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Archive for the ‘Foodie Penpals’ Category

Foodie Penpals

Last month I was exceptionally lucky to be paired with a lovely young lady from Birmingham, named Susie! As the contents of my last few parcels were mostly on the sugary side, I had specifically asked her for some savory items. And that’s exactly what I received.

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Let’s take a moment to admire the beautiful wrapping! Isn’t it amazing!

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Spicy curry peanuts: Those homemade spiced nuts are based on a recipe from JustBento.com. I’ve been a fan of that site for years and always wanted to try that recipe, but I’ve been too lazy. (Story of my life.) Great minds think alike? Needless to say, they are delicious.

Smoked chipotle chilis: Those little fellows have a strong smokey smell on them, but I’m a little intimidated. The label claims that they are only medium hot, but I’m not sure if I can handle it. I will give them a try in my next batch of meat-less chili. If they turn out to be too hot for me, I’ll pass them on to my husband, who loves spicy stuff.

Heinz salad cream: I used this as a dipping sauce instead of a dressing, because it is rather thick. This kind of sauce is not available in Germany, I think, so I’m glad I got to try it. It’s quite tasty.

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BBQ sea salt: This salt mix smelled amazing, so I just had to try it immediately. I roasted a handful of cooked chickpeas in a little oil and mixed in some of the BBQ salt. Finally, I poured those spiced up chickpeas on top of a salad. The result blew my mind! The chickpeas were salty, spicy, warm, and slightly crunchy. I will definitely make that again. And again.

Curry powder: This ingredient arrived exactly at the right time, as I’m almost out of my favorite curry mix. I love all things curry, and I’m sure it will be awesome in soups, stews, sauces, dressings, etc.

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Ethiopian berbere spice mix: I’ve never tried this kind of spice mix before, or any Ethiopian dish, so I was very curious. Susie recommended using it in a lentil stew, so that’s what I did. The resulting dish was a little spicy and had a distinct cinnamon flavor. I love cinnamon and tend to add it to almost everything, so it’s no surprise that I loved this stew.

Fairy cake cases: Honestly, I have no idea what to do with those, but they are incredibly cute, so I’ll surely find a way. Any ideas?

Lemon chili fudge: This was the only sweet item in the parcel. I didn’t mind, though, as I do love sweets, just in moderation. This fudge was surprisingly spicy! Normally, I don’t like spicy sweets, but who can say no to fudge? Not me, obviously, I ate it all up within just a few days.

Thank you, Susie, for such a beautiful and delicious parcel!

See you!

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Foodie Penpals

It’s time to reveal my Foodie Penpals goodies for the month of May!

2013-05-31_Foodie_Penpals_MayThis month my parcel came from Julia, who lives in the Netherlands! She made sure to send me some typical Dutch specialities. This is what I love the most about the Foodie Penpals party, being able to try new foods from many different countries without travelling. (Side note: I do love travelling, but it’s hard find the time to do so these days.)

Here’s what I received:

Hagelslag: This is the Dutch word for sprinkles! As I understand it, hagelslag is a popular bread topping, similar to fairy bread. This box contains several different varieties, and I’m especially looking forward to trying the chocolate ones.

Rooibos tea: I really love tea! I have a cup of green or herbal tea almost every day, and rooibos is a nice change of flavor in my cup.

Syrup wafers: I remember having a larger version of those and loving them, so I opened this bag immediately after seeing it. Those mini wafers are lovely, full of caramely goodness.

Tea strainer: Isn’t this the cutest tea strainer ever?! It’s a strawberry! I think I still have a box of loose leaf tea in my pantry, and I’m going to try this pretty little thing very soon.

Pudding mix: As far as I understand, you simply mix the contents of the box with two cups of milk and heat it on the stove for a few minutes. This mix even contains cookie bits! I haven’t had one of those in ages, so I’m quite exited to give it a try.

Gingerbread: Actually I love gingerbread, I even have a recipe for it on my blog, but these are way beyond my sugar threshold. They are incredibly sweet! I was already thinking about how I could use them, maybe turning them into bread pudding, but then my husband took a bite and claimed them for himself. He says they are great with butter on top. Fine with me!

Thanks again, Julia, for your lovely parcel!

See you!

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Foodie Penpals

Oh yeah, I’m still doing that Foodie Penpals thing. I just couldn’t find the time to write about my recent boxes. Ehem.

Enough excuses, let’s begin!

