February Foodie Penpals Linkup

Hi all!

It’s the time of month where we all share our Foodie Penpals posts with each other. Below is the link to our February Foodie Penpals linkup page. I can’t host it directly on my blog, as Lindsay used to, but this ought to do. If anyone has suggestions about how to make the linkup better (fitter, happier, more productive), please drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.

Please add your links as you wish!

Not sure what Foodie Penpals is? Let me tell you a little more about it…

  • Foodie Penpals is free to sign up for, and there’s a link a little further down so you can get started
  • Participants are matched to two people – one person to send to, one to receive from – on the 5th of the month
  • Penpals send thoughtful, food related parcels, on or before the 20th of the month. The parcels can include home baked treats, shop bought treats (especially local or unusual things), cake cases or decorations – use your imagination. The parcel must include something hand written – a note explaining the box’s contents, a recipe card, whatever you like. The price limit for the boxes is £10 – this is a limit, the point is not the cost, but the thought (no, really!)
  • Penpals open their boxes and rejoice!
  • At the end of the month, everyone blogs about their box, or writes a guest blog post if they are usually a blog reader and not writer. Everyone reads one another’s posts and rejoices some more.
  • You can take part for as long as you still want to – if you need a month off here and there, you can opt in and out as you like

Who’s taking part next month, you ask? Here’s a peek at the different countries we already have represented. Don’t see yours? You know what to do…

FPP March Chart

You can find out more and sign up using these links:

Sign up before March 4th, and you’ll get your first matches on March 5th!

The Very Hungry (Knitted) Caterpillar

Are you ready for the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen?





I told you! This is Little Miss A, and I made her that costume. ‘Costume’ may not be quite the right word, but ‘knitted sack to put a baby in’ is a bit long-winded.


2014-08-19 19.34.34


This is the finished outfit without a baby in it. I tried to make the edges curve in and out, but to be honest my system wasn’t quite spot on, so I won’t detail it. Still, you get the idea. And once you put a baby in it, it’s over-the-top cute.




Little Miss A is just the sweetest kid. She’s my wee pal. And mostly I just want to show you pictures of her BUT I will also talk about the knitting a bit. The body is all knitted in a garter stitch, and then finished by reducing four stitches on each row until there were only a handful left, then feeding the wool through the stitches, pulling taut, and knitting the sides together. In some ways, this is actually a really, really tall hat. Or a hat warmer. For The Cat in the Hat.

Speaking of hats, did you see the wee hat?




It’s a basic beanie, knitted in thick wool, but the details are what make it. And I made them up and didn’t take notes. Gak. The eyes are made of i-cords, knitted and then spiraled into circles. For the feelers and nose, I just knitted enough stitches so that they looked about right. For the feelers I increased for the last few rows, to shape them.


Alright – just one more.




Sigh. She’s the sweetest! And she finds her caterpillar suit increasingly hilarious. Whatta kid.

Veg and Feta Pasta

Everything about this pasta is great. It’s full of veg, knocks your socks off with lemony dressing, has little feta cheese treasures waiting to be found in among the folds of spaghetti… But you know what I don’t love about it?


The photographs.



Really though.


I just couldn’t get a good snap. The three I salvaged came from hours of Photoshopping and much gloominess of face.


I shouldn’t really blame the pasta, of course, given that I was the one wielding the camera. Let’s get back to the good parts.


It’s not a recipe, so much as a suggestion. I was introduced to it by a chum, when I was on a trip to Manchester, and I’ve made it a number of times since, though it’s never been the same twice. The whole point, for me, is to throw in whatever veg takes my fancy when I’m doing the shopping. I generally make it when I feel like I need a vitamin bomb, and try to add in at least five different veg (or fruit, if we’re being picky).





In this incarnation, there are red and yellow peppers, red onion, garlic, courgette, asparagus, tomatoes, black olives, pea shoots, basil and feta. Past incarnations have included fennel, spring onion, spinach and parsley.


Side note: I’m aware that feta is neither fruit nor vegetable.


That brings me on to another delightful feature of this difficult-to-name recipe: it’s in the middle of a great big identity crisis. It’s based around spaghetti, so that makes it Italian. Except it has feta and olives in it, so does that make it Greek? And with all that tomato and pepper action, could it be part Mexican? Add the fact that I always end up making it in a big batch, and using my wok to toss all the ingredients together, and perhaps there’s a hint of Asian cuisine in there too… It’s a mashup. A glorious mashup.


As mentioned, it’s not a recipe really. It’s more a case of stir-frying some veg of choice (Mediterranean, in my version, but go with what feels right), boiling some spaghetti, then combining them both. I always add an emulsion of olive oil and fresh lemon juice, plus a scattering of cubed feta. Just before serving, I toss in the fresh herbs, or other leafy additions, plus a generous serving of black pepper.


Second side note:  when I say ‘emulsion’, I mean I whisk together lemon juice and olive oil to make a slightly thickened and glossy-looking mix of the two. It takes a bit of elbow grease, and it only holds together for a short time, so you have to make it just before using.



Even snapping it off to one side didn’t help.


Veg and feta pasta finds itself on my dinner table so often because it’s so open to adjustment, plus it’s quick to make. If you’ve got your ass in gear, the veg preps and cooks in the time it takes the spaghetti to boil, a mere ten minutes. Once tossed together with the lemon and olive oil, I generally let it sit over a low heat for a couple of minutes, so everything can get really friendly before I DEVOUR IT.




Apparently excessive consumption can cause sudden use of caps lock.


It’s not going to stop me.

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