Saturday, 30 June 2012

Retro Cookbook Swap - James Martin's Great British Winter

A while ago on the blog, we ran the Cookbook swap, where we encouraged you (yes you) the readers to swap cookbooks with each other.  The old, the strange, the unusual.  The results were good and we managed to match up quite a few people to send cookbooks to each other.

At Soup Tuesday HQ, we got sent a copy of James Martins Great British Winter, which is rather apt as despite it being June, it feels like winter.  This book is a treasure trove for fans of sweet dishes, as any viewers of the brilliant Saturday Morning Kitchen will know, he's rather fond of his puddings is our James.

Despite this, the recipe we decided to cook for the book is a smoked haddock risotto (with saffron, peas and grilled fennel), although we are tempted to revist the book nearer the festive season, as there are a lot of game recipes which would be amazing for any festive feast (and I really want to try one this year, but then I seem to say that every year and we always still end up having the same old roast turkey and stuffing)

We've had a lot of good feedback from other people who took part in our cookbook swap, and we will definitely be running something similar again in the future, because, well, who doesn't like getting free stuff through the post.

The theme for this swap was Retro cook books but we are toying with a range of different ideas for the next one - anyone have any suggestions?

Here are some of the blogs that took part and links to their posts about the cookbook swap :

Offally Good - One of my favourite blogs, mainly because we share an enthusiasm for the more obscure or unpopular bits of beasts

(More to come as the blog posts go up!)

Foodie PenPals June

I can't quite believe it's the end of June already. This year is flying past, and this month in particular seems to have disappeared leaving me with the odd sense that I must have done stuff, but with no idea what!
This month I managed to get my Foodie PenPals parcel off in time, rather than having a mad dash at the last minute, and I hope my pen pal enjoyed her things (her post is up here if you want to see what I sent). The parcel I received arrived well before the due date, and was absolutely packed with things! As with last month's parcel it's given me some ideas for thing to put into my next parcel.
Look at all those goodies!

Teresa had shopped with both me and Mr Soup in mind, so there were some lovely savoury things - a chilli grinder which has gone straight into my nicely (recently) organised spice drawer; a box of barley groats, together with a recipe for a soup/stew using them (incorporating 2 of Mr Soup's favorite things - beer and beef, so it'll definitely get made!), some vegetable pate which will probably get cracked open to have with crackers this weekend when we're doing our regular Buffy/Angel marathon.

For me there were some dinky silicone cupcake cups (still to be used), vanilla pods (Mr Soup got very excited about these - I think creme brulee might be in our future...), some cherry liquorice (tasty and unusual - I think I prefer the taste of normal liquorice but have been wanting to try cherry liquorice since seeing Walter on Fringe munching on the stuff). Pineapple and papaya mix - which will be making it's way into a cake fairly shortly, probably as a substitute for candied peel as a variation. A carob/seedy/hemp energy bar which kept me going through a long day, and a strawberry and pepper chocolate bar, which was a very different treat - I've had chilli chocolate before and this balanced the pepper bite, sweet chocolate and slightly sour strawberry taste very nicely. I would recommend!

And finally some homemade granola, which went really well with yogurt, in Mr Soup's smoothies, and mixed in with my morning oats - it was gone in days!

Teresa also sent me a recipe for a lemon-curd sponge which has gone onto my list of things to bake (which seems to be getting longer rather than shorter even though I keep making things!)

I really enjoyed unpacking my parcel and can't quite believe how many things Teresa managed to fit in - Mr Soup and I were really spoilt! 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chakalaka Soup with Boerewors Meatballs

I went away to the wilds of Wales for the weekend, and after a weekend of drink, cheap burgers and white-water rafting, I really needed something healthy, not to mention the fact that I'm coming down with (another) cold, but this time I'm blaming it on the cold water from the rainy mountains of Bala (or the fact I was screaming like a girl when I went down the rapids...)

That's me, in the front, on the right of the picture, thinking about soup...
I may have mentioned before that Mrs Soup hails from South Africa, and so I thought I would make a signature South African soup, so I asked her what I should make, and she suggested this.  Now apparently, proper Chaklaka (another soup name, like Albondiga, that makes you smile whilst saying it!) is a sort of stew, although some variations of it seem to be more like relish, but I know for sure that Knorr (vendors of packet soups) make a Chakalaka Soup, as I've seen it in the dinky little shop that sells South African stuff in Leeds market, which is where I also got the Boerewors from.

