For my July pen pal adventure I got a parcel from Lucia from Lulabella’s Kitchen.
I was away at my cousins wedding when it arrived, but I knew the postman had been because I got a message from my housemate frantically cleaning oil from everything. It appeared the sorting office had been a bit too keen to hurl my parcel to London and in so doing a jar of olives in olive oil had leaked.
This was by no means a disaster (although I think it’s my turn to buy the kitchen paper this week) and it meant that I could legitimately eat ALL of the olives straight away. I ate half of them whilst finishing some of the illustrations for my book (shameless plug!) and the rest went into a tapenade which I served with tomatoes and courgette ribbons.
After the delicious olives I went straight for the strawberry chocolate. I did this because I had planned to get into shape and start eating much healthier from the following day (recipe testing has basically gone straight to my hips!) and thought it best to eat it all in one go so that I wouldn’t be tempted by it during the week. This is possibly the silliest logic ever. Done now. Anyway, it was thoroughly enjoyed whilst watching The Sweetest Thing – hmm eating chocolate and watching Cameron Diaz films, turns out I’m still 15!
The rest of the parcel contained some whole grain crispbread things which are amazing, a bottle of Polish soup seasoning which I can’t wait to try and some Lebanese sweets. She also included chilli salsa, chilli shot, coffee and to get me drinking milk; some milkshake haribo which I thought was hilarious!
What a smashing parcel with ace illustrations. Oh AND she also does private catering, clearly a sister-from-another-mister!
Thanks Lucia you’re a star!
If you want to see what I sent out for July just head over here
And if you would also like to be a foodie penpal then what the hell are you waiting for:
Eek, bit late with this one, sorry dudes! Firstly a big thank you to Georgina from www.whatpegmade.blogspot.co.uk for the really lovely foodie penpal parcel this month including super cute handmade card.
The tea shelf is now very happy with its new additions and I made swift work of the nãkd bars. They’re pretty low guilt as they’re mostly made of squished up nuts and dates so deffo need to have a go at making cereal bars this way.
I umm-ed and ahh-ed about what to do with the chocolate because it seemed too exciting to just munch as is…but didn’t want to go too elaborate either because I’d hate to detract from the geranium.
So, after much deliberation here is a very, very simple recipe for chocolate florentines. These fancy chocolate buttons are possibly the easiest chocolates to make and look lovely in a box of handmade truffles or as a super gift to take to a last minute dinner party.
100g of chocolate (I used Montezuma’s Dark Chocolate with Orange & Geranium, but any chocolate you like including white chocolate would be fine)
Handful of mixed nuts, seeds, edible flowers and dried fruits
1. Gently melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
2. Lay a large piece of tin foil flat on a work surface or large chopping board, preferably in a cool place.
3. Carefully drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate onto the foil and spread out so they are just slightly bigger than a £2 coin.
4. Decorate each one with a few nuts, dried fruit etc. It looks really smart if they all look the same.
5. Leave to set hard somewhere cool and serve. They’re really nice with coffee or as and edible decoration to a simple dessert.
If you would also like to be a foodie penpal then what the hell are you waiting for:
My latest foodie adventure has begun by signing up to be a foodie penpal via Rock Salt (who got the set up from The Lean Green Bean)…and it’s bloody brilliant! Basically, you’re added to a database of foodies. Each month the coordinator picks someone from the database to send you a parcel of interesting foodie goodies and at the same time you’re chosen to send a parcel to someone else. Then you get in touch (to say thanks or check it all arrived ok) and then blog about what you got. Easy.
A couple of weeks ago my first parcel arrived, it was like an early birthday present, with a card and everything! The lovely Teresa had neatly packed a wonderful mix of goodies and cooking ingredients and tucked into the card was one of her favourite recipes for me to try.
I made very short work of the nãkd. snack bars, and coconut macaroon, but I did then share the bombay mix with Richard so I’m not a total meanie.
The maize meal (fine polenta) was my favourite ingredient in the parcel because I’ve hardly ever used it but kept meaning to.
I was surprised how easy it is to make soft polenta and I followed this recipe which turned out great. I had planned to put any leftovers into an oven proof dish so they could set, allowing me to slice it and make polenta chips…but there were no leftovers 🙂
To go with the polenta I just grilled a few tomatoes, then at the end I threw in a few olives and a tablespoon of sundried tomato pesto, then returned to the grill just to warm everything briefly. Serve the tomato and olive mix over the polenta with some fresh basil and black pepper.
The rest of the maize meal was earmarked for Teresa’s recipe suggestion – Glamorous Raspberry and Polenta Cake by Jane Hornby.
This is a great recipe to make all year round because it makes smashing use of frozen raspberries.
I can highly recommend the foodie penpal scheme as it’s as much fun packing up a parcel as it is receiving one – do it!