Thursday, 28 June 2012

Foodie penpals: from Catherine to Emma

Last month was my first experience of foodie penpals and it was definitely an interesting one. So, with a month gone by, foodie penpals time has come round again.

For those who don’t know what foodie penpals involves- near the beginning of the month, you’re contacted with details of somebody to send a package to. You get in touch and ask foodie preferences and where to send the package to, and you’ll receive an email yourself asking the same questions you’ve just asked someone else. Some interesting shopping, creative packaging and sometimes expensive posting later, your package is sent and you receive one yourself.

I sent a package to Emma in Norwich, the details of which you can see here:

And I received a package from Catherine, who was sending from Leeds.

The day the package arrived, I happened to be at work, but mum was greeted with a note through the door when she came home telling her that a parcel was “in blue bin (to protect from rain)”... which made me giggle when I saw it. Parcel in the wheelie bin, but I least I got it that day and it was dry!

Upon opening the parcel, I found plenty of interesting goodies. Catherine had included marmalade (I’ve brought some plain sourdough home from work specially to go with this) and lovely, melt in the mouth meringues, both home made.

In the letter she’d included, Catherine explained that she was originally from South Africa and had included a few things that reminded her at home- a Safari guava fruit roll and a strawberry fizzer. She’d also trawled the local farm shops and found farmers pickle, blackberry vinegar (not sure how to use it yet but it tastes tangy and interesting) and Yorkshire mix boiled sweets.

I’ve already cracked into most of the things I got sent. Schemes are developing as to what to do with the rest of it. Thanks Catherine!

Foodie penpals: a package for Emma

This was my first foodie pen pals and I got paired with Emma from  I can say it was a total delight and I was over the moon with my foodie package.
I got my email from Emma on the 5th June explaining she would be my foodie pen pal this month. After asking me some questions in regards to what I like, I explained that I had a very sweet tooth and love baking. The reply email couldn’t have been more exciting; Emma told me that she is in fact a baker, she’s just finished doing a pastry chef NVQ and she has been doing lots of experimenting with chocolate. And some of that should make it’s way into my parcel. Well if I wasn’t excited enough about my first package, to then find out I was paired with a baker who was “experimenting with chocolate” just put the cherry on the cake.

The 18th June came round and to my delight my post women knocked at the door holding a parcel; I couldn’t take it out of her hands quick enough.  The first thing that struck me was the weight of it. I was like a child at Christmas. Once I had opened it I was in absolute amazement. I was expecting 1 or 2 items and secretly hoping it would be something Emma had made. I was right!
In my Box:

A lovely hand written card explaining the reasons behind the items in the box.
Eccles cakes & Parma Violets – both very local to Emma. I loved the story about how the Swizzles Matlow factory used to test new sweet flavors out on a local school.
Rhubarb & Ginger jam.
Freeze dried strawberries, Edible gold leaf, Red magic sprinkles – all to decorate my cakes & bakes.
Natural Jelly Belly jelly beans and Hershey’s cookies & cream chocolate.
 And of course homemade salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread – this was heavenly and I would buy this buy the lorry load.
All in all it was a fab experience and thank you so much Emma for an amazing package!!! I loved everything!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Dough diaries beyond bread

My blogging activity levels have taken a bit of a nosedive recently. Working in a bakery means that I'm not baking a hell of a lot of bread at home anymore so actual things to write about have sort of dried up.

I'm missing blogging though so I think it's about time to widen the remit of my blog and include some of the other things that I've been tinkering with at home, even if they're not bread related. Because, believe me, I've not been completely idle at home while I've been working at the bakery.

May have to come up with a new blog name though... watch this space