So without further ado, here is Chakalaka soup, which, by the way, makes a good vegetarian soup, if you skip the meatballs and use vegetable stock.  You could also swap the canelini beans for a tin of baked beans (which I understand is a little more traditional, but as I can't stand baked beans, then I swapped them out)

For the Soup
2 Carrots
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
2 Onions
1 Red Chili
1tsp Minced Garlic
2tsp Minced Ginger
3 Tomatoes (Peeled)
1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tin Canellini Beans
1.2l Stock
2tbsp Tomato Puree
1tsp Curry Powder
1tsp Cumin
Handful of Chopped Fresh Coriander

For the Meatballs
250g Boerewors Sausage
1 Onion
1tsp Cayenne Pepper
1tsp Turmeric


1. Make the meatballs.  Chop the onion very finely and combine with the de-skinned boerewors (Or you could use another type of sausage if you can't get the proper stuff).  Add the spices and mix everything together and then roll out into small balls, about 3cm across.  Put these in an airtight container and then refrigerate for about an hour

2. Slice the onion, red and green pepper, carrot and chili.

3.  In your soup pan, heat some oil, then add the vegetables, as well as the curry powder, cumin, ginger and garlic.  Fry for 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften and are thoroughly coated with the spices

4.  Add the tinned tomatoes, beans, puree and stock then bring to the boil and simmer for 30  minutes

5.  After 20 minutes, heat some oil in a frying pan and then cook the meatballs until they are nice and brown.

6.  Add these, as well as the skinned chopped fresh tomatoes to the soup and cook for 5 minutes, then serve.

7.  Garnish with a handful of chopped coriander or flat leaf parsley

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Menudo Rojo (Tripe Soup)

This one has been a long time coming!  I've had my eye on making something with tripe in it since I started writing this blog.  As regular readers will know, I have two culinary obsessions - black pudding and dumplings - and I would say that the first one extends to all manner of offal and unusual meat stuffs.

After a visit to a really nice Chinese restaurant, I had tripe for the first time and really liked it, despite horror stories from my Mother about how awful it was.  My grandfather apparently loved it, and I have memories of seeing it in the butcher's shop we used to shop in when I was a child.  I was fascinated by it, looking more like fish than meat, and vowed to eat some, even going to far as to pester my mother to get some - a wish she never acquiesced to.

But now I am master of my own shopping list, I have finally gotten round to making some tripe soup - a slow cooked mexican affair which also uses a pig's trotter, but only to thicken the soup.

It's apparently the texture of tripe that people can't stand, but I would say that it's very similar to squid or octopus (however, I'm aware that there are a large number of people who don't like those either...) and it's worth trying at least once, just to say you've done it and not be swayed by others opinions.

And now tripe is checked off my list, I'm hunting for tongue and lung soup recipes...

450g Tripe
1 Pigs Foot (Quartered)
1 Small Onion
2 Red Chilies
1 Lime
3 Cloves Garlic
1tsp Oregano
1tsp Cumin Seeds
1.2 l Chicken Stock

1. Wash the tripe in warm water, then put in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and then squeeze the juice of a lime over it.  Leave to stand for 30 minutes and then wash again in warm water

2. Cut the tripe into thin strips, then put into boiling water, simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

3. In a large pan, put the drained tripe, pig's foot, stock, onion, garlic and oregano.  Bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours.

4. Using a blow-torch, sear the outside of the chilies until the skin goes black.  Let them cool and then peel to charred skin off.

5. In a blender, put a ladleful of stock from the tripe pan, the chilies and ground cumin seeds.  Blend this until smooth, then add to the pan with the tripe in. Remove the pig's foot at this point.

6.  Cook for another 30 minutes

7.  Serve with slices of lime and garnish with sliced green onions.  Enjoy!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Mushroom Stroganoff

It seems to have been a weekend of rich foods and many meats, with Cheese club on Thursday, where I consumed my own body weight in cheeses (I ate 14 different kinds...) then exciting meats over the next few days (including Goat, which is a first for me, and some amazing pork pies - one with black pudding (hurrah) in it - from Leeds Market) so I thought that I would do something more or less vegetarian tonight by way of giving my body a bit of a rest.

Whilst in Leeds market at the weekend, we got a huge bag of mushrooms (but no canned hominy - if anyone knows where I can get some, feel free to let me know, although the recipe I needed it for will be coming tomorrow, so be quick!) so I decided to have a go at mushroom stroganoff.