My Foodie Penpals box for March was a little late. Not a big surprise, though, as it came all the way from Turkey! The non-Europeans among you may not know that Turkey is not (yet) part of the EU, so customs regulations are very strict! According to my penpal Vildan, he even had to send a second box because the first one got lost! But eventually, the box arrived save and sound at my place!

FPP_2013_March

Inside the box I found:

  • a bag of Turkish coffee (my husband and I love it!)
  • a sachet of hot chocolate mix (haven’t tried that one yet)
  • chocolate filled wafers (gone in a flash)
  • a huge box of Turkish Delight, a famous confection based on a gel of starch and sugar
  • a beautiful card from Vildan’s home town Amasya

My husband immediately claimed the Turkish Delight for himself. He loves that stuff. But he did let me try a few. Those sugary cubes are definitely something different. They were flavored with rosewater and pistachios and quite delicious, but extremely sweet and very chewy. It took me at least one minute to eat one small cube.

FPP_2013_April

My next parcel came from England again, sent to me by the very kind Emma. It was filled to the brim with so many amazing things:

  • several different nakd bars (raw, vegan, and amazing)
  • a flapjack/granola bar (buttery and sweet)
  • a bag of sweet and salty popcorn (for the undecided, I guess)
  • a tube of umami paste (bold flavor, great with pasta)
  • a box of tea cakes (husband and I inhaled those)
  • a handful of green candy (tangy and sweet)
  • a giant pack of English tea (80 bags!)
  • a lovely card of Big Ben (food for my travel bug *sigh*)

The nakd bars vanished first. Oh my goodness, they are so flipping good! I liked the berry flavor the most, and the ginger bread one was mighty spicy. The tea cakes were amazing, too. Chocolate covered marshmallows with a cookie bottom. I have no words.

I’ve received so much tea in my last few boxes that I’ll have enough for the rest of the year. At least. Thankfully, my husband also likes tea, so I can share with him.

Thanks again, Vildan and Emma, for your lovely parcels!

See you!

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Foodie Penpals

A few days ago I received a very special package in the mail. It was from my latest Foodie Penpal, Marco, who lives in London. And what did he send me?

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A fancy hair drier!

No, just kidding! 😉

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This package contained so much chocolate! I guess my addiction is quite obvious. Whatever.

Here’s what I got:

Nigella Breakfast Bars – I guess they were named after Nigella Lawson, an English TV chef. Those were delicious! Marco was so nice to include the recipe, so I’ll definitely try to make those bars myself. To be honest, they are already gone.

Black tea bags from Marks & Spencer – Usually, I prefer green or herbal tea, but I’ll give those guys a try. Marco also sent two lemongrass & ginger tea bags, which I already tried and loved!

Dark chocolate – Those two bars looked strangely familiar. I didn’t know why, until I learned that they are from Lidl! I used to shop there very often during my college days, as one of my friends was working as a cashier there, but in the past few years I’ve become more of an Aldi shopper. Ah, nostalgia!

Reindeer Poop – What a funny name! I had read about this treat before, but never got to try it. Until now! Marco also included the recipe for those, and so I learned that they are actually just almonds covered in chocolate and spices. I’m looking at that big bag of peanuts in my pantry and those chocolate bars from above, and know what I need to do this weekend.

Many thanks to Marco and Maryam (his wife) for all the wonderful goodies!

Want to join the fun? If you are from the U.S. or Canada check out The Lean Green Bean for more info. There’s also a European version organized by Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt.

Do you like tea? Which one is your favorite?

See you!

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Foodie Penpals

After taking a break during the month of December, the Foodie Penpals fun is back! I’m a bit late to the party this time, I know. I received my package last Friday and wanted to try and taste some of the things before writing about it all.

Foodie Penpals January 2013

This beautiful selection was sent to me by Maddy from London. Here’s what I got:

Pop Chips – I’ve read about those chips on several blogs and used to be a bit bummed that they aren’t sold in Germany. And I finally got a chance to try them! Oh my, now I’m actually glad that those chips aren’t available around here. They were too good, and I have zero self-control when it comes to chips.

Cashews – I haven’t had any cashews in a while because they are insanely expensive. But I really love them! Just like all other nuts and seeds. I’ve already used a few of those cashews sprinkled on salads or plain as a snack. I’ll try my best to make them last a little longer.

Homemade Pizza

Dry yeast – I had already planned to make pizza on Saturday, so this was perfect timing. I regularly make pizza from scratch, including the dough and the sauce, and I always wonder why people don’t do this more often. It’s so easy! Just mix together flour, dry yeast, salt, sugar, oil, and warm water, knead for five to ten minutes, and let the dough sit at a warm place for one hour. Roll it out, add your favorite sauce and toppings, cheese is optional in my case, and bake it until crispy. That’s all! Homemade pizza tastes so much better than any store-bought variety.

