May 2014 Foodie Penpal

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I love when my Foodie Penpal writes to me just after the lists have been sent out, and Jaye did not disappoint. Despite being in the middle of her sister’s wedding plans, I still received a very interested email (and subsequent response). And how she ever found time to shop and post everything in the middle of all that, I’ll never know. But Jaye did a great job!

Not only did she shop, but she took the time to hand-write this note, which really puts me to shame with the (much shorter) notes I usually send out.

Jaye's note

Jaye’s note

Now it’s not surprising if you read Jaye’s blog, that tea would be included in the package.

Tea

Tea

But don’t think this is just ordinary tea. This is delicious, thirst-quenching tea. I’ve had both of them already. I liked the green tea a lot – it was quite smooth. And the English breakfast was the perfect way to start my Bank Holiday weekend.

The next thing I pulled out of the package was this Rum Raisin Fudge.

Rum Raisin Fudge

Rum Raisin Fudge

I’ve tried rum raisin ice cream before, so I was anxious to get to the fudge. And it was SO tasty. I love that it came from Cardiff, too (where Jaye’s living, by the way). I am rationing this so that I don’t go through the entire (rather large) piece of fudge in one sitting of Grey’s Anatomy . . .

Out next came the chilli almonds. Wow – this is a taste you don’t want to miss.

Chilli almonds

Chilli almonds

These almonds are dusted with a smoked chilli powder – just enough to give you a bit of heat when you’re eating them, but not too much as to blow your head off. I never would have put chilli with almonds – but thank goodness someone did.

And you may or may not believe this, but as I was walking to the front door to greet the postman who handed me my Foodie parcel this month, I was thinking that I really had a taste for popcorn, and I wondered if I actually had any in my larder. I quickly forgot that thought when I saw what the postman was handing me, but I couldn’t believe what I saw next in my parcel when I opened it.

Popcorn

Popcorn

Really? Is this how it works now? I only have to think of things and the postie will deliver it to my front door? (** George Clooney . . . George Clooney . . . George Clooney). So how clever was Jaye to think to put this into my parcel? (The popcorn . . . not George Clooney đŸ˜¦ )

I then started getting a whiff of what might be coming out next.

Dried chillis

Dried chillis

I mentioned in my introductory email to Jaye that I liked spicy things, so in my parcel were two different types of dried chilli. One is a smoked Naga Ghost chilli, and one is a Chipotle Meco Chilli. I already soaked and sliced up most of the Chipotle chilli for one of my weekend dishes, and it really added quite a bit of depth. I am saving the Naga chilli for one of my braver days. It was the ‘smoke’ scent that I could smell as I was opening up the parcel. These also came from Cardiff – looks like from a place called Clancys.

I then pulled out a package of Welch cakes from one of Jaye’s local, independent deli’s called Wally’s.

Welch cakes

Welch cakes

I’ve never tasted Welch cakes before, but I put these away till breakfast the next day, warmed them up and plied them with lashings of butter. I had to try two of them, just to make sure I liked them (I did). But before I could get at the rest, other family members piled in. So – those were a very distant memory all too quickly.

And finally, I pulled these out of the parcel.

Savoury powders

Savoury powders

These are powders that I am going to experiment with on my aforementioned popcorn, although the Spice of Life curry powder already made a small debut in one of my dinners last weekend. But I think the horseradish, beetroot and chilli powder will make spectacularly interesting popcorn flavours.

Jaye – you outdid yourself with my parcel. You listened to what I said I liked, and you ticked every box. You’ve made me very happy. Thank you very much for a wonderful bounty of goodies!

May Foodie Pen Pal reveal

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Okay okay . . . I know it’s almost mid-June, but it’s never too late to do a reveal, I think. This month, my Foodie Pen Pal was Rachella. Rachella is a fellow American living in London, so we compared a lot of notes – mostly on good Mexican restaurants in London. I might need to test them all.

Thai Tower

Thai Tower

But my parcel was so diverse, and it was a true joy to open up and wade through. I got so many goodies – some familiar and some very foreign, so it was a voyage of discovery. The first thing I got to was this tower of Thai, which gives me Thai oil, Thai seasonings and Thai paste. Boy, does this smell good. I think this won’t last long here. It might make it till tomorrow, but I’m kind of doubting it.

Chiles

Chiles

My next goodie was a can of jalepeno chilis. During my exchange with Rachella, she discovered that I really enjoy hot food, so chilis are always a good bet. I like that these are whole. I can do many more things with these.

Chili rub

Chili rub

Moving on through that theme, I came to this three chili rub. This, I know, will be a big hit in the household (apart from the cat). It smells wonderful, and I can’t wait to try it. It may have to wait until after I do the Thai dinner, but it won’t have to wait long.

Junior Mints

Junior Mints

The next item I grabbed just made me laugh out loud. Who doesn’t like Junior Mints? Although I appreciate the Big Bang Theory link, I think they will always remind me of Seinfeld.

Dried figs

Dried figs

I then grabbed a packet of dried figs, which I’ve never used before, so I am very excited about that. I love fresh figs, and I know I can incorporate these into something very yummy. Time to do some research.

See's candy

See’s candy

I also got a handful of See’s candies, which I believe come from the west coast of America, where Rachella is from. These are the perfect items to keep energy levels up while I’m working. I can’t wait to try these.

Twinings

Twinings

Of course no explanation is needed for Twinings tea. You can’t live in England without becoming a tea addict. And Twinings is definitely one of the better cups of tea you’re going to have. I think, as this is neatly packed in a sealed packet, I’ll put this in my bag so I can have a lovely cuppa on the go sometime.

Nutter Butter

Nutter Butter

Next came a tub (now near empty) of Nutter Butter bites. For those not familiar with Nutter Butters, they are a peanut shaped cookie sandwiched with peanut butter. So these are just the little bite size cookies that you can pop in your mouth without anyone noticing (unless they get close enough to smell your peanut butter breath). These are good with the aforementioned tea.

Chocolate Bears

Chocolate Bears

And finally, I’m not quite sure what to call these or where they actually came from, but they are just the coolest little chocolate cookies. When I looked at the outside, I thought they’d maybe be the equivalent of Animal Crackers, without that little box they used to come in with the little shoe-lace handle. But no – these are actually all little bears that are filled with chocolate. But each one of them is painted with a different personality. So one’s a nurse, one’s happy, etc. I kind of feel bad eating them. Well . . . not THAT bad.

Little Bears

Little Bears

All in all, I think I made out pretty well this month, and I thank Rachella for her efforts. You did a fine job.