I love this stuff - although a confirmed meat eater I can't get enough of mushroom dishes, they can often taste as meaty as actual meat dishes, and this dish is so quick and easy to put together, why don't you give it a try!

400g Mushrooms
2 Onions
3 Cloves Garlic
100ml White Wine
150ml Chicken Stock
75ml Sour Cream
2tsp Paprika
1tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Chopped Parsley 

1. Heat some oil in a large pan.  Slice the onions and fry them for about 5 minutes, until they start to turn a nice golden brown colour.

2.  Add the chopped garlic and paprika and cook for another minute

3.  Add the chopped mushrooms, turn up the heat and cook for 5 minutes, trying to keep the lid on the pan as much as possible, until the mushrooms start to soften

4.  Add the stock, wine, salt and pepper and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced a bit.

5.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream, garnish with parsley and serve with rice, potatoes or chips! Enjoy

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

In Search of Perfection – Steak the Heston Way.

Today's guest blog is from Louise Pegg (She's on twitter here Why not stop by and say 'hi') She's writing about her experiences of following the method of cooking the perfect steak as suggested by everybody's favourite chef/boffin, Heston Blumenthal (and why aren't there more boffins these days?  Since when did being an eccentric scientist become something to be frowned on?  Barnes Wallace would be bouncing in his grave...)

Louise describes herself as...

We are two fortysomethings who live in sin  in a small cottage at the most northerly navigable point of the Norfolk Broads. We both work full time in FE and HE, have two cats and an elderly horse that lives in her  own bachelorette pad some distance away. We have no religion, our faith lies in good food and being nice to eachother although we have several obsessions that include sci-fi, comedy and serial killers. We love to cook and grow stuff  but our skills in both are rather hit and miss. some things we do well and others we fail at spectacularly. We will happily have a bowl of cornflakes for tea if the mood takes us and we rent a lifestyle we couldn't possibly afford to buy.

Heston Blumenthal is always a joy to watch on the TV. Whether he is taking on tricky Little Chef bigwigs or creating a fantasy dinner for a bunch of lucky celebs, his abandoned pleasure in whatever process he is inventing is infectious and inspiring. That is, he inspires me to go out and eat at least but undertaking many of his recipes requires a great deal more thought.

We have owned his second book, Heston Blumenthal: in search of perfection, for 6 years but have yet to undertake any of the recipes within. It is based on a 2006 TV series searching for the perfect version of such classic dishes as roast chicken, fish and chips and Black Forest gateau. Heston does a lot of research into what makes these dishes great and the ultimate methods by which to recreate them.

The recipes in the corresponding book are the results of this research simply committed to paper and, to be honest, require a degree of commitment and moral fibre, not to mention some (relatively) serious kit, that Delia or Jamie just don’t expect of us mere mortals. 

So it is that two weeks of annual leave have come around and, as we can’t afford a holiday, we go for the next best thing which is to finally have a go at one of these recipes and test The Great God Heston’s teachings to their fullest. What follows is a tale of personal growth and a test of faith so harrowing you may need a stiff drink before you read it.

Day 1
We scan through the book looking for the right recipe and settle on a combination of the steak with the roast potatoes from the chicken recipe (rather than the salad that Heston dictates to accompany the steak) as our perfect dinner. Already we are showing worryingly maverick tendencies to ignore the explicit recipes and 'make it up'. We also don’t bother with the mushroom ketchup because we can’t be arsed. This doesn’t bode well for anyone does it?

We choose steak as it’s something we just don’t buy very often so it’s a double treat  and the recipe only calls for 4-6 hours cooking so it seems very doable. Another attractive quality is that we need to layer butter and blue cheese and let the flavours blend for at least two days. These ingredients are already in our fridge so we can get started straight away and gain a little bit of instant gratification by creating an attractive parcel of parchment paper tied up with string.

Returning to the book we skim through the chapter in which Heston goes on a journey; no sorry it's more of a Journey, through the USA in search of the perfect cut of steak. We cherry pick words and phrases such as 'marbling' and 'dry hung' then skip to the end (I hope Heston never reads this - he'll cry in to his dry ice machine). The recipe requires one 'well aged, two bone fore rib of beef on the bone'. We discuss where to get this and half-heartedly consider asking a local butcher. Strangely, the thought of squaring up to any of North Norfolk’s no-nonsense purveyors of meat reduces both of us forty-somethings to ‘I will if you will’ sensibilities. I would happily go and ask but I’d really want my 6’1” OH standing right behind me. We gloss over it and agree to worry about it later.

