Foodie penpals – October 2013

20131029-165540.jpgFoodie penpals seems to come around so quickly each month, and it’s such a pleasure to put a parcel together for others, and to receive a parcel which someone else has caringly shopped for and packed. It’s even more of a pleasure when you get to ‘meet’ really enthusiastic penpals, especially as that enthusiasm matches my own.

Kate, who was matched up to send me a parcel this month, was definitely Ms Enthusiastic, and I knew I was going to be in for a treat with her parcel. She described herself as loving my spotty Emma Bridgewater plates (well, of course!), avoiding supermarkets in favour of shopping locally, and enjoying baking. She kept me informed about when the parcel was on it’s way to me, and I let her know as soon as it arrived (I was beside myself with excitement, as I just knew I it was going to be a good pack of goodies).

Well, what can I say? Kate’s parcel was fabulous. I received:

  • Homemade white wine (yes, homemade!)
  • Corn on the cob popcorn
  • Walnut crunch biscuits
  • Halloween shape pasta
  • Homemade Christmas chutney
  • Pimenton from Spain
  • Halloween sweeties

Kate also sent me a recipe for Nigella’s Christmas ham which includes pimenton in the ingredients, which of course means I have to make it this Christmas (so that I can eat it with her Christmas chutney, which should have matured by then).

The halloween sweeties didn’t last that long – in fact the chocolate crunch spider was instantly munched, and I am eating my Cadbury’s scream egg as I write this post.

Kate had suggested that the walnut crunch biscuits would be perfect with a cup of tea … so I obediently put the kettle on to boil so that I could take her advice, but then ended up eating three of them while I waited for the kettle to boil – whoops. They really were very moreish. I am sure they would be lovely with tea, if you can wait long enough for the kettle to boil before you try them!

20131029-165509.jpgThe best treat though was the homemade wine. I have never made my own booze but have always fancied it, and so I admire anyone who has the time and patience to make it themselves. Kate had recommended that the wine would be best served very chilled, so I confess Andrew and I weren’t expecting much from it. However, I wanted to relax with a glass in front of the tv while we enjoyed the first day of our annual leave, and was Kate was kind enough to send it I was keen to give it a try. We opened it up the other night and it was really went down very well. I couldn’t manage the popcorn with it as we’d had a big dinner, so I have saved that for another occasion – I can’t wait to try it … maybe with a bit of pimenton and salt for seasoning.

The main thing I worry about with foodie penpals is disappointing my penpals with the parcel I send. What I want most from my own penpals are foodie items which mean something to them – either because it’s locally produced, or their own recipe, or just something they especially like, and Kate’s lovely parcel far exceeded that brief. Even better if it’s something which I can’t buy in North London, or I have never heard of it. But what do I send my penpal which is locally sourced? I have racked my brains to think of a ‘London’ themed parcel which is within budget and doesn’t weigh a ton, and I can’t think of anything to send. Instead what I have in London is access to a huge range of products from different parts of the world, so I try to theme my package each month based on a cuisine from a particular country.

20131029-165645.jpgSo for Jennie this month, I put together a French style parcel. I’d recently been to Paris with work and had picked up a few goodies, and I also bought a couple of my favourite French treats for her to buy. I sent her:

  • A packet of palmiers
  • Lu petit ecoles biscuits
  • Longues du chat biscuits
  • Coarse French seasalt
  • My favourite French chocolate
  • French nougat
  • Buckwheat pancakes
  • Emmental cheese
  • Caramel tarts

Jennie emailed me to thank me for my parcel and said she had already sampled the biscuits (a girl after my own heart) and had cancelled her planned dinner of fajitas to make ham and cheese crepes instead. Her dog Moo had forgiven me for the cat card enclosed in the parcel because she had been allowed some of the biscuits!

So another successful month for foodie penpals, and I am looking forward to November’s surprises. If you want to find out more about the fabulous foodie penpals then visit This is rock salt.

2 Replies to “Foodie penpals – October 2013”

  1. Roll on Christmas!

  2. Jennie sounds super talented in the Homemade department. I am very intrigued by the homemade wine and chutney. Good stuff!

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