying to spend as much time as possible outside of our house of dust, including daily trips to the gym to use the showers (my plan to do a class each day before showering has failed spectacularly … quelle surprise).

So anyway, excuses over. For my Foodie Penpals treat this month, I received a lovely box from Zoe in West Sussex. She sent me an interesting mix of goodies which I am really looking forward to using. I received:

  • Bulgar wheat – one of my favourites as it is healthy, filling and nutritious, and bulks out salads and stews beautifully.
  • Smoked paprika – perfect to use to spice up some ham, cheese and onion scones which I made at the end of last week.
  • Harissa – I am really pleased with this because I have often wanted to try harissa but never have – now I have the perfect excuse.
  • Colourful cake cases and white pearl decorations – Zoe is a keen baker, like I am, and these make a welcome addition to my baking cupboard.
  • Season and shake lemon and dill salmon – a seasoning mix which you cook salmon in. I usually just like my salmon to be cooked plainly, but I have heard good things about the chicken seasoning so I’ll give this a go.
  • Wispa hot chocolate – “why not?” said Zoe. Indeed!
  • Yoghurt fruit flakes – a delicious healthy snack which Andrew stole so I didn’t get the chance to try them, but apparently they are lovely!

Thanks to Zoe for some great treats. I was also paired up with Kelly who, excitingly, lives on a narrowboat. She gave me a great overview of her likes and dislikes and was so detailed that I actually got a bit stuck about what to get her, as I wanted to buy her something that she would like, but would also be a surprise.

Then I happened across a fabulous Asian foodstore in Wood Green and ended up nearly buying one of everything – I was so excited to find such exotic ingredients so local to me. I used Kelly as an excuse to buy whatever I wanted, and sent some of it to her and kept some goodies for myself! I bought her:

  • Kelly's parcelTapioca pearls – I was intrigued by these as they were too big to be the ‘frog spawn’ desserts of school dinner days … these ones look like the ones which are used to make bubble tea, so as Kelly is quite adventurous I thought she would enjoy finding uses for them
  • Wasabi peas – I love snacking on these.
  • Potato flour – Kelly said that her girlfriend was a baker so I thought they might enjoy making cakes with this unusual flour, which apparently makes extremely light sponges.
  • Sambal – a Burmese condiment as Kelly said she liked spicy food.
  • Fortune cookies – hopefully they told her a great fortune!
  • Gunpowder tea – because I liked the name!
  • PIckled mango – this reminded me of what we ate quite often in Sri Lanka – hopefully this was nice.
  • Seasoning packets – for pad thai and nasi goreng.

If you would like to take part in Foodie Penpals, take a look at Carol-Anne at This is Rock Salt for more information.

The scones, using Zoe’s paprika:

Scones with paprika

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