Days 3 and 4
Family commitments take us away for a couple of days so the butter and blue cheese gets extra time to blend. This can only be a good thing and increase its ability to ‘capture the nutty, cheesy character of aged beef’.

Day 5
OH goes rebel cop and buys two ribeye steaks from Waitrose whilst I am otherwise engaged. I express my scepticism that they will be marbled or properly aged enough and a certain frostiness rests between us. I feel we have let Heston down. 

I sneak a peek at them later, actually they look really nice. They have been dry hung too. Maybe Heston will look kindly upon us after all. I make OH a sponge cake in apology. 

Day 6
We read the recipe again and realise that the steak has to be in the 50 degree oven for at least four hours just to get up to temperature! Then it stays in for 18 hours! We also forgot to buy a digital meat probe and an oven thermometer.

It seems to be very important to have the right temperature and Heston explicitly states that the steak must not get over 50 degrees or the recipe will be ruined. He doesn’t say why. OH concludes that if it gets over 50 a bus will explode. This is not something we want on our collective conscience so put the candy thermometer in the oven and hope that will work instead. My reasoning is that at only 50 degrees the plastic is unlikely to melt.

6pm: The steak is seared at high heat [see pic] as this starts a process called the Maillard reaction which, the Writings tell us, adds fantastic depth and complexity to the meat. Actually this is how we would normally cook (maybe a bit longer) and eat it. The steaks are ceremoniously put in the oven at 6pm.
 9pm: panic sets in as we check the temperature and the steak. It is at 50 but appears to be drying out on top (see pic).

Is this what is meant to be happening? Heston doesn't tell us. We decide, as we have a fan oven, that maybe the cooking time should be less to compensate. We go for a 12 hour shift - with the 3 hours it has already been in the oven that will total 15. At least 7 hours less than stated. We toy with taking it out altogether but decide we have come this far we will stick with it (if you attempt this I advise that you get a friend to join you in the undertaking – you will need someone to convince you to carry on in your darkest moments of doubt). Maybe Heston is testing our willingness to sacrifice a loved one in the manner of Abraham?

Day 7
9am: We take the steak out of the oven and it looks like this (see pic).

It still feels squishy so maybe it will be ok. We find a little reference later in the chapter to ‘trimming off any charcoal exterior’. We feel a bit better.

The steak has to cool completely and rest for at least 4 hours before frying.

5pm: Dinner is delayed when we find a poorly hedgehog and have to rush him to the Hedgehog Rescue centre at Trunch. The lady is very kind and we leave him with her and with our choice of name if he is a boy. Heston.

7pm: we are starving and hurriedly peel and cut the Maris Piper spuds. We cut them small so they will cook more quickly but ensure they have sharp edges as dictated. They are boiled (with the peelings in the pan to add flavour) then popped in to a roasting pan full of fat. Actually Heston tells us olive oil is fine. We are doubting Thomases and stick with the well- known goose fat method.

Once the spuds are golden brown all over we pan fry the steaks in a film of oil. Heston tells us four minutes but we opt for two because we think our inferior ribeyes will be thinner than his recommended cuts. The butter is melted and dinner is served.

Was it any good? Oh my. Take a look at the picture. It really WAS perfection.

The potatoes were perfectly fluffy on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside. They had a terrific flavour and were delicious. I suspect any type of potato would have come out pretty well with this fool proof recipe but the Maris Pipers did have something very special in flavour and fluffiness.

The steak was fabulous. I wasn’t at all convinced I wanted or needed this crust that developed on the outside but I really did!  It held a lot of flavour and the contrast of textures between the crust and the soft tender middle was wonderful. Our steak may have been a little underdone compared to the picture in his book so perhaps next time we will fry it for longer and leave it in for the full 18 hours. Nonetheless it was melty and gorgeous and we savoured every mouthful with rapture. Next time (we can’t wait to try it again) we will stick more closely to the recipe and we are even talking about trying it with lamb chops and other cuts.

Maybe we didn’t do it completely right and it might not be exactly what he intended but Heston, you made believers out of us.

