Foodie Penpals June 2012
About a month or so ago, I read a blog post about Foodie Penpals that got me really excited because for the first time the exchange takes place in the UK and not just in the US and Canada! I figured I had just enough space on my plate for one more undertaking and off went the email to Carol Anne at www.thisisrocksalt.com, the extremely brave lady who organises us here in the UK as well as a handful of Continentals. Pay her a visit and see what adventures she gets up to, north of the border, including a Battenberg Cake she made just last week! The European Foodie Penpal is an off shoot of The US programme, started by Lindsay at www.theleangreenbean.com.
So, what is Foodie Penpals? For one thing, it’s about making new friends and sharing but of course, more importantly, it’s all about food! Basically, every month, we get paired off with 2 other foodies (courtesy of Carol Anne), one to send a parcel to and one to receive from. We all have a budget of no more than £10 and the parcel can be made up of anything related to food, including a hand written note. What I like about this is that it’s open to both food bloggers and blog readers. So, even if you don’t blog but are reading this and fancy joining in, you can! Details at the end of post!
My first Foodie Penpal parcel had Carol Anne’s name on it! I decided to send her a box of mainly homemade goodies, including curry powder, togarashi powder and lavender sugar. Had I thoroughly read through the do’s and dont’s, I would have handwritten my Spanish Tortilla recipe instead of printing it off this site! I hope she liked it.
My goodies came from Andrew McFarlane of www.acuvital.wordpress.com. First thing I did was to visit his blog and was pleasantly surprised to discover what he writes about. Andrew is a degree qualified acupuncturist who’s originally from South Africa and has been living here for about 20 years now. His deep passion for Oriental medicine has led him into the wild (!), looking for plants for his recipes. He studies and understands the energetics (loosely, the study of energy under transformation) of plants and how best to cook them without losing their beneficial properties, amongst other things. I suggest your best bet is to visit him for some wonderful natural recipes from the wild like Nettle Soup, Elderflower Panna Cotta and Dog Rose Syrup!
I loved everything I got. Besides the homemade stuff that I’ll get to later, Andrew also included a packet of organic green tea, a drink I love and a packet of Ras el Hanout, something I use regularly!
Now to his wonderful creations – there were 3 kinds of syrup and 2 types of vinegar.To test run Andrew’s magic, we had a syrup party! Tall, cool glasses of syrup and my kids blind tested them! We all agreed that the elderflower syrup was our favourite with the pine needle in second place! It was all very good, everyone wanted a second glass!
I’ve yet to try the Sherry vinegar but the Pine Needle vinegar went swimmingly with homemade fish and chips! It has an earthy aroma and definitely added a slightly different slant one one of our regular meals!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the sending out as well as the receiving. Can’t wait for next month! So, if this has tickled your fancy and you would like to join us for next month, whether you are a blogger or not, we’d love to have you! If you’re in the UK, you can find out more about the Foodie Penpal programme at Rock Salt. If you’re in the US or Canada, The Lean Green Bean is where it’s at!
The group is free to join and you can opt out anytime!
I’m off to have another glass of Andrew’s Pine Needle Syrup (the Elderflower’s all gone)!