Thinking Outside the Box

Foodie Penpals Parcel October

Brain Box

It’s Foodie Penpals time again. This will be my last box for a little while, but I look forward to joining in again in the New Year. I will continue to look around for other people’s updates, and blog posts. I really enjoy the scheme, and getting a box of food is like a little Christmas each month. And I have “met” some lovely people too. As always, thanks to Carol Ann of Rock Salt, who organises this so well each month Europe.

This month, I was paired with two readers again. I sent a parcel to Kelly, but unfortunately her parcel seems to be languishing in the sorting office. We are trying to sort this out now, and I hope that she will soon be able to do a guest post about her parcel. As usual, I sent her a few typically Dutch items, so I hope that she likes them, when they eventually get delivered!

I received my parcel this month from Ruth. She is a busy student, so it was especially nice for her to take time out of her first week back at uni to get me some things. Ruth was thinking outside the box both in the fact that some of the items were not edible (though still very much food related), and because this month, I didn’t get a box, but the items came in a bubble wrap bag. Great idea, and it should save a bit in postage. Of course, I have popped all the bubbles saved the bag for another  occasion. Ahem!

Mini Tabasco

Teeny Tabasco

Ruth sent me some really cool things. Not least of which were these cute little Tabasco bottles. They stand about 3 cm tall, but of course, they punch far above their weight in the flavour department. Tabasco with cheese on toast is A Thing, you know.

Rococo Bee Bar Organic Milk Chocolate

A Treat for Me and The Bees

This is a lovely little sweet treat. Apparently, they are called Bee Bars because Rococo uses a bee pattern on their chocolate moulds. I am an inveterate nibbler of chocolate, and can happily make a bar last a month. Much to the Big Guy’s consternation. He feels that chocolate should be consumed all at once. I have hidden this, so I can nibble in peace.

Seaweed Snack

A Crisp Alternative

I received some healthy snacks. I think that Ruth has been reading my latest efforts to eat better, but with lower calories. These Seaweed thins fit the bill perfectly, especially for those times when you know that only a salty snack will do.

Fruit Snacks

Fruit Fooled

In keeping with the healthy theme, I also got some fruit leather and flavoured raisins. I suppose that these are the same as soaking rum in raisins, or similar. I am looking forward to adding the pineapple raisins to my next batch of muesli. I think the orange ones will go well in mince pies and has given me an idea for a slightly different mincemeat, so I may do a little bit of experimenting, so that I have some ready for my annual mince pie and mulled wine party.

Sparklers, Stencils, Spatula

Fun with Food

Last, but not least, I also got some cake sparklers, and a packet of Christmas stencils, both of which will also be a big hit at the mince pie party. And this lovely little gingerbread spatula. It is traditional at this time of year to make parkin, especially for Bonfire Night. We don’t get a Bonfire Night over here, but there is definitely something about autumn that makes you crave ginger and warmer spices. I have a parkin in a tin, developing that lovely sticky richness. Now I am inspired to make some ginger bread biscuits too.

Thanks again Ruth, a really good parcel, and one from which I have also got a bit of inspiration.

Do you fancy joining in? It’s fun, and interesting to see other people’s choices of food.If you do fancy it, here are a few details:

  • All interested parties in the UK and Europe – bloggers and blog readers alike – sign up by the form available at the bottom of this post
  • Participants are matched on the 5th of the month
  • Penpals send thoughtful, food related parcels, on or before the 20th of the month. The parcel must include something hand written – a note explaining the box’s contents, a recipe card, whatever you like. The price limit for the boxes is £10 – this is a limit, the point is not the cost, but the thought (no, really!)
  • Penpals open their boxes and rejoice!
  • At the end of the month, everyone blogs about their box, or writes a guest blog post if they are usually a blog reader and not writer. Everyone reads one another’s posts and rejoices some more. Posts are made available on Lindsay’s blog so we can all find each other easily


Filed under Feast

9 responses to “Thinking Outside the Box

  1. How cute are those little stencils? Great idea for those of us who couldn’t do those fancy latte-foam designs if our lives depended on it. Looks like you received a great box!

  2. My grandmother was from the north in the UK and used to make parkin. I remember its stickyness and the fact that it wasn’t too sweet but packed a heavy ginger punch. Maybe that is why I am not a fan of cakes that are too sweet and covered in icing? The idea of a foody penpal is almost as good as that of a seedy penpal BUT the seedy penpals are sharing the love around and saving it for posterity :). Cheers for another great post 🙂

    • Yes, Parkin is the best of the ginger cakes. I don’t like my cakes too sweet either, and I don’t have the time, patience or artistic talent to do those fancy iced concoctions. And cupcakes are right out 🙂

      I’ll let you into a secret, Seedy penpals was lifted pretty much wholesale from the foodie counterpart, although it made more sense to be twice a year instead of monthly. Carol Ann, who runs he FPP in Europe gave us a lot of help and advice to set up Seedy Penpals. We are very grateful to her.

      • 🙂 I agree about the cakes and prefer mine moist and full of almond meal and texture and I would rather a drizzle than icing. Thank goodness for Carol Ann! Without her, I wouldn’t have your wonderful posts to read 🙂

  3. Awww, I am completely in love with that blue gingerbread man spatula. And how cute are those tabasco bottles (despite all the hotness inside). Also, I agree with your Big Guy: chocolate must be devoured the moment it appears in my eyeshot because otherwise it silently calls my name from the inside of cupboard. I swear, it must feel alone there 😀

  4. That’s such a lovely idea – who doesn’t love receiving parcels in the post, and what thoughtful contents too. I might have to sign up for this myself and send my love of local foodie items further afield!

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