NB for kitchenalia geeks the crockery is a vintage 1960’s Midwinter pattern ‘Mexicana’. Look out for it at carboots and charity shops as it is usually priced quite highly on ebay [although no-one seems to buy it].

Sadly, Heston the HH didn't make it *sob*

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Weekly Bake Off - Apricot loaf cake

After several weeks of not participating in the Weekly Bake Off, I was raring to go with this week's bake : Apricot loaf cake. The only ingredient I needed to buy were the dried apricots, and so after picking them up on the way home on Thursday I threw this together after dinner on Thursday night. It is a very simple recipe - everything get put into 1 bowl, mixed and then poured into the loaf tin, so it is very low-stress. It smelt lovely while baking, and we dived straight into it almost as soon as it was out of the oven. 

Mr Soup loves fruit loaf, and this didn't disappoint, being full of apricots, cherries and raisins. I don't think that the icing added much, though it was a nice touch to be able to sprinkle some more apricots on top. I probably wouldn't make this again, but only because I have other recipes for darker fruitloafs, but probably will be adding dried apricots to other fruit cakes in the future.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Sloe Gin Jelly

Apparently today is Gin Day, and so I thought I would let you know a good idea I had a few weeks ago. Last year we found a large stand of Sloe bushes, and had our eye on them all through autumn, just waiting for the first frost. Unfortunately many other people (or perhaps birds) had the same idea, and when we got to the sloe bushes, there weren't many left. We persevered, and with a bit of jumping (to catch the high branches) and several scratches, we came home with enough sloes to make a bottle of sloe gin. I'll post the recipe when we make another batch this year, but you basically add sugar and gin to your sloes after pricking the skins, and leave them to soak for several months.

We'll be having some of this this evening to celebrate Gin Day (as though we need an excuse!).
 Our sloe gin was stewing away in the back of a cupboard, and a few weeks ago I decided it might be a good idea to filter and bottle it, ending up with a couple of lovely looking bottles of sloe gin (the little bit we sampled was gorgeous!), and a sieve full of sloes pickled in gin. I looked at these, and couldn't bring myself to throw them away, and that's when inspiration struck - I had a batch of cooking apples in for another batch of jelly, and thought why not use these lovely gin-infused fruit to make some jelly - worst case scenario was it would be a waste of an apple and some sugar, and best case I would have discovered something really special and different. Turns out it was a great idea, and the resulting jelly has a lovely delicate taste. If you're making sloe gin this year, I would recommend this as a way of getting the most out of your sloes.

Ingredients :
- drained leftover gin-soaked sloes
- cooking apple(s) chopped (don't bother peeling or coring them)
- sugar
- water
- sterilised jam jars

Put your leftover sloes into a pan, together with a couple of apples (I used about half as much apple as sloes). Cover with water, and bring to the boil. Simmer until the apples are soft and virtually disintegrating. Allow to cool a bit, then strain through a muslin cloth. Discard the fruit pulp that remains and measure the drained liquid. Add about 2/3 the volume of sugar (ie for 600ml of juice, add 400g sugar), and return to the heat. Bring to a rolling boil, and continue to boil until the jelly reaches setting point (test by dropping a few drops onto an ice-cold plate, or resting your spoon on an ice-block and seeing if the drops/liquid in the spoon solidify). Cool slightly and then pour into the sterilised jam jars.

Now you just have to decide whether to keep it all for yourself, or give some away to deserving friends!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Irish Lentil and Bacon Soup

Today we have our 3rd guest blogger, the wonderful Ms. Ella Rose, and yes, she's on twitter too, so why not give her a shout and a smile @missellarose.  This is all about her...

I have always been really into food and cooking from a young age. Watching and tasting everything I could to learn all the techniques and recipes I could remember! I suppose that this is when my (border-line crazy lady) obsession with recipes began.

I love trying new foods, reading and writing about them, and last year started my own blog . I love the idea that people can share my food with me through the internet. It feels great to hear when someone has successfully replicated one of my own recipes in their home. I spend most of my time feeding anyone who’ll eat and have a loyal legion of tasters!

Between cooking and reading other people’s blogs I occasionally find time to sleep!

Reading other blogs is a great way to get ideas, and connect with like-minded people. That’s is how I found Soup Tuesdays Blog. We follow the same people on twitter and I think we have a similar style of cooking which is why I’m so pleased to be guest blogging!

