This month, my Foodie Penpal was Lin, from Lin’s Foods. We exchanged a couple of emails wherein I was very vague about what I’d like in a parcel, then Lin sent me this gloriously fragrant parcel full of hand made treats. You can’t see it, but the whole box was scented with rose petals, so as soon as I opened it I was treated to their wonderful, soothing fragrance. I love rose scented and rose flavoured things, rose tea is one of my favourites at the minute, but I’d never mentioned this to Lin. Quite a coincidence, and another piece of evidence to support the ‘Foodie Penpals have psychic powers’ theory.
She also included a really long handwritten letter, telling me all about the contents of the parcel, and a print out of a recipe for Spanish tortilla. This was because I’d told her I was starting to learn about tapas, such a thoughtful gesture. I envisage me, a bucket of sangria and a Spanish tortilla having a whale of a time in the not too distant future.
I was deliberately vague about what I’d like in my penpals parcel because one of the most interesting things about Foodie Penpals, to me, is seeing what your Penpal will choose for you. I like to see what things catch other people’s eye while they’re shopping, find out what their favourite things are and try local foods that I might not otherwise have heard of. In this case, Lin has a Passion for spices, and some serious skills in mixing them. She showcased this in these three pots:
From left to right, they are curry powder for meat, curry powder for fish and a Japanese seasoning, togarashi. All crafted and mixed by Lin herself, isn’t that awesome? If you’d like to see how she does it, you can find her page on Homemade Curry Powders here. I can’t adequately describe the smell of the curry powders to you, but I can say that they are head, shoulders, torso, legs, feet and six inch heels above any ready-mixed curry powder I’ve ever bought. They smell a little sweet, and fragrant, with a pleasant tingle at the end. This is just the smell, you understand, the taste is bound to blow me away. I already have a slightly unusual idea for their use in my head, as well as imagining making pots and pots of the most delicious curry anyone has ever tasted. Togarashi is something I usually have in the cupboard, but the pre-mixed stuff pales in comparison to the fresh and potent home made gear. Lin says she likes her togarashi to have tangible flakes of seaweed in it, and I can’t say I disagree. I’ve already used the togarashi – I’ll tell you more about that next week.
Next in the parcel in this adorable jar of lavender sugar – again, home infused, and the jar is just as welcome as the sugar. I know I should do the right thing, when it’s all finished, and send the jar on to another penpal… but I don’t know if I can bear to do it. It’s hard enough leaving it at home when I go to work, never mind actually giving it away.
The lavender sugar smells floral and mellow, and I’m thinking of pairing it with some white chocolate in a batch of cookies. I’ve baked with lavender a few times – lavender macarons and lavender icing were both well received so I look forward to trying something new.
Keeping with the sugary theme, Lin also included a little box of these wonderful sugar hearts. These were also handmade! I saw the technique for this on Pinterest recently and plan on trying some of my own, but now I have a very high standard to live up to. What’s more, Lin’s kids helped her to make these hearts, and also helped her to infuse the lavender sugar - what a talented family they must be.
The final addition to my parcel this month was these little decorative crackers. They are so pretty! I will try to start including them in my blog photos to fancy them up a bit. Who knows, perhaps now that I have them I’ll become a good photographer?
My other penpal this month, the one I sent a parcel to, is Monique at What I Am Up To. Monique lives in Germany, so it was great fun trying to think of interesting things to send her. Head over to her blog to see what I ended up putting in the parcel (there will be a recipe post about one of the items soon!).
If this has inspired you to join in with Foodie Penpals, we’d be delighted to have you! If you’re in the UK or Europe, you can find out more about it at the Foodie Penpals page here on Rock Salt. If you’re in the US or Canada, you can find out more at The Lean Green Bean, where you will also be able to read many other reveal posts from blogs in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada.
The basic premise of Foodie Penpals is that every month, you are assigned one person to send a thoughtful parcel to, and a different person will send to you. This way, you’re meeting two new foodie chums at once. You can specify any and all dietary requirements and preferences and these will be respected, so no worries about ending up with a box full of liquorice (or whatever your least favourite food is) or a big load of chocolate when you’re trying your best to eat healthily.
The group is free to join, and you can opt out again at any time. What are you waiting for?!