Pad Thai Kit – I haven’t used this one yet, but I plan to give it a try next weekend. It looks good, and I obviously love Asian food.

Dark Chocolate Florentines – Oh my goodness, those were amazing! The combination of almonds, chewy caramel, and rich dark chocolate blew my mind. They also contained chunks of candied ginger, which I used to think I didn’t like, but I surprisingly liked the slightly spicy undertones. Needless to say, those didn’t survive the weekend.

Want to join the fun? If you are from the U.S. or Canada check out The Lean Green Bean for more info. There’s also a European version organized by Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt.

Have you ever tried to make pizza from scratch?

See you!

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Foodie Penpals

Wow, today is already the last day of November, and that means it’s also Foodie Penpals reveal day!

This time I got my package from Vicki, a very nice lady from South West England. She sent me a huge bag of mostly local goodies. None of those things are available in Germany, so I was very curious and excited to try them.

Foodie Penpals November 2012

Cox apple – Vicki wrote that the Somerset region is famous for its apple orchards. I don’t think I’ve ever had one of those. It was delicious! Perfectly sweet and juicy, just how I like it. I literally inhaled it and only left the stem behind.

Nairn’s oatcakes – When I tried one of those, I actually expected a slightly sweet oatmeal cookie, so I was surprised that it tasted more like a cracker. Those oatcakes are supposed to be the base for sweet or savory toppings, but I also like them plain. They are a great crunchy snack between meals.

Green & Black’s chocolate – Oh my goodness! Organic dark chocolate, “infused with a twist of orange and delicate spices”.  That one won my chocolate loving heart with the first bite. Amazing!

Twiglets – Vicki mentioned that those crunchy, savory twigs are made with Marmite, which I’ve never had before. The flavor is very distinctive and bold, but actually not that bad. I think I could get used to it. I’m quite sure they won’t survive the weekend.

Pukka after dinner tea – This organic tea is a blend of fennel, chicory, and cardamom. I’m usually not a fan of anything that contains fennel, aniseed, or licorice, so I was very surprised that I really liked the tea. And my stomach liked it, too.

Glastonbury cider – My husband loves cider, so I let him have this one. But I did have a few sips, too, and it was delicious. (Note: British cider is not very sweet and contains a little alcohol.)

Sesame snap – This was a gift from Vicki’s daughter! As I love anything with sesame seeds, I enjoyed this one, too.

Christmas pudding – I’ll save this one for later and enjoy it a bit closer to Christmas. I’m sure I’ll love it, as I’m a huge fan of dried fruits. Added cognac? Even better!

My other Foodie Penpal in November was Sarah from Newport, UK, who is also a blogger. Check out her reveal post on A Tomato Sardine.

Want to join the fun? If you are from the U.S. or Canada check out The Lean Green Bean for more info. There’s also a European version organized by Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt.

Which of these things would you like to try?

See you!

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Foodie Penpals

Guess what? It’s Foodie Penpals reveal day! Okay, that was actually yesterday, but I was busy hanging out with some of my favorite ladies. Well, better late than never, right?

October Foodie Penpals - Box

This time I got a package from Alice, who lives in Denmark. I’ve never been in that country before, and know very little about it, so I asked her to include some typically Danish things. And boy, did she deliver.

October Foodie Penpals - Rye Bread

The package contained a very dark rye bread (very intense flavor, reminded me of pumpernickel), a tiny bottle of aquavit, which is still waiting for the right occasion, and a caramel-filled chocolate bar. Needless to say, I loved the chocolate bar. It was gone in a flash.

October Foodie Penpals - Cookies

But the highlight of the package was a batch of homemade cookies. They are called Napoleon’s Hats (Napoleons hatte), and are a traditional butter cookie, filled with marzipan, and formed into a hat-like shape. They were amazing! I love all things marzipan, and was also happy to find that those cookies weren’t overly sweet.

It gets even better, Alice was so nice to include her recipe! They will definitely be added to my Christmas cookie repertoire.

Thank you so much, Alice, for sending me such a beautiful and thoughtful package!

My other Foodie Penpal in October was Anna from Manchester, who has a blog of her own, called Manchester Foodies. Check it out to read about the package I sent to her.

Want to join the fun? If you are from the U.S. or Canada check out The Lean Green Bean for more info. There’s also a European version organized by Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?

See you!

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