Now down to the nitty gritty, I got this recipe is from my partner’s mother and it is a classic in Northern Ireland, everyone has their own take on it. I have chosen to grate the carrots which gives the soup a lovely texture, other examples are adding spinach, using ham hock instead of bacon and adding in curry powder. A word of warning if using curry powder only add in a little to avoid creating

240g (a packet) of smoked bacon chopped
One chopped onion
2 Cloves of garlic
250g Red split lentils
3 peeled carrots

1.    Fry the bacon in a pan until crispy and golden brown, remove from the pan and set aside.

2.    Gently fry the onion until translucent, then add in the garlic and cook for a further 5 mins. Add the bacon again to the pan, lentils and the stock.

3.    Cook for 30-40 mins until thickened, 15 mins before the end grate the carrots in.
Serve with crusty fresh bread, garlic bread or cheese on toast - perfect!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Boerewors Stuffed Mushrooms

I don't know if you noticed, but we had a Jubilee celebration this week. And rather sadly, the street party we were scheduled to attend was, in true Great British style, rained off...  Rather than be deterred by this sad turn of events, we staged an impromptu BBQ in our living room. 

As at least one of Team Soup is a colonial type, we thought that it would be a good idea to celebrate the Jubilee with a bit of meat from South Africa (being as that's where Mrs Soup calls home) so one trip to the rather brilliant Leeds market later, we had procured some boerewors, which a) I can never pronounce properly, and b) is rather tasty. 
So as we sat in our living room, eating boerewors in buns with tomato sauce (and being told that British BBQs are no where near as good as a proper South African braai) I tried to think of something to to with the left over boerewors sauage.  And this is what I came up with, as a sort of Jubilee celebration of meat and mushroom.

4 Large Open Mushrooms
250g Boerewors (or any other sausage that you can find...)
1 Large Onion
1 Slice of Brown Bread
20g Butter
Olive Oil
White Wine
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Rosemary
Cheddar Cheese


1. Heat the oven to 180ºc

2. Place the Mushrooms in large over proof dish or baking tray.

3.  In each one, pour 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, a splash of white wine and a knob of butter, then spinkle each with fresh thyme leave

4.  Put the mushrooms in the oven and cook for 20 minutes

5.  Heat some oil in a frying pan.  Gently fry the onion, finely chopped for 3-5 minutes, until it starts to colour

6.  Remove the sausage meat from its skin and then add this to the frying pan, breaking up the meat as it gently cooks.

7.  Put the onions and sausage meat in a mixing bowl.  In a food processor, turn the bread into breadcrumbs

8.  Chop the rosemary.  Add this and the breadcrumbs to the onions and sausage meat.  Mix thoroughly with a fork, and season to taste.

9.  Spoon this mixture into the mushrooms, and top with grated cheese.

 10.  Return to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browning slightly, then serve!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Foodie PenPals May 2012

Foodie PenPals is a monthly event run in the UK by Carole Anne of the website This is Rock Salt (links for the US and other countries on Carol Anne's blog) where bloggers (and others) are matched up and prepare a parcel of foodie treats for your penpal. Each person sends to someone else, so it forms a long chain of foodie penpals.

This was the first time that I've participated in Foodie PenPals and I am a complete convert - I enjoyed putting together a parcel for someone else, and have so many ideas for future parcels that I just couldn't fit in this month's! It was also such a treat to come home to a lovely parcel of foodie presents, and my penpal this month really hit the nail on the head!

My parcel came from Kay (@KayGG on Twitter - she doesn't have a blog (yet!), but I suspect we might see her soon!). I'd had an incredibly long day, and only got home at 9pm, so seeing a nice parcel on my doorstep was just the lift I needed. Kay had sent me an email earlier to tell me she'd forgotten to put the letter in, and that would come separately, but it was such fun opening the parcel and guessing what each thing was and why it was in the parcel. My parcel included :
- a jar or truly delicious morello cherry jam,
- some local Cornish garlic salt (that Mr Soup is really enjoying adding to soups
- A farmers market cookbook which is going to be so handy with all the local fresh veg on offer in Yorkshire
- some gorgeous lemon meringue fudge (yummy!)
- beautiful teeny macaroons made by Kay (colour me incredibly impressed!)
- a bag of Percy Pigs (which really hit the spot one hungry afternoon).

I've included a picture of my lovely presents, though there are a few bits missing due to having been eaten! Like most of the macaroons and fudge and all of the Percy Pigs. (oops!)