But, not a daggy penpal, and nobody in jail either, but a FOODIE PENPAL! The BEST kind right?!
I stumbled upon the Foodie Penpal scheme last month and signed up immediately when I found out what was involved. Each month you are assigned and are the recipient of a foodie penpal, in which you to put together a parcel of food related items to inspire them in the coming month. You send your parcel by the 20th of each month and then on the last day of the month, blog about what you received and if you've had time, how you have used the items.
It is like getting a birthday present that you can eat, each month. Who wouldn't love that!
The European set-up is organised through Rock Salt, follow the link to find out more and to sign up. The set-up in the USA is through The Lean Green Bean.
This was my first month and I was so excited putting together a parcel for Miriam. I hope she liked what I put together for her. There was some special chocolate, some Hampstead Tea company tea (hibiscus flower which can also be used in cocktails), dried chillies and tulip muffin papers. Miriam is a freelance food writer who creates some pretty awesome recipes on her blog, be sure to check it out!
And the poor unsuspecting foodie who had me this month was Rachel. I say poor and unsuspecting, because as part of the exchange you need to let your penpal know if you have any food restrictions...yikes! I almost thought about pulling out of the exchange straight away as I thought of how much of pest I must be to buy for, but am SO glad I didn't!! Rachel did an awesome job!! She was so thoughtful, and talked to her gluten-intolerant housemate to get ideas about what to get me. She is a new product developer for a pie company (what a cool job right?) and has a really fun foodie blog that she keeps up with in her spare time.
Onto the goodies!
1. Cotswold Co Butter Fudge. I put this first on the list because it is almost gone. Yep, got it today, had a piece after lunch, and then another, and well, I'll stop (the commentary) there. It is delicious. It is crumbly and rich and just delicious.
2. Smoked sea salt. I didn't even know that such a thing existed to be honest, but am really excited to use it. I think it would go beautifully in the Salted Caramel Popcorn I made a while back, but I also love the sound of toasted oak ice cream with smoked sea salt & lapsang souchong caramel swirl, which has nothing at all to do with my current dairy reduced diet I'm sure....
3. Schezwan pepper. I love Rachel's suggestions of using this pepper in baking too, as I really have never added pepper to sweet treats before. But, my mind is wandering and I'm pretty excited by the ideas!
4. Nakd bars. If you are gluten-intolerant I am sure you've tried one of these magnificient snacks before. They are genius food. I have only tried the date one so far (keep getting the same one over and over), but they are gluten, dairy and wheat free but in no way are they taste free. How they manage to create something delicious out of so few ingredients is both baffling and inspirational to me. I keep a list of the ingredients of each one, planning to try and re-create them one day! Rachel got me the Rhubarb & Custard (ummm yum) and the Cashew Cookie bars, and I'm tucking them into my nappy bag, ready for them to save the day when next I'm out and about and starving!!
5. Finally there are these adorable animal print cupcake wrappers which are so much fun! My mother is visiting us in a weeks' time and she is somewhat obsessed with leopard print, so this couldn't have come at a better time for me to make a little "welcome" treat for her! I love the zebra ones and kind of wish I was doing a safari theme for Baby M's birthday party next month, but am sure we'll find lots of other excuses to put these to use.
Thank you so much Rachel. The thoughtfulness and practicalness of this parcel really went above and beyond what I was hoping for and was so kind of her. Mr M came home just now and went through the parcel and said..."fudge....this person clearly loves you". Hehe.
I can't wait for next month already! It is such a fun set up to be part of!!