Monday, 1 October 2012

Foodie Penpal #4

The Lean Green Bean

This is the forth month that I have been involved in Foodie Penpals. It started in the US thanks to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean and is now hosted by Carol-Ann from Rock Salt in Europe. Everyone is assigned a another penpal to send a parcel of food treats to, and you will receive one form someone else. Even though I have been pushed for time this month I still wanted to participate because it's such a great way to find out about new foodie things and share my passion.

I received a parcel from Nicole and it was a little later in the month than usual which isn't a problem, though it does mean I haven't had a chance to try everything out yet! Here goes though:

The first thing I did was read the letter inside. I like to feel a little bit like I know my penpal and the personal touch of a letter is a lovely way to be introduced to the contents of the parcel and feel the care and attention that has gone into it!

To help differentiate the different items according to each described in the letter, they each at cute corresponding, fluorescent orange number stickers on! Here are the close ups so I can tell you about them in more detail:
At the top is a box of bouquets garni of Provencal herbs. Nicole used to live in Provence and told me that the flavours always take her back and I'm really looking forward to using these in a heart bean stew as the colder months draw in. In the small pot is homemade chili chutney, which apparently had an extra kick. It was a lovely balance of sweet and spicy and you can see how I have used it so far at the end of this review. There were also 2 fresh figs, bought from Borough market which is local to Nicole. The figs were perfectly ripe and I had them just as snacks, though I have been inspired to get some more and experiment with them a little.

Half in each photo, wrapped in cellophane and pink ribbon are homemade rocky roads. As they contained marshmallow I couldn't gobble the whole lot as marshmallows contain gelatin and are not meat-free, but I still happily nibbled around the would've been rude not to have sampled them! There was also a pot of 'Pumpkin seed mix' - pumpkin and sunflower seeds (though mostly sunflower seeds....not sure what Marks & Spencer were thinking when they labelled this product), but they are pretty addictive due to the more-ish soy seasoning! Lastly, was a lovely slab of cheese from the market. Seriously, I need to go to this market when I next go to London! I can't tell you exactly what cheese it was because I don't know, but it was like a mature, sweet, almost crunchy cheddar! So far, I have used it with my chili chutney to make 'pitta pizza' - chutney spread on each half of a split pitta bread, topped with the cheese and slices of portobello mushrooms and grilled for several minutes. It was one of the most satisfying lunches I've had in a long time.

I sent a rather hasty box to Sophie who blogs at who writes interesting posts about issues that many would tend to shy away from - definitely worth a read in my opinion!

If you'd like to take part, check out Carol's or Lindsay's blogs (depending on where you live) to find out more!