Tag Archives: cooking

Foodie Penpal Parcels.

For a few months now I have been  reading Bev’s Foodie Penpal Posts and eyeing up with envy ,the lovely food parcels she receives from all over Europe! Bev who blogs over at Confuzzledom 
joins in with Rock Salt’s Foodie Penpals parcel swap.The idea is every month you are assigned two different penpals ( You can opt out at any time,)one to send a parcel of edible goodies to..and the other to do the same for you.:) Sounds fun right! Who doesn’t love receiving surprise packages in the post. This month I signed up myself. 🙂

It turns out the parcel I was to send would be winging its way to Turkey. Melike doesn’t have a blog and says she can’t do any social  media at the moment, so I do hope she received it. Melike is a Vegan which made shopping for her a bit of a challenge!

Vegan treats for Melike.
Vegan treats for Melike.

Luckily after a little online research and scouting round my local supermarkets, I found the above treats for her. She said she has a sweet tooth so hopefully there is enough here to satisfy any sugar cravings she might have. If anyone is interested I found the Tiffin and Salted Caramel Nibbles in Sainsburys and all the rest ( apart from the tea) in Booths. Although I found out that there are quite a few unintentionally vegan friendly foods out there such as Jammy dodgers and Green and Black’s Dark chocolate I was unsure whether to buy them. The smallprint on the packaging often warned that traces of egg,dairy etc might have ended up in the products. What do vegans do in this situation? Do they still buy them or stick to ‘proper’ Vegan foods? I have mostly bought snacks which say that they are vegan on them for Melike.Just to be sure.I might just have to try some Moo Free Orange Chocolate for myself.:)

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As well as selecting foodie stuff to send off, I recieved a wonderful parcel in the post too.Mine came from an English blogger called Laura who writes and vlogs about all things tasty at Foodie Laura.com 🙂
When you are allocated your penpals you are encouraged to email them your foodie likes and dislikes etc. I let Laura know that I have just purchased a slow cooker.So she obligeingly sent me lots of stew inspired ingredients! My other half made a slow cooked Chicken Casserole for his teas last week and I’m looking forward to making us both the beef and ale stew….with yorkshire puds of course.;)

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Laura also sent me some delicious chocolate coated coconut macaroons.I immediately helped myself to a couple , sat outside in the September sun with a cup of salted caramel green tea. Thank you Laura!

If you are interested in European Foodie Penpals ( you don’t have to have a blog) take a look  here. And if you are in the States check out the Lean Green Bean  American Foodie Penpal Parcel swap.

Looking forward to October’s one now. 🙂

A Gift and Goulash.

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A few weeks ago my lovely friend Sarah gifted us a set of Recipes Around The World cook books ( a small selection of them are pictured above). I was delighted as they have a little bit of sentimental value for the boyfriend and I.   Going back a couple of years, we found ourselves having to live apart  due to unforseen circumstances.  We stayed seperately with folks and friends and I guess in a way it was like being teenagers again. There wasn’t much opportunity to spend any alone time together. When Sarah asked us to house sit for a week ( and let us bring our dog too 🙂 ) we jumped at the chance. The small things we really took  for granted as a couple such as cuddling up on the sofa with a dvd or cooking tea together were ours again to appreciate. Every evening we made something from the interesting Around the World recipe books in Sarah’s bookshelf, a tasty tagine from Morocco, a delicous creamy curry from Thailand, a steaming Russian stew. It was good to be a family again. 🙂

Time has passed and we are once more settled in our own place. Our friend has gotten married and two households have merged into one. Hence a big clear out of her and her hubbys belongings. The books have found a new home with us 😀

Last week we dipped into one of the books  again and found a recipe for Hungarian Goulash. This was good timing actually as I had recently bought a tube of real Hungarian Paprika Puree from The Paprika Lady Company.

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Ingredients ( serves 4 )

900g/2lb stewing beef
2 red peppers
50g/2oz butter
300ml/half pint beef stock
2 Onions
3 cloves garlic
4tbsp mild paprika
4tbsp olive oil
2tsp mild chilli powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
half tsp dried marjoram
3 bay leaves
1tsp cumin seeds

We substituted the paprika and chilli powder  with 1 tablespoon puree which was hot hot hot.:-)

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ Gas 2. Cut the beef into large cubes. Core, de-seed and chop the peppers.Melt the butter.

2) Blend the peppers until smooth. Poor in the stock and blend for 1min until combined.

3) Peel and chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish and cook the beef and onion for 5-10 mins until meat is browned and onions are softened. Add the garlic,paprika,chilli powder and pureed pepper. Bring to the boil.

4) Stir in seasoning, marjoram, bay leaves and cumin and bring back to the boil. Cover and bake for 1and a half/-2 hours, stirring twice during cooking, until the beef is tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.

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Enjoy!